Animatronic weaponary

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mmx3se

New Member
Hello, I am a Senior Engineering student in Socal, I've had a lot of project experience with control, robotics,sensory electronics and microcontrollers. Just looking for someone who needs animate their gadgets, such as a real working gauntlet where you can turn on or off your shoulder cannon, and have your shoulder move according to where you are looking at. Really want to do this. So, please consider.
 

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MEANGENE83

Sr Member
Sounds like you have a nice set of skills!

You should write a brief introduction of yourself in the INTRODUCTION THREAD. Let us know who you are.

Alot of people here battle with the ANIMATRONIC side of things. Making blades work accurately is very hard to do, I would be interested in seeing what you could pull off.
 

jhunter

New Member
Hello, I am a Senior Engineering student in Socal, I've had a lot of project experience with control, robotics,sensory electronics and microcontrollers. Just looking for someone who needs animate their gadgets, such as a real working gauntlet where you can turn on or off your shoulder cannon, and have your shoulder move according to where you are looking at. Really want to do this. So, please consider.
I would totally be interested in working with you on this. What type of costs are we talking to do something like this?
 

mmx3se

New Member
I would totally be interested in working with you on this. What type of costs are we talking to do something like this?
I think , the way to do this is for me to build a electronic circuit system that does various functions, send you the electronics and mechanical devices, and you can build a costume around these devices.
These are really rough estimates (more details will be provided when I build a demo):

Central controller unit (A small controller that takes care of all the signals): Vary from 50 to 100 depending on how much stuff you want to move on your costume.

Head tracking plasma caster (A plasma caster that turns according to your heading): Depending on the weight and arrangement of the plasma caster, also how accurate you want this cannon to move, it can range from 250 to 400, Also, a small switch can be placed at your gauntlet so you can turn On and off of your plasma caster, and laser(cost extra but under 50 i am pretty sure). And maybe some blue LED in the plasma caster( cost extra but under 15) ----- I would like to do this as my first demo for you guys, hopefully sometime soon

Retractable wrist blades- I need further research on that, but I can make it so if your hand is in a fist position (or something similar), the blades will come out.

Animatronic Predator face- Depending on the design on the predators face, this can cost from 50 to 200 dollars, I can make it so the costume maker can bite on something, to make the predators moth open, (the harder they bite, the wider predator opens his mouth). Or, have a small microphone inside the costume so, the wearer can just scream at it, the louder the scream, the wider the mouth opens. This task is difficult because the servos has to be well calibrated for the costume designer.

Eyes glow- pretty easy, press a bottom, tap your heels, knock on your chest, glowing eyes should be easy make and the cost will be around 40 dollars with 7 different glowing colors. Unless some advance sensor is used.

gauntlet- Depending on the sensory technology and lighting detail, it can cost up to 100 dollars

Also, battery is required for the electronics above. Hobby grade LiPo battery is recommended. Unless you want to carry a lot of batteries for each electronic function. I will provide more info on battery later. But, everything with lighting only requires no advance battery. Advance battery comes with mechanical stuff such as Face, Wristblade and plasma caster.

Everything stated above is an rough estimate, I will provide more accurate info when i actually build them. Hopefully the actual price will not be too far from the theoretical. All the function above requires a controller, if you want to buy a new function, just send the controller back and I can update the program with the new function included.

Please provide suggestions ,I have experience on building robots, toys but no experience in building costumes. Also, if you have any requests not mentioned above or more specific details with stuff mentioned above. Tell me, and I will research, and do a theoretical design, and give a price estimate if the design is possible.



Thank you for reading,
Mike
 

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ransom

New Member
or you can use small murcury type switches (if you wana save the environment use a Ferrofluid switch) in your head peices with a mini rc remote to send the signal wireless to the canon. im also a engineering student lol
 

ghanley1

New Member
I have working sight lasers, cannon light, and both gauntlets, but would be pretty cool to have the cannon move, let me know when you have something to accomplish this....
 

mmx3se

New Member
or you can use small murcury type switches (if you wana save the environment use a Ferrofluid switch) in your head peices with a mini rc remote to send the signal wireless to the canon. im also a engineering student lol

Wireless make it much easier for the connection, however, transmitters and receivers will require their own power source. How does the person in costume manipulate the mini rc remote? Thank you for your suggestion.
 

mmx3se

New Member
I have working sight lasers, cannon light, and both gauntlets, but would be pretty cool to have the cannon move, let me know when you have something to accomplish this....
Hello, did you built your own? Stuff? So does your working gauntlets control your sight laser and cannon light?
 

Elkman

New Member
Can you think of a better system to make the wristblades shoot out faster, other than using a motor and gear mechanism? That's what I'm using now, and although it looks cool, some people think they should come out faster. I've heard a little bit about linear actuators, as well as solenoids, but I suspect either of those methods would be pretty heavy. The solenoid would also require a beefy power supply, too. What do you think?
 

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Honus1

New Member
Can you think of a better system to make the wristblades shoot out faster, other than using a motor and gear mechanism? That's what I'm using now, and although it looks cool, some people think they should come out faster. I've heard a little bit about linear actuators, as well as solenoids, but I suspect either of those methods would be pretty heavy. The solenoid would also require a beefy power supply, too. What do you think?
Most linear actuators are pretty slow, especially if they have a good torque rating. For high speed ideally what you really want is a pneumatic piston operated by a solenoid valve and a strong return spring. An inexpensive home built air muscle can also work and they are very light weight. Air muscles typically contract up to 40% of their length and have a power to weight ratio of around 400:1 so they're plenty strong. Of course you would need to find room for a suitable air storage tank- a small soda bottle would do the trick and it could be hidden in the backpack.

I wrote up a little air muscle tutorial here- http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-mak...r-muscles!/

Solenoids use a lot of juice and are pretty heavy so I really don't think they're practical in this application. The biggest problem with the gauntlet is getting adequate blade extension. With an air piston, solenoid or linear actuator the most amount of travel you're likely to get will be around 5" or so due to the space requirements. An air muscle is a bit different as they are flexible and it could be mounted remotely and retract the blades using a cable drive- a strong extension spring would cause the blades to extend.

The other solution is to use a stepper motor. They have great speed and holding power but you need to use a special driver circuit (which isn't any big deal- you just need the correct type, bipolar or unipolar to match the motor) but heat dissipation and power usage for a strong enough motor could be a real problem. The advantage over a DC motor is you can accurately control position, direction and speed but they're not as easy to control as a servo. I wouldn't try to use anything larger than a NEMA 17 motor. Compared to a servo they have much greater speed but they're nowhere near as strong for the same size and power requirement. A stepper motor with the same holding power (say 40 oz./in) as a small servo could easily pull 1A per phase- a pretty serious power draw when you're trying to keep a costume powered for any significant amount of time.

Of course you can build your own custom servo using the Open Servo board and a DC motor but that gets complex as well.

The gauntlet mechanism I'm building right now is servo driven and uses a very low profile low friction miniature slide. Servos are pretty tough to beat in terms cost and energy efficiency, plus they're pretty compact. The system I've designed uses a bend sensor to trigger the blade extension- just make a fist and the blades extend. I can have the blades extend for a specific period of time and then retract or I can set it up so the blades retract when you open your hand. It can also be done using a finger button. I use a similar bend sensor setup on my Iron Man hand repulsor- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfPqdOLakdA

The servo simply receives a signal from my existing cannon controller. The entire system is also designed to be able to link two controllers together using a wireless XBee radio if you so choose. That way you can have a single glove controller control your entire costume. Each radio has it's own ID so you won't have to worry about interference if your buddy has the same setup. Wireless still isn't as reliable as a hard wired setup and the cost increase is significant.

I have seen your videos and the first thing that occurred to me regarding your CD mechanism is there's no way to accurately control the position of the blades- how do you get it to maintain a fixed position?
 

Elkman

New Member
Of course you can build your own custom servo using the Open Servo board and a DC motor but that gets complex as well.

The gauntlet mechanism I'm building right now is servo driven and uses a very low profile low friction miniature slide. Servos are pretty tough to beat in terms cost and energy efficiency, plus they're pretty compact. The system I've designed uses a bend sensor to trigger the blade extension- just make a fist and the blades extend. I can have the blades extend for a specific period of time and then retract or I can set it up so the blades retract when you open your hand. It can also be done using a finger button. I use a similar bend sensor setup on my Iron Man hand repulsor- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfPqdOLakdA

The servo simply receives a signal from my existing cannon controller. The entire system is also designed to be able to link two controllers together using a wireless XBee radio if you so choose. That way you can have a single glove controller control your entire costume. Each radio has it's own ID so you won't have to worry about interference if your buddy has the same setup. Wireless still isn't as reliable as a hard wired setup and the cost increase is significant.

I have seen your videos and the first thing that occurred to me regarding your CD mechanism is there's no way to accurately control the position of the blades- how do you get it to maintain a fixed position?
I should probably check out how to work with servo motors sometime. I'm not really familiar with them. Can a servo motor make multiple revolutions, or is it pretty much restricted to making one revolution based on the output from a controller? If it can make multiple revolutions, that would probably be sufficient to drive the blades all the way out or all the way in, but it would still need some feedback to determine when it's reached the end of its travel.

The method I'm using for my motorized blade mechanisms is really simplistic. I just had the blade mechanism travel all the way to one end or the other, and then a limit switch at each end would cut off the power to the motor. I noticed it was sort of bouncing, though, because the traveler would hit the switch and cut off the motor. Then, the traveler would move back just a bit, closing the cutoff switch again and turning the power back on to the motor. So, I dispensed with the limit switches, figuring that nobody was really going to keep the switch on so long that they'd burn out the motor.

Also, these days I'm using a Tamiya high-speed gearbox instead of a CD-ROM drive. I started using these when I started building smaller blade mechanisms for other people's gauntlets, since I could build something with a lower profile.

I saw your video, by the way, and I like your setup. I'm using an Arduino for my countdown timer, but I don't have any control electronics other than reversing switches for the blade gauntlet.
 

Honus1

New Member
I should probably check out how to work with servo motors sometime. I'm not really familiar with them. Can a servo motor make multiple revolutions, or is it pretty much restricted to making one revolution based on the output from a controller? If it can make multiple revolutions, that would probably be sufficient to drive the blades all the way out or all the way in, but it would still need some feedback to determine when it's reached the end of its travel.

The method I'm using for my motorized blade mechanisms is really simplistic. I just had the blade mechanism travel all the way to one end or the other, and then a limit switch at each end would cut off the power to the motor. I noticed it was sort of bouncing, though, because the traveler would hit the switch and cut off the motor. Then, the traveler would move back just a bit, closing the cutoff switch again and turning the power back on to the motor. So, I dispensed with the limit switches, figuring that nobody was really going to keep the switch on so long that they'd burn out the motor.

Also, these days I'm using a Tamiya high-speed gearbox instead of a CD-ROM drive. I started using these when I started building smaller blade mechanisms for other people's gauntlets, since I could build something with a lower profile.

I saw your video, by the way, and I like your setup. I'm using an Arduino for my countdown timer, but I don't have any control electronics other than reversing switches for the blade gauntlet.

Servos are really easy to use with Arduino. I'll have a few examples in my tutorial- I'm trying to get it finished by Sunday night. :D

Here's a little segment from my tutorial concerning servos:
"Hobby servos are small geared motors that have a circuit board and potentiometer to control their rotation. This allows them to be able to move to an exact position relative to your input sensor signal. Most servos can move nearly 180 degrees and some can even do multiple rotations as well as continuous rotation. Servos have three wires- ground, power and signal. The signal wire (usually yellow or white) is connected to the Arduino output pin. The power and ground wires are connected to a separate power source, usually ranging anywhere from 4.8V to 6V. The reason for connecting servos to their own power supply is that motors generate a fair bit of electrical noise, which can cause glitches or a stuttering effect in their movement.

If you have an input sensor that generates an input voltage from 0-3.3V the Arduino takes that analog voltage and assigns it a value from 0-1023 using an analog to digital converter (ADC.) The code on the Arduino then tells the servo how far to move based upon the converted value. So if your sensor outputs 1.65V then you would get a reading of 511 and your servo would move half of its rotation. Many Arduino boards operate on 5V so the same sensor at the same position would read 2.5V and the servo would still rotate half way. A continuous rotation servo would rotate in one direction, stop as the sensor gave a 1.65V reading and then reverse direction as you caused to sensor to raise the input voltage.

Controlling a servo is done by PWM (pulse width modulation.) You send a send a pulse to the servo on the servo signal line every 20 milliseconds. The pulsewidth tells the servo what position to move to. Most servos operate within a 1 to 2 millisecond pulse range so a 1 millisecond pulse tells the servo to move to the 0 degree position and a 2 millisecond pulse tells the servo to move to the 180 degree position. Any pulse between 1 and 2 milliseconds tells the servo to move to a position that is proportionate between 0 and 180 degrees."

So you can get servos that are 360 degree rotation but that's not what you want for this application since you wouldn't have positional control. What I did is take a standard servo and modify it to rotate 360 degrees but I removed the potentiometer from inside the servo case and replaced it with an externally mounted multi turn potentiometer that is geared to the servo output shaft. This way you can have a servo that will turn multiple times and still get accurate positioning.

The fastest servos out there are still only turning 100 rpm. Overall I'd say it's going to be pretty difficult to get a lightning fast blade extension gauntlet without some significant power requirements. You can use a larger drive gear since the servos have so much torque but that also takes up space.

Hope that helps!

Jerome
 

shadow hunter

New Member
im intrigued by the good ideas for animatronics for predator stuff. i have drawings of stuff i want to be animatronic for my costume, but haven't come across anyone who would do it for me. anyway i like the idea of the caster head tracking stuff, and the idea of having wireless radios to connect the parts of the suit together, if i may i would like to be a customer for whenever this gets achieved( if it gets achieved ) thanks for these ideas :D
 

Honus1

New Member
im intrigued by the good ideas for animatronics for predator stuff. i have drawings of stuff i want to be animatronic for my costume, but haven't come across anyone who would do it for me. anyway i like the idea of the caster head tracking stuff, and the idea of having wireless radios to connect the parts of the suit together, if i may i would like to be a customer for whenever this gets achieved( if it gets achieved ) thanks for these ideas :D

I don't want to hijack this thread but all of this has already been done and is available for purchase. Just do a search for "animatronic".
 

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mmx3se

New Member
I don't want to hijack this thread but all of this has already been done and is available for purchase. Just do a search for "animatronic".
awwwwwwwwww you're ahead, still, we have really different approach though, aren't you interested to see?
 

Honus1

New Member
awwwwwwwwww you're ahead, still, we have really different approach though, aren't you interested to see?
I'm very interested- especially in a voice control setup. I've never done anything like that but from the brief bit of research I've done it looks very cool.
 

ArthurChant

New Member
Most linear actuators are pretty slow, especially if they have a good torque rating. For high speed ideally what you really want is a pneumatic piston operated by a solenoid valve and a strong return spring. An inexpensive home built air muscle can also work and they are very light weight. Air muscles typically contract up to 40% of their length and have a power to weight ratio of around 400:1 so they're plenty strong. Of course you would need to find room for a suitable air storage tank- a small soda bottle would do the trick and it could be hidden in the backpack.

I wrote up a little air muscle tutorial here- http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-mak...r-muscles!/

Solenoids use a lot of juice and are pretty heavy so I really don't think they're practical in this application. The biggest problem with the gauntlet is getting adequate blade extension. With an air piston, solenoid or linear actuator the most amount of travel you're likely to get will be around 5" or so due to the space requirements. An air muscle is a bit different as they are flexible and it could be mounted remotely and retract the blades using a cable drive- a strong extension spring would cause the blades to extend.

The other solution is to use a stepper motor. They have great speed and holding power but you need to use a special driver circuit (which isn't any big deal- you just need the correct type, bipolar or unipolar to match the motor) but heat dissipation and power usage for a strong enough motor could be a real problem. The advantage over a DC motor is you can accurately control position, direction and speed but they're not as easy to control as a servo. I wouldn't try to use anything larger than a NEMA 17 motor. Compared to a servo they have much greater speed but they're nowhere near as strong for the same size and power requirement. A stepper motor with the same holding power (say 40 oz./in) as a small servo could easily pull 1A per phase- a pretty serious power draw when you're trying to keep a costume powered for any significant amount of time.

Of course you can build your own custom servo using the Open Servo board and a DC motor but that gets complex as well.

The gauntlet mechanism I'm building right now is servo driven and uses a very low profile low friction miniature slide. Servos are pretty tough to beat in terms cost and energy efficiency, plus they're pretty compact. The system I've designed uses a bend sensor to trigger the blade extension- just make a fist and the blades extend. I can have the blades extend for a specific period of time and then retract or I can set it up so the blades retract when you open your hand. It can also be done using a finger button. I use a similar bend sensor setup on my Iron Man hand repulsor-

The servo simply receives a signal from my existing cannon controller. The entire system is also designed to be able to link two controllers together using a wireless XBee radio if you so choose. That way you can have a single glove controller control your entire costume. Each radio has it's own ID so you won't have to worry about interference if your buddy has the same setup. Wireless still isn't as reliable as a hard wired setup and the cost increase is significant.

I have seen your videos and the first thing that occurred to me regarding your CD mechanism is there's no way to accurately control the position of the blades- how do you get it to maintain a fixed position?
 

ArthurChant

New Member
really like the sound of the servo idea. how much would a rig like this cost? do you have any sketches or plans for this?
 

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