Vote in the "Wicked Lasers Contest"& "MakerBot Challenge" Charlie says WINNER
New videos added, still kinda dark though!
*** Just so every one knows, this is not an attack on Charlie Sheen in particular. This would have been based on any celebrity du jour. Charlie fit the bill at the time. Yes it is true, he does need medical, psychological and perhaps spiritual help. I have many people in my life that suffer from similar issues, and they all celebrate the Charlie Sheen below. Its meant to be a lighthearted take of Charlies self proclamations. Remember imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Charlie, this is my ode to you! with the truest form of sincerity.***
Welcome to my instructable on how to build a Charlie Sheen bust equipped with Warlock Laser eyes. Now of course you can use this technique to make anyone you so choose, Charlie was merely my inspiration at the time. As I’m sure every one is aware, Charlie has been in the news, CNN and on tour with his warlock shenanigans. Right around the same time, the “Wicked Lasers Contest” on Instructables was announced. With Charlie’s self proclamation that he was a Warlock and myself trying to come up with something truly inspirational for the contest, In a flash of laser light I realized the perfect project would be “Charlie Sheen's Warlock Laser Eyes”
When ever I do a project like this I find it hard to stop, there is always one more thing I think I should add. Normally I take a step back, re-assess and say OK, don’t mess with perfection. Not this time, we all agreed that it would be awesome if the mouth moved, by simply adding a walkie-talkie or amplified speaker into the heads cavity you could truly bring Charlie Sheen to life – WINNER!!!
This would make a great Halloween prop, Conversation starter, Party gag or even as a fund raiser. With a little modification you could build it into a booth and have it dispense fortunes like the Zoltan character from the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. This instructable can be built with a variety of options which will be broken down in the following steps.
- The first major option for you to decide is if you want to add the R/C animatronic jaw. This was really an after thought; I had completed Charlie with the intent of just lighting up his eyes with lasers to compete in the “Wicked Lasers Contest” featured here on Instructables. Initially this build was custom tailored to the contest as I wanted to do something with lasers never done before. I really want something unique to enter into the contest, don’t get me wrong there are some amazing entries into the contest, its just I have seen them all before in slightly different variations. Plus Charlie sports the kind of campy silliness I love to add to a project. Getting on to the animatronic jaw, it can be added after, but I recommend planning it in to the build. All though not terribly hard to add after, it would have been so much easier to incorporate it from the beginning. In life it really is a lot harder then it sounds to learn from other mistakes, but in builds like this a little for thought is essential.
- The mould you spread your papier-mâché on will also have to be decided on first. I used a positive silicone mould that I built for one of other Instructables. https://www.instructables.com/id/Spooky-Polyester-Resin-Ghost-prop/ All though this would be an extra step, its surprising how often I have used this face for other projects. Its durability, heat proof to almost 500 degrees and slightly flexible nature make it ideal for a variety of projects. Being composed of silicone, things molded or pored over it just slip off when set. A good second choice would be a bald mannequin head. You could always shave one with hair, but the little holes will need to be filled. In addition most mannequin heads are quite rigid so care will be needed in the removal of your papier-mâché. Lastly a Halloween mask, due to its overly flexible nature will need to be supported quite firmly in order to spread the papier-mâché. I think the last option is actually more work then just building the silicone face.
- The Hair – oooh so much trickier then it sounds. Throw a wig on it? Sure, if you can find a realistic one. Dollar store wigs really don’t cut it. I used aluminum foil and hot glue. The bust was built with the intent of it looking kinda like folk art meets Mardi-Gras. If you are going for ultra realism, perhaps source out a higher quality wig on eBay. Woman’s hair naturally looks better in wig format, men's hair though most of the time just looks like a bad toupee.
- The skin – getting the color right for your skin is very tricky, its one of the hardest thing to paint, especially on a rough surface such as papier-mâché. If your want a more realistic skin, you should skim coat the mask in either fine clay or I would suggest sanded bondo. Then seal it, so the corresponding layers of paint can’t soak in. By laying down many thin layers of a light colored translucent paint, you will build up the naturally translucent nature of skin. Or, I keep using the excuse that I was going for the folk-art look! Hey, it works for me.
- Clothes – To resin or not to resin. I’m torn on this subject, as I really wanted to coat his clothing in polyester resin after dressing him. Not only does it help make the structure that much stronger, it makes that section water proof. In theory, you could polyester resin the whole thing, aluminum foil hair and all. But… I wanted the option of reusing this bust for a variety of things. Thought it would be awesome to take off his glasses, and slip on a classic Star Trek red shirt, then lay him out in the grass with guts coming out of where his body should be. Classic red shirt death scenario, but wait he’s not quite dead yet. That’s when you activate the eyes and mouth, uttering something scary to the trick or treaters. Basically I’m just dressing him like a mannequin, changing the look as needed.
Read this instructable thoroughly and try to plan ahead.
If you look at all the pictures at the top, click back and forth between the last 4 pictures - now you too can make charlie blink or talk!
Step 1: Option 1 - Tools and Supplies Used
- Big pot or bowl
- Soldering iron
- Glue gun
- Hack saw or Dremel type tool with cutting discs
- Assortment of paint brushes
- Assortment of stir sticks
- Saw that is capable of cutting curves in wood like a jig saw
- Drill with assorted drill bits
- Color printer w/regular white copy paper
- Staple gun and staples
- Paper for papier-mâché – I used one days worth of flyers
- Charlie Sheen-ish looking glasses
- White glue – I used Weld-Bond
- Glue Sticks
- Electronics solder
- Electrical tape
- Stranded wire, thin about 24 gauge is fine – about 3 feet
- 1 SPST switch – style is up to you
- Laser pointers, 3-4 or laser diodes with appropriate drivers & power supply
- Battery holder for 3 triple AAA batteries
- Triple AAA batteries
- Sand paper or sanding sponge
- Ping pong balls
- High Glass clear nail polish
- Optional – a few super fine fibers from a wool or acrylic red sweater
- Plywood 2’x3’ – thickness is up to you
- Assorted colors of acrylic paints
- Chicken wire – ¼” grid 4’x3’ sheet
- Mannequin head, sturdy mask or the silicone face mold from my other instructable, see link next line
- Scrap wire for temporally securing chicken wire, I used some left over Ethernet cable
- Optional – dryer lint, about 3 lint trap loads worth
- Optional – Fiberglass putty & activator, such as Bondo
Step 2: Option 2 - Additional Tools and Supplies Used
Additional Tools used
- Angle Grinder with a brand new thin kerf zip-cut type cutting disk
- Razor blade
- Optional - Dremel and a variety of cutting/grinding/shaping bits
- Face shield
- Ear protection
- Remote control transmitter, receiver & 2 servo's - mine was overkill!!! 6 channel radio for an old R/C plane - over 20 years old, still works though!
- 1 6volt lantern battery for the receiver and servo's OR if your lucky enough to have the existing battery pack use it of course!
- 1" closed foam, about a section 3" x 6"
- Thin rigid wire to form into a push rod - welding rod about 24"
- Bic type pen - hollowed out
- 2 bolts that fit snugly in the hollowed out pen - I used ikea bolts with those lovely wide flat heads - "elevator bolts"
- Coroplast board or other thin, yet stiff board to make the pivot supports - coroplast looks like corrugated plastic cardboard about 3" x 6"
- Bright red paint
Step 3: Make Your Papier-mache
Fill your large pot, bucket, bowl what have you to about halfway with shredded paper.
Add hot water till it just crests over the paper; it will float to some degree so push the paper down.
After about ½ an hour the paper will have absorbed a fair bit of the water which will be quite murky. Top it off with more water and every once in a while give it a stir.
After about 24 hours the paper will be very soft. Stir it up well and it will be like a thick chunky pulp.
As an experiment I added some dryer lint as this would add a lot of strength due to the stronger fabric fibers mixed in.
I would stretch out the dryer lint, about 3 loads worth and mixed it in a bit at a time.
I let it sit for a couple more hours, but it was probably ready to go.
When you’re ready, strain your pulp. The first batch I just did with a kitchen strainer, squeezing out as much moisture as I could by hand.
I then put the pulp into a bowl and added my weld-bond glue to a ratio of about 3:2 pulp to glue. At first it doesn’t mix in very well, persist and it will suddenly it come together. Surprisingly its not very sticky, and feels quite like clay when done. At this point you can’t start to mold your face or store it in the fridge in an air tight container or zip-lock type bag.
Step 4: Modify Your Lasers
This step can be skipped if you have purchased nice new laser diodes and there corresponding drivers and power supplies. If you have access to these I would do this for sure. If however you just don’t have time to wait for them to arrive or you’re too cheap to buy them you will have to do as I did, buy some super el cheapo laser pointers form a dollar store. I found them where I live for 2 for 1.50$, so I snagged 4. The reason for this is the super cheap lasers tend to have varying output levels; you pay for what you get after all. I took them apart and wired them in a variety of ways. Any of the ways work, it just depends on what you want to try. Keep in mind these laser pointers are so cheap, they don’t even really use a driver, more of just an inline resistor. Which means, the output and lifespan of these is quite questionable. As a power source I used the removable battery pack from a cheap led flashlight. It was cheaper to buy the led flash light for 1$ then to buy a battery pack from radio shack for 6$
The first way I modded the lasers to accept an alternate power and switch usage, was to just cut away the rear of the laser pointers tube, just shy of the spring in the rear.
I then sanded the enamel off the out side of the tube and cut a small notch to wrap a wire around. Another wire was twisted on to the spring. The spring gets hooked up to your negative power source; the wire hooked up to the body is your positive power source.
I soldered the wires on and hooked it up to a battery holder that held 3 triple AAA batteries. This added up to 4.5 volts, the same as the original lasers battery voltage. Mind you the amperage is quite a bit higher with the triple AAA’s. Look at the pictures for guidance. The switch was just held down with some tape, giving it power would turn it on and off
The next lasers I removed the casing entirely and tried a variety of solder points. Some I soldered the negative leads to the spring, some I snipped off the spring and soldered straight onto the board. The positive lead is soldered onto a this trip after the resistor at the base of the laser diode. – See the pictures as this is hard to describe in words.
Regardless of how you hook up your leads the output doesn’t seem to be affected by your hook up choice. The lasers them selves when powered by the original batteries varied greatly when hooked up the triple AAA battery pack. Choose your 2 lasers that have the most similar laser output. Remember that these are just going to be viewed by human eyes and are needed to be exact, just to look similar.
Step 5: Face Time
Molding the Papier-mâché clay is quite simple, provided you have a basic form. I used the positive silicone mold left over from on of my previous instructables, but one could use a mannequin head or even a sturdy human face mask.
Secure your face mold to what ever surface you are working on, as it will move under the pressure you will be applying with your hands.
Take out a tennis ball size amount of clay and squish it flat between your hands.
Lay it out on a section of the mask and press it down to conform to the contours of the face. Pressing and smoothing as you go, to get a layer about 1/8” thick. Continue adding more layers until the face is completely covered.
Now get out your pictures of Charlie, this is where a little artistic talents is needed. Using more clay, build up the face like in the pictures, across the brow, nose, lips and cheek bones. Keep an attention to detail for such things as dimples, wrinkles, frown lines, eyelids and eye spacing. Keep going back to the pictures and get others opinions along the way. This technique is the same for any face you are trying to simulate, take your time. For some reason I didn’t notice the jaw wasn’t built square enough, you can always go back later though and add a bit more. Before putting the clay away, form 2 ears and lay them flat to dry.
Depending on what you have molded your face, pretty much decides how long your face will take to dry. Mine was solid silicone, so I speeded things up a bit by putting it in my kitchen oven at the lowest heat setting for 6 hours at 160 degrees. Otherwise it takes up to 24 hours or longer to dry.
While you’re waiting for the face to dry, move on to step 4 and make the bust.
When the face is dry, very carefully remove it from the mold, work slow and patiently. It’s quite strong, but still could tear or crack if too much force is exerted.
Step 6: Bust a Move
Bust a move
The form for the base is just 3 pieces of ply wood with some chicken wire bent over it to take on the form of a bust. Bending the chicken wire for the bust is a little trickier then it look as all the sharp edges which seem unavoidable snag on every thing. Expect blood to flow from your fingers. To be honest you should wear protective leather gloves, but… all those edges constantly snag on the gloves, so I bit the bullet and accepted the fact I would get some nasty scratches. Perhaps you will have better luck!
The base is a rough oval cut out of 3/8” plywood, about 22 inches by 10 inches, basically look at your own shoulders and chest several inches above your nipples and bi-sect a plane in that pattern.
The supports for the neck and head cut from the same plywood are about nine inches tall = 4-5 inches at the base and 2-3 inches at the top. See the pictures for an example.
I simply screwed the supports to the base. Mine were spaced about 6 inches apart, in reality they should have been spaced about 4 inches apart. My Charlie Sheen has a He-man neck and looks kinda silly, oh well… Learn from my mistakes!
I cut a piece of Chicken mesh about 30”x20” and bent it into a ½ column shape. I cut out notches so the neck supports could fit through it. The ends where the shoulders would be were then notched and bent down, all the edges were stapled to the edge of the base. Once again, see the pictures.
The neck was a piece of chicken wire about 25”x5” bent into a tube and slipped over the neck supports. It was held in place by threading wire through the holes tying it together. You should be using less, unless you want to have a beefeater neck like mine, ugh.
Step 7: The Neck Bone Connects to the Head Bone
By now your face is dry, your bust is built and its time to connect it together.
- Using another piece of evil chicken mesh, cut out an oval about 25”x33”
- Cut slits from the edge to the center like in the picture.
- Bend the edges in, to form the back and sides of the head – see pictures.
- Secure the edges together with wire and shape it so it just fits into the edges of the face.
- Hot glue in place, and allow to cool.
- Cut notches in the base of the head that match the neck supports. Slip the head on and hot glue it in place.
- Now is a good time to hot glue on the ears.
- I wanted mine to have an access door on the back of the head for electronics, so I cut a scrap of plywood into a rectangle about 4”x5”. I then cut another rectangle from the middle of this, about 3.5”x4.5”. This became the door and the outer rectangle the frame.
- I cut a hole in the back of the head to insert the door frame and hot glued it in place.
- I screwed a hinge connecting the door to the center of the frame and adjust for clearance. See the pictures
At this point you can do, what I didn’t do, apply more of your pulp clay on to the back of the head and neck connecting the face all together. Other wise see the next step for what I did!
Step 8: Cheating
Optional – for those with little patience and don’t mind some smelly fumes!
I wanted to do some work on the piece and didn’t want to wait for clay to dry, so I cheated. I had some left over Bondo which I mixed up and smeared over the frame. I knew I would be covering this anyway later on with some pulp and tinfoil later so I wasn’t too concerned about how crappy it would look compared to the pulp.
- Put on some safety gear like gloves, goggles and if you have it, a respirator. At the bare minimum, work outside, this stuff has very toxic fumes! BE WARNED!!!
- Mix the Bondo according to the directions and smear it all over!
- Wait 20 minutes or so, and it’s good to go! See why I cheated, it’s a mega time saver!
Once it was all dry I gave it a spray bomb coat of black automotive primer. You don’t really need to do this, but it makes the project look a little more tied together, and helps with the artistic process.
Step 9: Give Charlie a Reverse Hair Cut
Hair, this was a tricky one. What to use? Papier-mâché? More fiberglass? A wig?
I piled over the Charlie Sheen pic’s and merged several of his hair styles into one; they were all kinda messy anyway, so I didn’t think it would matter. I scrunched up tinfoil for bulk and began hot gluing it to the head. Reasoning behind this being that I though I was going to be covering it with pulp or more fiberglass. Then it struck me, If I squeeze the tinfoil hard enough and add enough creases I could use just Tinfoil, re-enforced with copious amounts of hot-glue.
So, lock by formed lock I glued tinfoil hair to Charlies head.
I then drizzled hot glue onto all the folds of the hair, criss-crossing here and there till I deemed it solid enough.
Once the glue cooled I then gave it a spray coat of black primer and it looked not too shabby.
Later I'll brush on some burnt umber as Charlies hair is dark brown.
Step 10: I Design Your Eyes! Say Like Hannibal Chew From Blade Runner!
- Cut a hole in the back that just fits your lasers diode tip, mine were threaded, so ic ut the hole to enable me to screw on the ping pong eyeball. – Make sure to keep the label if your balls have on, on the back!
- Go look online for a high resolution picture of Charlie Sheen with eyes wide open.
- In the graphics program of your choice, crop Charlies face away, just leaving one full round iris.
- Print out several of these so they are about the size of a penny.
- Cut out just the iris. At first I was planning on wrapping the whole eye, this didn’t work so well…
- Press the iris with the palm of your hand onto the ping pong ball so it conforms to the shape of the ball.
- Apply a couple drops of clear nail polish onto the ping pong ball where you want the iris to be. Allow to dry for about 30 seconds and press in the iris. Press it down firmly into the palm of your hand for about 30 seconds or so, and should stick nicely.
- Clean off any residue and apply several drops over the iris so it pools on top like a lens.
- At this point you can add some extra effects like adding capillaries. Apply a thin coat of lacquer on the eyes and apply with tweezers a single red fiber here or there from your sweater, pressing it into the lacquer while still wet. Wait a minute or two for this to dry.
- Wait several minutes for it to completely dry and apply several thick coats quickly. Just like doing nails, the key is not to over do brush strokes, let the lacquer flow.
- Allow to dry for ten minutes or so until completely hardened. Try not to touch them now, to avoid fingerprints. You want them to keep there glossy wet look after all.
Step 11: Extend the Neck
- Same as the face, squeeze it flat and press onto the neck and out onto the shoulders.
- Surprisingly the clay dried quite quickly being just left out in the sun, even with the temperature hovering around 9 degrees. Pretty sure it was because the clay was spread very thinly over the fiberglass and the thicker parts were over the chicken wire mesh which allowed drying from both sides.
Step 12: Let There Be Flesh
First I gave the skin a base coat of acrylic paint that was 5 parts antique cream to 1 part cotton candy pink. It pretty much looked like a demonic version of Data from Star-Trek the Next Generation.
Next I mixed up some apricot, but used a trick I’ve used before. Mixing 1 part paint to 10 parts gloss water soluble varnish.
Painting this on was dramatic, as several translucent coats looks more flesh like then one thick opaque coat.
I then added ½ a drop of black and a drop or 2 of cotton candy to this solution and painted in the creases, nostrils ears and inner eyelids. The lips got several coats, as each coat darkens it up more and more, kinda like a water colour painting.
I applied a tiny touch of black paint just to the tips of a large brush and wipe off the excess so almost no paint remained on the brush. Then stippled on 5:00 o’clock shadow.
Next was a light stippling across the eyebrows, this was then lightly smeared with my finger. Once dry, I added individual eyebrow hairs.
At the hair line I added individual hair line in black.
Finishing off the hair was the addition of burnt umber being brush over the black hair here and there.
Step 13: Wire It Up - Part 1
If you haven’t done so all ready now is time to screw or glue your diodes into the ping pong eyeballs. Twist both diodes positive wires together and the negative wires together. These directions are mostly for those who are just going with the laser eyes lighting up via a switch, as opposed to the full r/c version. Most of this still applies though.
- Hook them up to your power source to turn that laser diodes on, and twist the diodes gently within the eyeballs to aim the center focused beam where you want it on the center of the eye. I found it actually looked odd with the laser centered on the pupil, instead I focused both beams off center of the pupil, directly opposite the white glint found on the iris.
- You always have the option of widening the beam by gently twisting the focusing lens on the diode itself.
- I cut a hole for the switch on the back access door, and glue gunned it in place.
- Finish connecting up you wires as per the diagram below.
- One the circuit is tested that it works, very carefully apply a drop on the lower inner eyelid, and press in an eyeball. Move it around until it’s in the place you want it to be.
- Continue with the second eyeball making sure they are orientated the same, unless you want google eyes!
- Once the glue has set, you can now drizzle on more hot glue to fully lock the eyeball in place. You do not need to apply a ton of glue though, just enough to lock it in. In addition I was careful not to apply glue to the diode itself. In the event one of the diodes fail, I can just reach in and unscrew the diode and slip a new one in.
- Make sure all the joints are soldered and taped to protect the connections, give it a test and bask in the warmth of warlock laser vision!
Step 14: Get Dressed
- If your shirt is stretchy enough, stretch the shirt over Charlie’s head. If not, cut the back to make an opening big enough. You don’t want to squish all the carefully coiffed hair after all.
- It can be secured one of 2 ways. Pull the shirt down around the base taut, but not to taut. Then secure the shirt to the bottom of the base with either hot glue or staples.
- At this point you can leave it just like that, or to make things harder and stinkier, do what I didn't do!
- Mix up about 2 cups worth of polyester resin with its appropriate activator, If you have access to color dye for resin, you should mix this into the resin before adding the activator.
- Start brushing on the resin, driving it into the weave of the shirt. Get a good coat, covering all the edges. Try not to get any on charlies skin as the gloss of the resin will be evident when your done. Drips on the bottom edge can always be sanded off later.
- If you used a shirt that all ready has the appropriate colors or added dye to the resin then your almost done. Otherwise, give the resin shirt a coat of paint.
- Finally add any details you may like to see, like painted on stitching, logo’s etc.
Step 15: Option 2 - Add an Animatronic Jaw or Goin' Under the Knife
- Start by marking out your cuts where the lower jaw will be. I chose to make it simply like a ventriloquist dummies mouth. See the pictures below
- I chose to use a “brand new” Zip-cut to make the main cuts as a jig saw has the potential to do a tear out or mar the surface. A razor blade will cut no problem, but you are using a lot of force to do so, when you do that you lose a bit of control. A 5” zip cut blade provides a nice clean, perfectly straight line when plunged in. This also rules out controlling the blade based on what your eye see’s. This really does become a problem when cutting multiple angled surfaces. Your eye perceives it as straight, but when the cut is complete you discover its not.
- The trick with the zip cut is to get as close as you can with out extending pass the line. See the video. Then finish it up with your razor blade.
- Your cut out section of jaw will have a concave interior, this will need to be filled and re-enforced. I used closed cell foam insulation, the kind that when you break doesn’t leave you with little confetti balls all over the place. Place your jaw section over the foam and cut it about a 1-2 mm smaller then the interior. Carve off the edges and try to match it as well as you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect as when you fill the jaw with hot glue, it will melt the foam to a perfect fit.
- As mention above, fill the cut out section of jaw with a layer of hot glue, immediately plunge your foam into it, watch out for squirting hot glue – its evil!
- Wipe off any protruding hot glue (not with your bare skin – ow) and hold the foam down securely. This will take longer to cool as, well your gluing insulation – its whole purpose is to maintain heat levels after all. About a minute or two versus the normal 30 seconds or so.
- Then take out your Bic pen, if you haven’t removed the ink cartridge, do so now. Basically you need a thin hard plastic tube, to act as a bearing race of sorts. Trim it to the size of the jaw foam. Slit out a section in the foam and hot glue the tube in place.
- Cut out a second section of foam, similar to the first. Hot glue this to your first one like in the pictures.
- In the supply list it tells you to have to bolts that fit with in the tube. They should slip in with very little lateral movement but still be able to turn easily with in the tube. They may need to be trimmed so that both fit in either side of the tube at the same time. They basically need to be about an inch long, trim to fit if yours are longer.
- Next I took some thin card stock and cut out sections which I hot glued over the foam. This really strengthens the jaw, much like a fiberglass skin over foam found in boat hulls. See the pictures for ideas of how to fit the card stock. Each piece will need to be custom fit and trimmed.
- Next looked inside Charlie’s head to see the adjacent side of where the jaw will go, and trace the curve onto a piece of paper. This curve was then transferred to 2 pieces of coroplast. I cut a hole through them where the bolts would need to line up with the bolt holes. Basically you are building coroplast axle stands. Slip in the bolts, these can be hot glued onto the axle stands if needed.
- The next section is hellish to do on your own as it is difficult to get the placement right. You’re having to looks at it from the front and guide it in to position from the back. This would have been so much easier if the jaw was installed before the face and rear of the head were joined.
- lay Charlie face down with his forehead supported by several books or what have you so his face was elevated about 5 inches. This allows you space to work the jaw into place. Making sure the jaw is in the correct position, attempt to open and close the jaw to check you clearances. I needed to trim about ½ inch off the bottom opening, almost to the base of the throat. This gives me clearance to open the jaw quite a bit.
- Once you have it in place treat it like spot welding. Glue the axle stands to the interior of the face with about 4 drops of hot glue. Allow to cool and make sure the jaw opens and closes smoothly and easily. If all goes well, add more hot glue and lock it in forever! This process will drive you crazy if you decided to do as I did, and add the jaw as an after thought. The issue is getting the glue gun to fit in the head and only glue in place the axle supports, no to glue the jaw. I have a monster glue gun, perhaps it would have been better if I had one of those teeny guns you can buy.
At this point you can go back and do any exterior trimming. It’s a good idea to trim any sharp edges, not so much as to prevent cuts, but these sharp edges will be on the brittle side. It would be a shame to finish of the last of the touch ups and have to go back because a fine edge breaks off. Trimming with a razor blade works well as the edges cut like thin balsa wood with no grain. You could also use a rotary trimmer such as a Dremel with a fine grinding bit.
Step 16: Add Some Ghost to the Machine
This section truly will vary depending on what kind of servos you have and if you have actual servo connecting rods. I did not. My servos, receiver and transmitter were ripped out of a project I did ten years back, and back then they were considered old. The battery back had long since corroded away; connecting rods consisted of bent bailing wire and automotive washers. Considering what this is being used for, this is fine. Its not like this is controlling some high speed airplane.
The first servo I wished to start with was the one controlling the mouth. See the bitmap drawing for an idea of the general hookup.
- First I measured the distance between the area of where the tongue would be on the lower jaw and the wooden base under the head. This was about 10 inches. So I cut a 12 inch piece of stainless steel tig rod and bent each tip to form loops. You need the extra inch on either end partially to make up the loop and to have something to grab onto with a pair of pliers. The excess is then trimmed away. The center of the loops had an interior diameter of about 1/16th, basically a hole just large enough to accommodate another piece of tig rod and/or a small connecting screw which will attach to the wheel mounted on the servo.
- I then bent a piece of tig wire that was 2 inches long into a horseshoe shape with long ends. This was fed through one of the loops on the above mentioned rod.
- All though not pictured, the easiest way to join the horseshoe shaped loop to the tongue is to cut a small piece of card stock about 1 inch by 1 inch. When you are ready to make the join, put a dollop of hot glue on this and use it like a piece of tape. The ends of the small loop are glued to the top of the tongue. The rod threaded through that loop drops down the center of the throat into the body.
- Slip a small screw through the hoop on this end and screw it on to the servo’s wheel. Hook the servo into the receiver’s base, plug in the power source and get out your transmitter. With one hand, hold the servo in place where you intend on attaching it. Activate the servo and see if the mouth opens and closes how you like. If not you will have to move the servo to a different location or possibly screw the connector tip into a different location on the servo wheel.
- Once every thing works smoothly, hot glue OR screw down the receiver to the place that works the best.
- The 6 volt lantern battery was inserted into a hole I made in the shoulder. You could easily come up with a simple way to attach or remove the battery like using self adhesive Velcro. I on the other hand simply opted to use a couple drops of hot glue. The hot glue will lock it down, and should I really need to remove it, simply rocking the battery back and forth will eventually break the glue bond.
- The second servo used is to control the lasers via a standard spst light switch. Using a switch like this is over kill, but its strong, can take all the current you need and dirt cheap. The lasers power source is kept separate from the 6 volt lantern battery as it naturally only uses 4.5 volts. Making the lasers able to run off of the 6 volts is a lot harder then it looks. The reason for this is when using cheap laser diodes from dollar store laser pens, you never are going to know the true voltage, without a lot of work. I can solder up a battery pack faster then one can look up the information, and it works true blue every time.
- This time starting off, I used the same stainless steel tig wire, about 6-7 inches in length. One gets about ½ inch bent at a 45 degree angle. This will slip through one of the hole on the servo wheel.
- Next I drill a hole through the tip of the toggle on the light switch. The hole is slightly wider then my tig wire.
- I thread the tig wire through this hole and loosely bend the protruding end at an angle. This is just to stop the wire from coming loose.
- Measure the difference in length from far edge of the base of the servo and the base of the light switch. Cut a piece that long of coroplast, Plexiglas or thin plywood about an inch or two wide. Anything will do, its just to lock the switch and servo together. I had a thin piece of Plexiglas that I used. Power up the servo and test the movement, adjustments are made by either bending the rod or inserting it in a different hole on the servo wheel. See how its wired up on the next page.
Step 17: Wire It Up - Part 2
When you wire it up, thing will most likely be a little different for yours. Depending on your servo-receiver setup your wires may be a little different. The basis should how ever be more or less the same. Rather then have a big right up on how I did it, I have included a bit-mapped diagram that is much clearer then I could ever describe in words! So look below for clarity.