ServoCity (Figure 13). The ability to quickly design and
assemble a mechanism makes this system invaluable to me.
They are constantly adding new components which
continue to make the system even more useful.
Even with all the available options for components
provided by the Actobotics system, I still needed to fabricate
some of the specialized parts. If you find yourself in the
same predicament, you will need to have a few tools on
hand. My favorite tool is a Dremel with a selection of
attachments, but a hacksaw, vise, drill and bits, grinder or
files, and a tap and die set will all be useful.
RC Radio Transmitters and Receivers — Long the
domain of the RC electronics groups to control their cars
and planes, these have many uses for the prop designer as
well. Professional prop shops use them extensively to
manipulate their characters when used in movies and
commercials. We can take a page from their playbook and
take advantage of them, as well.
When I was laying out Jarvis’ design, it became very
apparent early on that my basic four-channel model would
not be able to handle all the features I had planned. I
decided to use my Tactic TTX410 four-channel transmitter
to be responsible for controlling the track drive motors and
the pan and tilt system for the GoPro.
Manipulating the arms would require a transmitter with
significantly more horsepower. I chose the Futaba 10CHG
to handle that role. By using a combination of the joysticks
and switches, I was able to configure it to control the eight
servos used in the arms.
I am still developing my skills using the two transmitters
simultaneously (Figure 14). Soon Jarvis will respond exactly
as I want, but in the meantime I am satisfied to see his
motions get smoother each time I practice.
I am in the process of adding a mounting plate to a
photography vest to hold the two transmitters comfortably
in front of me which will allow me to be as mobile as
With everything that has been added to this project,
SERVO 09.2016 15
Figure 13. Jarvis loves his new body!
Figure 12. Giving the GoPro some freedom to move.
Figure 14. Two hands and two controllers. No problem!
Figure 15. The backpack can still use some smoke.