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;

Step 1: Parts and tools you need

Picture of Parts and tools you need
Sharp knife
Hot glue-gun
Marker/ pen
Plastic or wooden clothes hanger

The two latter can be replaced by other materials as you will find out later.

Step 2: Making the template

Picture of 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

Picture of Creating some fingers
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

Picture of Mounting the fingers
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

Picture of Mounting the fingers -continued
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

Picture of Thumbs up
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

Picture of Wrist
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

Picture of Controlling the beast
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

Picture of Bringing it to life
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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T0BY29 days ago
Very nice.
DiegoG171 month ago

Yes indeed well done

DiegoG171 month ago

This is really cool beacuse everyones been like" if you like nightmare bonny so much why dont you just build him!" so this might work!

Nice one, thanks!

can you use paper tubes for fingers?

You might be able to...

chelo_ldu made it!4 months ago

added some servos

JackieC37 months ago

not trying to be rude but i did the same thing when i was small but i use a pizza box and just string but yours is much more cooler

exceeda882 years ago
thank you for this, i have recreate it using rubber tube
tanntraad (author)  exceeda881 year ago
I'd love to see it!
Where do u get the tubing and what is the tubing specifically called
fionag1231 year ago
Hooligan21 year 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.

norrisalex1 year 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.

agfawkes1 year 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)  agfawkes1 year ago
I'm honored, thank you! Go ahead try it!
jazzy971 year ago
I found this very handy, thanks
tanntraad (author)  jazzy971 year ago
Nice one, thanks!
amaituino1 year ago
Thanks !
amaituino1 year ago
The thumb is very tricky indeed ... I have tried your way with little (tiny) modifications
Homepwner1 year ago
too cool!
Orzahn2 years 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.
ksafaet2 years ago
nice work.... :)
simply superb! thamk you! i learnt a lot..
MakingWorld2 years ago
well done!
MakingWorld2 years ago
well done!
wood wizard2 years ago
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!
cjs12982 years ago
I like how extra additions can come. Like coverage with a glove or even adding an arm.
mb inventor2 years ago
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!
mb inventor2 years ago
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.
How long was the total length of tubing you used? I really want to make this..
pelindolok3 years ago
I want to download this as pdf, why i can't? :(
haredrier3 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)  haredrier3 years ago
Sure! Did see one guy that welded his hand! Awesome, with a hint of deadly!
jakepark3 years ago
tantraad, could you use straws instead of pipes?
tanntraad (author)  jakepark3 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:)
TimmyMiller3 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.
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