View Full Version : help with my animatronic worm !!

03-26-2014, 12:09 PM
Hi dudes

I'm building an animatronic worm, he sings, blinks and moves his eye brows so i need 3 servos, i'm completely new to the animatronic side of things, usually i'm just sculpt and mold, but i wanted to learn a bit more about this side of things to keep the synapses firing ! the puppet is for my own pleasure, i hope to take him on the street when he's finished ! So i need 3 servos but i wanted to see if anyone can help me with how to power the servos.

The puppet is operated by 2 joysticks that move the head and body, the puppet is sat on top of a trash bin so all the servos will be hidden in there. I want to put a button on the top of each joystick that will move the mouth and brows when i press them, so a remote control button device that will activate the servos, what remote control button activated power packs are there out there that will do this ?

I also want a power pack that will activate the servo for the eye blinks on a timed interval out of my control, just so it goes off every 7 secs or so.

any advice that could be given would be greatly appreciated.
thank you

p.s. the worm is called Aylmer and is from an old b movie called brain damage, heres a link to a clip if you haven't seen it !


03-26-2014, 03:48 PM
You need just an Arduino (to read the joysticks/buttons and send control signals to the servos) and a power source suitable for the servos and Arduino (6.0V NiMH battery, 7.4V LiPo if using higher-voltage servos.) Or a plug-in power supply of some sort, strong enough to drive whatever your chosen servos are.
There are "servo shields" that simplify/eliminate the wiring needed; these are nice but not strictly necessary if you have a soldering iron and the will to use it :-)
The site arduino.cc has a number of tutorials about servos, as well as tutorials about reading joysticks and buttons.

03-26-2014, 06:21 PM
Thank you for the direction jwatte, I'll look into it, i wanted to attach some pictures to my post but i can't seem to, but there's a folder on my profile with some on if anyone wants a look.

Do you have any idea about how to make the eyes blink on a timer ?

03-27-2014, 11:53 AM
Again, with an Arduino. it's very easy to do something on a timer, because you have access to a "time since the program started" counter.
The code would look something like:

unsigned long blinkStart;

void setup() {
blinkStart = millis();

void loop() {
unsigned long blinkPhase = millis() - blinkStart;
if (blinkPhase < 500) {
myServo.setPosition(blinkPhase * 2 + 1000);
else if (blinkPhase < 1000) {
myServo.setPosition(2000 - (blinkPhase - 500) * 2
else if (blinkPhase < 7000) {
// do nothing
else {
blinkStart = millis();

The specifics about how you control the servo depends on which servo library (and servos) you're using.

If the question is "how can I mechanically make eyelids close over eyes," then I'm not experienced in that and have no great ideas :-)

03-29-2014, 02:13 PM
thank you so much for your help amigo, it's a big help, off to do my homework now ! lot of online tutorials to watch !

03-29-2014, 02:36 PM
If you have not seen it yet, there is a guy (innerbreed) over on the Lynxmotion forums that has done a lot of animatronic work, including things like eyes/eyelids. That is shown in the thread: http://www.lynxmotion.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=8856

His current project is up on the thread: http://www.lynxmotion.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=9196

Edit forgot to mention, there was another guy (willietfx) who did some tutorials about building an eye several years ago: