Greetings, or should I say, "Aaaaaooooooooooooh!" Pleased to make your acquaintence fellow wolf enthusiast. You have an inner wolf spirit that is so eager to make themselves known that you have come me to learn how to make your very own animatronic wolf tail, so that you can truly let your inner wolf go wild and wag that tail of yours, or soon to be tail. Now now have patience little one...down wolf down! Dowwwn!! SIT!!! Good wolf...now before we start to make your tail you first need to purchase a lot of supplies. Why are you cocking your head? You can't make a tail without materials right? You will be spending around $100 for this tail so here's what you'll need:
-2 Klixx Balls/Links (The more small pieces you have the longer your tail can be)
-2 Bicycle Brake Cables
-2 Boxes of Jumbo Paperclips
-1 Continuous Rotation Servo with "X" Head
-1 2" Flat-End PVC End Cap
-22g Hook-up Wire (3 different colored wires make for easy identification)
-Arduino Uno Microcontroller
-Fur (I used Rabbit Skin on mine)
-Sewing needles and thread (I hand-sewed the fur for my tail; however, a machine will be much faster and more consistent)
-Solder (A lot of solder)
-Dremel with Drilling Bits
-Painter's Tape or Masking Tape
Got everything on the list? That's a good wolf! Now you are ready to make your own animatronic tail! I know it's exciting but don't get too excited now, you got a lot of work to do. Cheer up little one, a little work goes a long way and besides, time will go by quickly and you'll be wagging that tail in no time at all! Let's begin!
Step 1: Building the Tail Spine
Okay so what makes a tail move? A spine, correct! Take your Klixx toys and pull apart all the little pieces. I like to keep my colors separated, so once you have done that, take a closer look at the inside of one of the pieces. You see the two little knubs sticking out a bit from the inside walls? Those have got to go so grab that Exacto Knife and carefully cut off those little knubs (Please if you are a wolf cub allow your parents to do this for you). After you cut off all those knubs place two pieces together and move them back and forth. Hear anything? No? Great! Now then, turn them over so that the single flat end faces you. Clamp them down tightly and drill a hole all the way through. Take the drilled out piece and place it on top of the dual end of another component. Mark where the hole is and drill through both ends. Repeat this for all the pieces you plan on using for your tail.
Now comes a fun part; take your box of paper clips and take one out. Unbend that paper clip, cut it to half-length and carefully thread it through both holes. Bend both ends in making an eye-loop. Move the pieces together and wala: movement! Thread paper clips through all the Klixx pieces and you should have a single, long, moveable tail spine. You will want to fix the paperclips so that they no longer slide back and forth within the Klixx. I used SuperGlue to take care of that and so should you. Now see how easily you can manipulate the spine back, forth and around? Time to get that movement under control.
Take your bicycle brake cable and cut off those stops at each end (Again parents should take care of this as the ends will be quite sharp. You will want to wrap those ends in tape so that you do not cut yourself up like I did). Thread the bicycle brake cable through one side of the spine and then down the other. Turn the tail over 90 degress and thread the other bicycle brake cable through the other set of paper clip eye-loops. Test time! Hold the base (not the tip) of the tail in one hand and with the other pull on one of the cables. The tip will be pulled in. Now push that same cable. The tip moves in the opposite direction. Congratulations! You have a moveable tail spine! Now that this has been built, we need to get to work on the animatronic part of this tail. Don't worry now, you're halfway there! Onto the servo!