Introduction: Servo Driven Face

I've decided to see if I could build a head that had similar movements to the Madame Leota tombstone from Haunted Mansion using servos.

Eventually, I may build a tombstone for it to go inside.

The first thing I did was come up with the design for the eyes and eyelids on a word processing program (I converted it to .png) and then cut out a piece of mdf to hold the eye and the servos. I ended up having to cut out another piece of MDF to get the eyes closer to the inside of the mask.



Step 1:

I used 40mm ping pong balls with wooden dowels that go through the top so the eyes sit on board.

A few more dowels are glued into the back of the ping pong balls so the eyes can move left and right. Two large paper clips were straightened out to assist with connecting the dowels to the servo.

Before I attached the eyes to the board, I attached "U" brackets which the eyelids are connected to the mdf. A few more large paper clips were used as connectors between the eyelids and the servo. At first I used hot glue to attach the eye lid servo to the mdf, but I decided to make it more secure and used vertical servo mounts.

A small square piece of wood sits just in between the "U" brackets and a pop sickle stick is attached to the little piece of wood to keep the eyes from rolling back, but still allowing the eyes to move.

Step 2:

To make the face move up and down I used a 1/4 rod end and attached that to a piece of mdf. The mdf was attached to the main board and a 1/4 threaded rod was inserted into the rod end. Note: The first picture was not the final board that was used. The picture is to show how the parts were connected up.

1/4" compression sleeves were placed above and below the rod end and a nylon locking nut was attached to the top of the threaded rod.

A 1/4" locking nut was added under the bottom compression sleeve and a heavy gauge rod (it is the metal part of an irrigation flag) was attached and used as an arm for the servo. Another 1/4" locking nut was used to keep the arm in place and an additional vertical servo mount was used to hold the servo in place.

In order to keep the face from wobbling side to side, a track was added which was made using a tongue depressor cut in half and hot glued to either side of the nylon locking nut.

Step 3:

In order to run the movements of the servos, a Pololu Micro Maestro controller was used.

Using a small display box, servo extension wires were run from the controller to the top of the box. This allowed for easy connection to the servos. Wires were also run for the power supply and an on/off switch. A small hole was made in the side in order to allow to the usb mini to be connected for programming the servos.

The threaded rod was attached to a piece of wood using a 1/4" coupler and a 1/4 bolt. Also, the box was attached to the back part of the wood.

Step 4:

Acrylic paint was applied to the mask and eyes for effect.

The servos movements were then recorded and it was time to give her a test run.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jQIcLwAQPY

Overall, I'm really happy with the results.

Thank you.

**Update** 

I added a picture of the face connected to the tombstone. I still need to carve the blue parts of the tombstone and add fabric and she will be done.

Comments

author
discozombie made it!(author)2015-09-17

What did you end up using for the eye lids?

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2015-09-18

I used the shells for fire crackers. You can also vacuform some eyelids using the 2" wood ball cut in half.

author
wojtek1103 made it!(author)2015-05-03

Nice work. I would add a tag 'animatronics'. ;)

author
El+mane made it!(author)2015-02-23

and where is your arduino code? I think it could be useful

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2015-02-23

I didn't use an Arduino. I used a mini-maestro from Pololu. I can look up the code and upload it if there is interest, but it is super easy to program.

author
psycho_3852 made it!(author)2012-05-25

very nice, you could have it to where it fallows a person as they pass by the mask. to add to the creepiness

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-05-25

I thought about doing that with pictures. :)

author
gtoal made it!(author)2012-05-26

Having it follow a person is definitely possible and can be done analog, without requiring a microcontroller. You'll need an analog infrared sensor in each eye, and an op-amp, and an analog motor (not a stepper motor). Depending on which eye gives the stronger IR signal, trigger the servo to turn in that direction. The head will turn until the IR from each eye is balanced and should continue to track you as you walk across its path. A friend of mine, Steve McGloin, built this circuit when we were students back in '77 before PICs etc were available. (Sorry I can't remember the circuit in enough detail to reproduce but any electrical engineer should be able to work it out. I'm more of a digital man myself.)

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-05-26

Very cool. On my list for 2013 Halloween season. Thanks. :)

author
gtoal made it!(author)2012-05-26

For Halloween a skull might be fun. That was actually Steve's implementation. The recessed eye sockets help make the IR detection more directional too.

I forgot to explain that with his one, the whole skull rotated to follow you across the room, but I'm fairly confident you could make it work with just the eyes.

Or have the eyes follow you first and the head move more slowly until it is facing you again...

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-05-26

I already have four 3-axis skulls so I think the paintings might work out better for the eye that follow.

Although, if the whole skull followed and not just the eyes, that would be a new twist in using animated skulls.

Sounds like it might be interesting to get another Lindberg skull and give this a go.

Thank you.

author
gtoal made it!(author)2014-09-05

Looks like there's been some movement in this area (pardon the pun) on Instructables in the last couple of years:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Halloween-Props-That-Turn-to-Look-at-You-as-you-Wa/

Have you any plans for something new for this year's halloween?

By the way, this month's (Sept 2014) Nuts'n'Volts is all about halloween. Recommended reading!

http://www.nutsvolts.com/

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2014-09-06

I had a big transition this year to a different state so I'm still trying to get organized.

Thank you for the information. A few of my friends have articles in the Nuts'nVolts magazine so I'm going to check it out.

Thank you.

author
Redsic made it!(author)2012-08-10

This is an interesting concept of beam Robotic's :)

Would love to see an Instructable on this :D

author
gtoal made it!(author)2012-06-15

Talking about this circuit made we want to experiment.. I've just tested something very similar, although it is for following a light source, not infra-red: https://www.instructables.com/id/2-sun-tracker-circuit/ and then in the related instructables I found this circuit which may be pretty close to something you could use...

author
lambofwrath95 made it!(author)2014-05-18

reminds me of Meshuggah - Shed... you should totally make a weird video or horror/sci-fi trailer with these!

author
Eticketdream made it!(author)2012-10-02

Hello friend, Great work here! I am going to make Leota'a tomb my project for 2013 Halloween as she takes some detail. This year my devotion is to Madam leota herself. I have Decided to work on one character from the Haunted mansion a year! I was wondering if you might give up your secret as to how you created the detail in her headress? I see people using molds but I am wondering if that is too heavy and how to Adhere Late text to Styrofoam? I thought there is no harm in asking. Any advice in all areas of her tomb would be so appreciated. The season is early, I could Mabey get her out this year! I do expect that may be Ambitious. I expect Madam leota herself I will probably run into some snaafoos. Thank you!

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-10-02

Hi.

Great questions. The tombstone itself was carved using a CNC machine. I worked with woodloom.com as the price was very reasonable.

The headdress I will using a mix of foam and muslin fabric. The fabric will be coated with monstermud (a mix of joint compound and latex paint). The foam I will be carving using a hot knife. The face itself you should be able to find at Halloween stores as they should have plenty this time of year or you can find them online (which might be cheaper).

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need clarification on anything.

Thank you.

author
Eticketdream made it!(author)2012-10-02

Hello,
I do have two more questions if I may. I was wondering what you will be using for a stencil ( if any) for the epitaph and fleur de lis? I was also wondering what you will be using to adhear the final mold of the headress to the tombstone; being it will be Styrofoam. Thank you so much!!

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-10-02

I added a picture of the tombstone with the face. I still have a little work to do to finish her up but as you can see from the picture, it didn't turn out too bad.

author
Eticketdream made it!(author)2012-10-02

Thank you! I hope you will take pictures and document your progress as you did with her face. This is a fantastic addition to the Haunted mansion props that are so rare out there! How wonderful the Internet is that super fans of Halloween and the HM can read and share ideas. You will truly have one of the first working Leota's tombs! Cheers!

author
AZbubs made it!(author)2012-05-29

Cool! I voted for ya, my friend! Maybe someday I will get my skulls working. . .

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-05-29

I appreciate it.

Let me know if I can help with the skulls. I've built a number of them in the past.

Thank you.

author
Devilsgate made it!(author)2012-05-26

Too cool you got my vote..! :)

author
dionicia12 made it!(author)2012-05-26

You rock. :)

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