I reworked my downstairs work space this weekend so I can finally make proper videos. Still a bit of tidying up to do but I now have a nice big whiteboard for drawing diagrams and schematics as well as a fair bit more bench space and decent lighting. Time to shoot some video!
The old 20MHz analog oscilloscope was a lucky find- you wouldn’t believe some of the hardware I’ve found. I’ve definitely earned my dumpster diving skill badge…
Anyone who has been looking to add sound to your project you’re in luck! Adafruit has a new small form factor sound FX board- no programming, built in memory (no more SD cards- just drag and drop audio clips!) and it runs on 3.0V to 5.5V. Easy to interface and it will support up to 11 audio files. And it’s dirt cheap! Costume and prop builders will love this thing.
Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board
Here’s the rough outline for the video series. Some of this may change in order but I’m going to try and get a new video up every week (or whenever I get around to it- LOL!)
Some videos may be fairly short (5-10 minutes) while some could end up being quite lengthy… Episode listing (rough idea)-
- Intro/system design- Block diagrams, planning movements, wiring considerations
- Microcontrollers- Arduino, RaspPi, BeagleBone Black, SparkCore, progamming
- Power Batteries, voltage regulators, boost converters, charging issues
- Servos- Analog vs. digital, choosing the right servo, power requirements, servo attachments, range of movement
- Radio control When to use a radio vs. microcontroller, using PWM switches, antenna issues, programming
- Sensors RFID, bend sensors, FSRs, soft pots, accelerometers, switches
- Sound effects WaveShield, sound chips, amplifiers
- Mechanics overview Gear drives, sliding mechanisms, bearings, bushings, servo mounts, control rods, cable drive
- Tools Basic tool kit, advanced tools
After much discussion with a few friends I finally caved and created a forum to help all of my costuming and prop building friends with their animatronic and electronic needs. I get countless emails and messages asking for help with projects and I figured it was time to create a forum where like minded individuals can gather to help each other and discuss their projects.
There are separate categories for general project discussion, hardware, software, tools and fabrication along with multiple sub forums to make it easy to navigate. There’s also a gallery so everyone can show off all of their hard work. I’ll also be doing a regular “how to” video blog series to help get people started on their projects and I’ll continue to make videos as I work on projects I have in the pipeline.
Adding animatronics and electronics to props and costumes can be a complex and daunting task but the results are definitely worth it. Whether you’re just looking to add a few blinking LEDs or make a complete animatronic Iron Man suit, this forum will give you someplace to go to make your awesome costumes and props even more awesome.
Have a look around or jump right in and join the forum- it’ll be a lot of fun and I guarantee you’ll learn something new.
DIY Animatronics forum