useful You Tube videos detailing the setup and operation of
You can find them at http://bit.ly/tmgntm.
Want to Know More?
If you would like to
explore this subject in
much greater detail, a
fantastic resource is
available through the
My favorite is
there are plenty of
others out there as well
groups specialize in
lighting effects and have
revolutionized the home
They offer an
assortment of different
DIY lighting solutions, as
well as provide the
option of purchasing
complete packages if
that is more your style.
Time to Turn Out the Lights!
Properly illuminating your creations is a critical
component in the creation of a top notch scene. It allows
your guests the opportunity to fully appreciate all the hard
work you have put into the design and construction of your
We sometimes get caught up in the mechanical aspects
of a build and overlook some of the other details. As in
photography, proper lighting is often the secret to success!
If you are looking to continue this discussion or have
any questions regarding animatronics, please join us on the
DIY Animatronics forum at http://bit.ly/DIYfrm.
Until next month, MAY THE PASSION TO BUILD BE
WITH YOU! SV
SERVO 07.2017 35
Figure 14. The
Precision DMX Flood.
Figure 15. Using the Color
Piano is a snap!
Cutting Acrylic Sheet
In addition to writing this monthly column,
I also travel to Halloween conventions to speak
on the process of building animatronics. While
I prefer to bring my large characters to
demonstrate, the cost of transporting them is
often prohibitive. Therefore, I have a head and
torso that can be disassembled so that it will fit
in my suitcase (Figure A).
In order to allow all the mechanisms to be
fully visible, I decided to construct the
headpiece out of Plexiglas (Figure B). I have
been successful cutting straight pieces with the
score and snap method. However, this
application required curved cuts which were
something new for me.
I decided to use my scroll saw and a fine
blade. I thought that as long as I cut slowly,
this would work. WRONG! The material heated
up sufficiently that it melted together behind
the cut. When you are no longer seeing waste
being expelled from your cut, it is a good
indication that the material is melting instead
of cutting. It was time to go back to the drawing
I had some success by applying WD40 to the
cut much like I would do when cutting steel. Although it did help, I found that I
got even better results by adding a layer of blue painter’s tape to each side of the Plexiglas and then transferring
my cutting lines onto it. This provided a clean cut and worked perfectly!
I can now add this skill to my toolbox for the next project requiring curved cuts in Plexiglas!
Figure B. Plexiglas face piece allows
everything to be seen.
Figure A. Actobotics, Hitec,
and Actuonix make it work!