Introduction: Grim Reaper Animatronic

Picture of Grim Reaper Animatronic

A few years ago, I got into Halloween and decided I wanted to make an animatronic figure to decorate my house with. I wasn't really good with electronics, so I used what my skills were to make the animated figure. I decided that my animatronic figure would be the Grim Reaper...

What you need to do this project is:
-Wood- You need to build the animatronic's armature out of something. Wood seems to work just fine. I used scrap wood that I had around the house.
-Small Oscillating Fan- This is what I used to animate the prop. The Grim Reaper would turn his head from side to side.
-Skeleton Mask- I found one at Party City on clearance for $2.99. It worked...
-Black Sheet- Dress up your Grim Reaper. I actually used a black tablecloth.
-Sickle- The Grim Reaper carries around his sickle. I made one out of a palm tree branch. Get creative.

Step 1: Build the Armature

Picture of Build the Armature

I built the armature of my Grim Reaper mostly out of scrap wood. When I ran out of wood, I used some PVC pipe. Building the whole thing out of wood or building the whole thing out of PVC really wouldn't make all that much of a difference.

How exactly you build it doesn't make all that much of a difference either. All of this will be covered up, so as long as the frame holds up, it will work. An important feature of my design is to put a flat piece of wood at the top of the frame, where the neck would appear to be. This is where the fan will go, so it should have a stable place to sit. Build your armature accordingly based on how your fan will fit into the frame.

Step 2: Add the Fan...

Picture of Add the Fan...

I next added the fan to the frame. The fan should be resting on some stable surface. On my armature, it's a flat piece of wood. I secured the fan by taking 4 long wood screws and drilling them through the frame so they would come out just above the base of the fan, without going into the fan. This allowed the fan to be easily removed by unscrewing the screws, but it also kept the fan attached to the frame pretty well.

Step 3: Dress Up the Reaper...

Picture of Dress Up the Reaper...

All that's left is to dress up your Grim Reaper. I placed the mask over the cage of the fan. I put the sheet over the rest of the Reaper, and put my palm frond sickle in one of his hands.

Plug him in and play some creepy music and scare the trick or treaters with no problems!


kurtnotkirk (author)2012-10-22

What a great and simple animatronic! Nicely Done!

tinker234 (author)2012-03-09

i love the use of a fan i have a box full of them in my closet i think i could use for this

halloween_haunter (author)2010-10-15

Saweeeeet! I am always up for the spooky but cheap way. Thanks !

Screamo (author)2010-09-25

Pretty cool

Kiteman (author)2007-11-02

Do you have the fan spinning as well as the oscillation running?

woofboy111 (author)Kiteman2007-11-07

yes I do. I guess you could always remove the fan blade, but my technique seemed to work fine. Just make sure there is some room for the air to flow so the fan doesn't overheat and burn out the motor or start a fire.

tenaciousbd (author)woofboy1112010-09-13

Once I removed the blades, I had a problem burning up fan motors. I remedied this by rigging up a motion sensor so it would only come on when needed.

Kiteman (author)woofboy1112007-11-08

Or pump fog under his shroud and it will pour out of his eyes and mouth...

TheSweetRevenge (author)2009-10-21

this is great xD
lol, i thought this would be harder XD 
will definitely do this for halloween =D
I'll try fattening the arm up with newspaper >   <

annoyingfeatures (author)2009-10-15

 clever, i want to do this

seastar128 (author)2009-09-29

be careful with lasers as they can harm real eyes causing burns to the retina...depends on many factors including the "strength" of the laser, exposure, etc...LED s would probably be a better and safer method...but good idea

hauntedscene (author)2009-09-18

This is creepy and cool. Just what I need. Thanks for posting

bounty1012 (author)2008-05-25

you should add a bowl of candy and make it move when someone tried to get some candy that would scare the crap out of them

elescape (author)2008-01-17

Yeah, i would use laser pointers, i would just add some leds, and would be a cool idea to just add like a trip sensor so as soon a a kid walks by, bam, it's turning around and all.

canida (author)2007-11-02

Simple and functional! I'd recommend adding cheap red laser pointers for extra-spooky eyes.

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