Peep These Ultra-Real 3D-Printed Eyeballs

For humans, life is in the eyes. Same deal with automatons. The more realistic the eyes, the more lifelike (and potentially disturbing) the automaton is. [lkkalebob] knows this. [lkkalebob] is so dedicated to ocular realism in his ultra-real eyeballs that he’s perfected a way to make the minuscule veins from a whisper of cotton thread.

First he prints an eyeball blank out of ABS. Why ABS, you ask? It has a semi-translucence that makes it look that much more real. Also, it’s easier to sand than PLA. After vigorous sanding, it’s time to paint the iris and the apply the veins. [lkkalebob] shaves strands of lint from red cotton thread and applies it with tweezers to smears of super glue.

Here comes our favorite part. To make the whole process easier, [lkkalebob] designed a jig system that takes the eyeballs all the way through the stages of fabrication and into the sockets of the automaton. The hollow eye cups pressure fit on to prongs that hold it in place. This also gives the eyeball a shaft that can be chucked into a drill for easy airbrushing. In the build video after the break, he uses the eye-jig to cast a silicone mold, which he then uses to seal the eyes in resin.

Don’t have a printer or any desire to make human automata? It doesn’t take much to make mesmerizing mechanisms.

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Eye See You.

So you want to add animated eyes to your next robot? Now you can.. Using ping-pong balls, some scrap plastic and 6 servo motors [Chris] has created these animatronic eyes along with some nifty animated eyebrows. To get motion emulating realism [Chris] created a 2 axis gimbal using plastic rings and some nuts and bolts. The eyes (ping-pong balls) are held in the gimbal and actuated using two servos each. The eyebrows use another pair of servos and some tubing covered in electrical tape as the actual eyebrow.

[Chris] Kindly goes through the entire build process including information for beginners such as servo motor control. The whole thing is controlled using a PIC 18F452 and circuit diagrams and code are all available on the site. Check out the video after the break to see the eyes in action, you will also find more videos describing the build process if you follow through the tutorial.

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