Instructables
Picture of Simple Animatronics (robotic hand)
I made my first animatronic hand when I was about 10 years old using stuff I found around the house. Now I want to share with you how to easily make your own at home!

 This hand is made from readily available materials and is perfect for your Halloween haunted house, scary pranks, as a movie prop or just good old fashion fun. It also serves as a good starting point for further work that might include the use of servos, remote controlling and more advanced animatronics. There's a few videos at the end of this instructable that shows the building process and some of the movement of the hand. Here's one;


 
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Step 2: Making the template

First off, draw an outline of your hand on a sheet of paper.
Mark off the joints of each finger including your knuckles. If you're lazy, just print out the last picture:)

Step 3: Creating some fingers

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For this hand I used a plastic tubing that electricians use when they route wires trough walls. It is easy to cut and have a nice "spring" to it. Almost any kind of tubing will do so just take whatever you can get.

Cut the tube at a length equal to that of the distance from your finger to your wrist. Do this for all fingers.

From the template, mark off the joints and then cut a V-shape in the tube at each joint. Make sure the to check the angle of the bend so that it closely matches your fingers.

Step 4: Mounting the fingers

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Get your string and insert it into the tube. I used nylon string so that it doesn't frizz. Use a few feet for each finger as you can always cut it later.
Tie a few knots at the end as depicted and secure it all with some tape to hold it all together.
At the other end (wrist-side), pull and tape the string. This makes the next step much easier!

Step 5: Mounting the fingers -continued

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Make use of those old CD-covers that clutters your desk and snap off a piece of plastic. Cut it to size and power up the glue gun.
Glue the fingers to the plastic strip (just below the knuckle joints). Make sure the right fingers are in the right place!

Step 6: Thumbs up

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Depending on the diameter of the tubing, you might want to tape the fingers before gluing the thumb in place. It might seem a bit tricky placing the thumb, but study your hand and you'll work it out. Use a big blob of glue and hold it steady until it cools.

Step 7: Wrist

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Remove the tape from the wrist-end of the tubes and insert them in a foot or so of tubing.
To stiffen things up a bit, attack that old CD-cover again and snip out one or two pieces as per picture. Glue it all together leaving an inch for the wires. Some extra tape might also be in place here.

Step 8: Controlling the beast

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To get things in motion we need to make a bracket of some kind. A plastic clothes hanger is about to be hacked.
Make a square by taping and gluing the pieces together.
Secure it to the end of the tube by using even more glue and tape.
Tie loops for all fingers. The thumb is a bit tricky to control at first but with time you'll get the hang of it.

That's basically it! The next step is really not necessary but more depending on the usage.

Step 9: Bringing it to life

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To add a more human touch, I glued some cell foam to the tips of the fingers and palm. This helps if you plan to use a glove for further realism.
On the other hand*, if the aim is a skeleton look, this might be redundant and you'd be better off with some spray paint. This is where your creativity should take over:)

Here's a quick video I made of another hand. I used my stiff MC glove so the movement doesn't really show on that one.



This is a low quality video I made during testing. I will replace it with a better one later!


Thanks for viewing my Instructable. Now, go and scare someone:)
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fionag1232 months ago
Nice
samanrabiei3 months ago
Hooligan23 months ago

thank you so much for this. My little brother was born without a hand and you gave me an idea on how to effectively make him a working hand. Thank you soooo much.

norrisalex4 months ago

Hi there, thanks for the great instructible. How much did it cost you to make this? I only need a cost estimate because I'll be doing this for a project and I need to provide documentation for my construction.

exceeda881 year ago
thank you for this, i have recreate it using rubber tube
tanntraad (author)  exceeda885 months ago
I'd love to see it!
agfawkes11 months ago
This is my favorite instructable on the whole site. Thanks so much. It's so inspirational! I found this a few years ago and just remembered it today. I think i will try it this time... 
tanntraad (author)  agfawkes5 months ago
I'm honored, thank you! Go ahead try it!
jazzy975 months ago
I found this very handy, thanks
tanntraad (author)  jazzy975 months ago
Nice one, thanks!
amaituino10 months ago
Thanks !
amaituino10 months ago
The thumb is very tricky indeed ... I have tried your way with little (tiny) modifications
Homepwner10 months ago
too cool!
Orzahn1 year ago
Thank the robotic overlords for instructables, I was looking to build a hand, but wasn't sure if the strings would work, but evidently they do ;) Thanks.
ksafaet1 year ago
nice work.... :)
simply superb! thamk you! i learnt a lot..
well done!
well done!
I have some armoured paintball gloves and shall try to make an exoskeletoney version .I shall try to put it on here but It could take a year for me to get round to it. if possible I'll make them extendable arms to. my mouth is often bigger than my skill level so don't count on it being up soon.shall put a link here if I get it done.
Thanks for posting this 'Ible! I'm one step closer to be able to get things from up high out of the fridge myself!
cjs12981 year ago
I like how extra additions can come. Like coverage with a glove or even adding an arm.
This is most likely the best one I've seen on this website beause it is simple but it works great and it's easy to make good job!
This is most likely the best one I've seen on this website beause it is simple but it works great and it's easy to make good job!
Just simple and therefore great, well done.
hi
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Hi
Hi
How long was the total length of tubing you used? I really want to make this..
pelindolok2 years ago
I want to download this as pdf, why i can't? :(
haredrier2 years ago
Is it possible to make one that is bigger than your own hand? I'm working on a robot suit for Halloween.
tanntraad (author)  haredrier2 years ago
Sure! Did see one guy that welded his hand! Awesome, with a hint of deadly!
jakepark2 years ago
tantraad, could you use straws instead of pipes?
tanntraad (author)  jakepark2 years ago
Hi! I don't see why not. But wouldn't it be very skinny? Also, it might not be as strong.. but give it a go! Let us know how it works out:)
TimmyMiller2 years ago
how would you put a glove on it? p.s. can you turn a dial with this? i want to build a robot that will be able to turn a thermostat dial. it's for a friend. please respond with a private message, thanks.
If you had 5 Servos you could, that would be around $75 if you got them from radio-shack or you could find some on eBay. And for a robot you wish to function as a robot i would suggest using a stronger material for the hand such as hinged metal or a hard plastic/
pyromanic2 years ago
cool
where did you buy the tubing???? ps can i use this at an invention convention 4 my school???
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