Animated Salacious B Crumb Project

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greedo

Well-Known Member
Hello fellow prop builders….

I decided to create this build thread in an effort to reconnect with the awesome prop builders community here. I’ve been doing droid props for the last twelve years, with most of my threads on Astromech dot net.

A little about me… I’m a scratch builder. Nothing at all against the modern day 3D printing, but I’m old school guy and you should get off my lawn. I decided to branch out from droids and try my hand at animatronics. I was totally inspired by Chris Lee’s animated C3PO at the last Celebration and decided it was time to learn some new skills.

I’ve always loved Salacious and it was an easy choice for this project. It also helps that I live only a couple of hours from the super talented Ian Martin (user name here is “Tea”). Ian had made an amazing Salacious puppet that can be seen here:

Salacious Crumb Puppet - Build Thread

I asked Ian if he had any puppets left thinking it would be way easier to add animatronics to an existing shell. Although he had no puppets left, he did have some partial parts laying around. This was perfect as it forces me to learn a new skill making the body. Here’s what I was able to score off of Ian. The body is foam wrapped around a metal ring frame. The limbs are wire armature wrapped in foam, followed by medial tape, followed by coating them in liquid latex. This will allow it to be skinned later by applying latex skin.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

So, this project has two parts. The animatronics and the body/shell. I guess we will start with the animatronics.

The end goal for this guy is to have him remote controlled with a PS3 Navigation wand ( Same controller I use for my R2-D2). He will ultimately be mounted to my R2’s drink tray and I will be able to control them both together. This will get tricky as not only do I have to create the mechanism to make all of this happen, I will need to find a place to keep all of it as there’s not much room in the body.

Thing’s needed to bring him to life will be:
-Aurduino Mega with USB shield (you need the shield to add the USB dongle for Bluetooth communication between the Arduino and the PS3 controller).
- USB dongle for Bluetooth communication between the Aruduino and the PS3 controller.
-Servos for animating the head, neck , jaw and spine
-Adafruit SFX board for sounds
- Adafruit servo expander board. Way easier to control multiple servos through the Arduino than plugging servos directly to the Arduino.
- Speakers for projecting sound (duh).

I’m writing this in hindsight and can tell you that I went through about six different versions of the skeleton before getting to where I have it now. It was tough getting all of the servos mounted to where not only did they work properly, but also that it all fit in the torso that was already made.

Here is the final design. I had to get rid of the lean forward servo, but I still have one for ears, jaw, neck and head tilt.
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Untitled by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

The first thing I did was add metal servo rods for the ears and insert the clip ends into the skull. I connect the ears with a spring and then a wire that when pulled down will have the ears perk up. The end of the wire will be hooked up to a servo and I’ll be able to control the ears as needed/wanted. Here’s a pic of the inside
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Untitled by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

And a quick video of it being tested.

 

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greedo

Well-Known Member
The next step was to write code so that the jaw servo follows the sounds. A HUGE thank you to Ryan Sondgeroth for spending countless hours over the phone and Skype on helping me write all of these codes. I wanted to make sure the jaw mirrored each individual sound effect. I also added a code of super slight jaw servo moments to mimic a breathing type effect. I want him to really come to life, so even when he’s just chilling out on the drink tray, he will appear to be breathing. This will be the base/normal action for him until you interrupt it with a specific sound command.

Here’s a video of each effect. This is just the jaw servo timed up to the sounds. I will add accompanying ear movement and tilt(s) later:


Next up was getting it hooked up to the PS3 Navigation wand. I wanted to be able to control his movements at the same time as controlling my R2-D2 movements. This allows me to have a small joystick in each hand. The default code has the jaw servo doing the breathing effect and then each button on the controller has a specific sound that it triggers.

Here’s a video showing how it works



Now that I’ve got things somewhat dialed in, I decided I needed to figure out where to hide all this crap that makes him work. I ended up mounting all of the boards and battery to this strip of cutting board

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

That just happens to fit perfectly into here ( I’ll end up adding fake strands of wire coming out of the neck)

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr
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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

Which kinda looks cool when held here:

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

Now I will start working on the whole prosthetics and latex skinning. I’ll cover that next
 

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Dann

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Man, that is SO awesome!!

I remember there was a run of Salacious B Crumb puppets many years back, I'll always regret not getting one.

But what you've done here is just fantastic! I can't wait to see everything working all together!
 

greedo

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys! This has been a super fun project so far

Now, the body…..

Luckily for me, the most difficult part of this portion of the build was already done for me; the head.

The body and limbs are all scratch build using wire armature wrapped in foam and then coated in liquid latex. The pieces I got from Ian already had the basic structure built and I just need to skin them in latex. However, I still need to make a tail and ears.

Here’s what the torso looks like pre latex.
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Untitled by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

For the limbs and tail, I ordered some metal armature material off Amazon. It’s perfect as it holds the shape of the limb, but is totally posable.
Here you see I’ve started to make the tail. Wrap the armature in foam and then wrap in medical tape and coat with liquid latex. After the soaked medical tape is dry, you can skin it with latex.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

Now on to how to make the skins.

I pour liquid latex onto this glass mirror and let it dry for a day or so. You can then cut it with a razor blade into whatever shapes you need.
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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

For the limbs, I wrap them like a mummy and clamp it in place with sewing pins.
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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

After it dries, I sponge paint over it with liquid latex until it hides the wrap seams and gives me a good creature skin texture
48776773281_9f10434163_b.jpg
Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

I use this horseshoe bolt to attach the tail ( It’s how all the limbs are attached actually). It leaves a gap needing to be filled, so I used another suggested technique of soaking cotton balls in liquid latex and then using them as filler.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr
 

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greedo

Well-Known Member
More latex work....

Used some of the skin material to cut out the neck. Started by coating the existing neck area with liquid latex and then applied the skin and pinned it in place ( not pictured, but you get the idea)

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

Then I made the ears

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr


And here's a dry fit test of how he looks up to this point:

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr
 

RoCKo

Sr Member
Great work, I love how the liquid latex works out! I’ve never followed a project like this before but will do now!
Already excited how the final working puppet comes out...
 

greedo

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys!

A little more progress to report. Once I put the head/neck piece on over the animatronic unit, I didn't like how tight everything was. So my solution is to have the neck drape over the body , rather than tuck into the body/neck hole. Either way it will be hidden by hair, so not much of a difference.

Here's what I ended up doing. I slit the neck and then patched over it with more latex skin.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr


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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

The plan is to cut the neck line in the "V" shape as the hair line seen in this pic. Then I will punch hair through the neck skin.
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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr


Next up, I needed to work on how to keep the 3PO head in place as he's holding it. I came up with using a threaded bolt attached to a fingernail in each hand and have it screw into the head.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr
 

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greedo

Well-Known Member
I’ve gone back and forth on this and haven’t decided. I’m leaning towards no , only because this head is an existing prop I already had and the eyes are already glued and screwed in place. No way to do it without breaking the eye in the process.
 

greedo

Well-Known Member
Before I got too much further, I wanted to make sure my idea to mount him to the drink tray would actually work.

I added a 1/4 threaded rod to the base/butt and drilled a hole into one of the drink tray sections.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

Then a wing nut to secure him down ...

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

I also added a couple more places on the feet to screw into the drink tray.

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

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Salacious by Chris Stephens, on Flickr

And here is the test run.....


 

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