So It Begins
We’ll just be scratching the surface on many of the
topics we’re going to cover this month.
These subjects will be covered in much greater detail in
future articles, but the hope is that we at least give you the
confidence to take the first step. There’s nothing that
mysterious about building animatronics if you break it down
into individual components. I’ve always believed that the
hardest part of any project is to just take that first step.
Once started, the project seems to gain momentum as
you complete each individual task. Then, before you know
it, you’ve completed it and get to start the process all over
There are many factors that should be considered when
planning your project. Some questions you should ask
yourself include the following:
• Why am I building this and what do I want it to
• How much will the prop be required to work?
• Is this a holiday decoration that will only be used for
a few days a year?
• Is it a one time deal for a school project or is it to be
used to demonstrate a project proposal?
• Is it to be used in a commercial setting where it will
need to run for extended periods of time?
• Will it need to survive the even more rigorous life as
a child’s toy?
• What is my budget in both time and money?
• Do I have the necessary skills already or do I need to
learn any new ones?
• Has someone already created something like what I
envision or am I going to need to design it from the ground
up on my own?
Spend some time doing research by persuing the
Internet to see if someone has already attempted a similar
build. Oftentimes, you can find valuable information that
can save you substantial time, effort, and money. I am
Last month, we looked at an example of what could be
accomplished using basic skills and materials that were available
from your local hardware store. This month, we’re going to take
a step back and discuss some of the basics of animatronics. I
understand that this may be too basic for some of our advanced
builders, but check it out anyways. Perhaps you'll pick up a tidbit
or two. We’ll go over some vocabulary; discuss some of the
options; I’ll suggest some resources to get you going in the right
direction; and we’ll go over some of the tools and materials you
should start to accumulate to assist you in your builds. We’re
going to be discussing the physical construction process in this
issue. We’ll delve into the “brains” in a later installment.
By Steve Koci
From the Beginning
SERVO 07.2015 43