Thinking about making an animatronic mandible mechanism

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Elkman

New Member
I'm thinking about designing a mechanism that makes the Predator mandibles open and close. There's been a lot of interest in moving mandibles (especially those that don't slice your face to ribbons), and I think this would be an interesting project.

I'm also trying to decide whether I should do this with my own mask, or whether I should work with one of the more popular masks out there. I'm becoming less enamored with my own mask because I got the hairline too low in the back and because my mandibles project out too much.
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What do you guys think? Are my mask proportions off enough that I should get one of the masks for sale here on the Lair? And how many people would be interested if I can bring a mandible mechanism to completion?
 

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Elkman

New Member
Oh, and I forgot to mention: If I buy a mask from someone else to experiment with, should I work with a closed-mouth, semi-closed mouth, or fully open-mouth mask? Obviously, there wouldn't be enough latex in a fully closed mouth mask to get the mandibles to open all the way, and getting a fully open mouth to close fully would also be an issue. There would be compromises with any design, I think, but what have other people experimented with?
 

Termokk

New Member
Oh, and I forgot to mention: If I buy a mask from someone else to experiment with, should I work with a closed-mouth, semi-closed mouth, or fully open-mouth mask? Obviously, there wouldn't be enough latex in a fully closed mouth mask to get the mandibles to open all the way, and getting a fully open mouth to close fully would also be an issue. There would be compromises with any design, I think, but what have other people experimented with?

I would suggest a half open/closed mouth. I have made a few animatronic heads that have movable parts and you need to nutral in-between face. Like eyes are sculpted half closed if you plan to make them move. One complication you might find is that slush latex is pretty tough and wont stretch like the foam latex they used in the movies would. Its gonna take a powerfull servo or using your jaw to move it. The other problem is the mask will need to be created to take armatures underneath it and you will probably need molds with a core so you can make a fiberglass reproduction of that core to make the basis for all the moving parts and the skin to sit on. I guess you could take a silicon mold of your lifecast to act as the core and make a fiberglass reproduction of it to cut out the underskull pieces. So many molds... lol
 

cyberpred

Sr Member
Yes I agree.

You will need a core to make the underskull from. Not sure how you can use a mask. The only way I know of is to sculpt your piece. Make a ultracal mold or fiberglass. Remove the clay and clean the mold. Take about 1/4 inch thick clay strips about 2 inches wide. Lay them into the front part of the mold. Be sure to make a retaining wall all around the edge .Now pour plaster into this. When it sets up pull it out. Be sure to add a pipe or solid piece of wood to the back of this plaster plug or you will have a hard time getting it out.This is will be the plug for your core. At this point you can seal this with PVA and when that is dry use a Gel Coat. Wait until that is tacky and start to add you fiber glass. Use loose first then strips. When all that sets up you will have an underskull to mount your servos on. Or you can pour silicone over this and then fiberglass into the silicone to get your underskull.Because the core is 1/4 inch thinner than the original skin it will fit over the underskull. You will of course have to play with it to get it to fit.

Oh and as for using latex over foam here is what you can do, The membrane between the mandibles has to be thin enough and stretch enough so the servos can move the mandibles without much resistance. Cut the thick membrane out between the mandibles. Take some balloon rubber. This is latex that is very thin. Paint it on a sheet of glass or mirror. Let that dry, Now pull it up off the glass or mirror baby powder it as you go. Use this to replace the membrane you cut out.

I know this is animatronics 101 but it will give you an idea what it will take to do this.

I am doing an animatronic aquatic creature this year and if you want I can post pics of the progress.

Remember its alot of work but if you take your time you will get the result you want.



Cary
 

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MEANGENE83

Sr Member
I am kicking this idea around in my head to. Doing it with a manual system of some kind.

But Cary I would love to see what animatronic stuff you come up with. I remember your gauntlets back in the day, they where walking super computers. Looks INSANE.

You still got a video of that stuff? I remember one had a small LCD screen of some kind built into it?
 

cyberpred

Sr Member
LOL


Gene I can't remember that far back. As for vids I lost all that stuff in the flood we had a while back.

I will be taking pictures if you want of the project I am doing this year.

After the fish guy I will be doing a lycan from underworld for a client.

The one thing these guys have to realize is to do these full animatronic suits is not cheep.

Nice hearing from you.

I may put together a true replica of the countdown gauntlet. I was looking at a youtube vid and thought it would be fun to add one to my collection. Do you know anyone who has a pred 1 gauntlet with a seperate lid as to attach?

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Cary

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cyberpred

Sr Member
I have been asked what servos to use. Depending on your budget you can use HITec or Futaba. I use Futaba. If you cannot afford these go to a garage sale or flea mart and look for remote control trucks. They use servos for steering and come with receiver and transmitter most of the time. Good start.


Cary :D
 

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