Animatronics In A Box

[Knife141] built an impressive animatronic head. He uses it mostly for volunteer activities, like getting school children excited about technology. He built a carrying trunk that fits the puppet just right, making it easy to store and to transport.

He started by making the parts for the head out of cardboard to make sure they would fit together and operate properly. These were then used as templates to cut the pieces out of half-inch plywood. A series of servos, connected either directly or with linking rods, move the mouth, eyes, eyelids, eyebrows and neck via a servo controller board.

Sound is played by a single-board computer called a RAPU via a pair of computer speakers. This board is also what sends commands to the servo controller. When [Knife141] wants to create a new act for the animatronics, he starts by writing the dialog and having a text-to-speech program turn it into an MP3. He then goes through the tedious process of choreographing the puppet to the dialog, a process that generally takes him an hour for each minute of run-time. It’s worth it though, see for yourself by watching one of his acts in the video after the break.

Looking for something a little bit more your speed? Check out this animatronic head which you can build in no time.


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