Automated Doors for Theatre Effect

Door Actuator

For a theatre production, [Jason] needed a way to automatically open and close doors as a special effect. His solution, hosted on Github, lets him remotely control the doors, and put them into a ‘freak out’ mode for one scene in the play.

Two Victor 884 motor controllers are attached to an Arduino that controls the system. A custom controller lets [Jason] actuate the doors remotely, and LEDs are used to display the state of the system.

On the mechanical side, two wind shield wiper motors are used. These are connected to custom arms that were printed using a Lulzbot AO-100. The arms allow for the door to be automatically actuated, but also allow for actors to open the door manually.

The result is a neat special effect, and the 3D models that are included in the repository could be useful for other people looking to build automated doors. In the video after the break, [Jason] walks us through the system’s design and demonstrates it in action.

Comments

  1. Ren says:

    So, now it needs to play a .wav file of the Star Trek Bridge door opening.

  2. Bill says:

    Judging by the parts used this school also has a FIRST robotics team. The motor driver and motors come in the competition kit.

  3. mjrippe says:

    Plugging the Lulzbot already, aye? ;-)

    Looks like a great solution for handicap access as well.

  4. Galane says:

    If he’d used plywood and a saw to make the arms instead of 3D printing, he would have had time and money for limit switches.

  5. Andrew says:

    The UI is awful.
    He desires three functions: open, close, and freak-out.
    There are weird button combinations and a requirement to reset. Why not just have the two switches map to the two doors. Flip them both forward, the doors close. Backwards, they open. Switch them independently for fine control, or freak-out mode. Have the big button activate auto-freak-out mode.

    • John says:

      I’m going to guess it’s because that big green button is so much fun to press.
      That, and having a “GO” button is kind of a thing in theatre.

      • Jason says:

        The requirement to reset is mainly to prevent accidentally shifting something during a show, or doing something I didn’t mean to do. I also didn’t ever want the doors to move without me pressing the button, for basically the reasons John said above.
        I’m not saying the UI couldn’t have been better, but imo it did what I needed it to and seemed to make sense when I was progrmaming it at 3am hahah

  6. MusashiAharon says:

    I like the ramp up/down LED indicator. I think I’ll use that for future projects. Very clever!

  7. metis says:

    while a cool solution, it strikes me that a stage hand with a lever backstage would accomplish the same thing with much less time (even if all of the parts are free)

    unless i’m misunderstanding things, if an actor opens the door and leaves it, there’s no way for the automation to close the doors, and it looks like the door will swing shut when manually opened, rather than staying open as one would expect.

    i’d have opted for an always connected version that could accommodate one or both doors being in the wrong position when triggered with several buttons: trigger open both, trigger close both, toggle freakout. much easier to operate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,579 other followers