Simple Animatronics (robotic hand)

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

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!
norrisalex7 days 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)  exceeda881 month ago
I'd love to see it!
agfawkes7 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)  agfawkes1 month ago
I'm honored, thank you! Go ahead try it!
jazzy971 month ago
I found this very handy, thanks
tanntraad (author)  jazzy971 month ago
Nice one, thanks!
amaituino6 months ago
Thanks !
amaituino6 months ago
The thumb is very tricky indeed ... I have tried your way with little (tiny) modifications
Homepwner6 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.
(removed by author or community request)
How long was the total length of tubing you used? I really want to make this..
pelindolok1 year ago
I want to download this as pdf, why i can't? :(
haredrier1 year 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)  haredrier1 year ago
Sure! Did see one guy that welded his hand! Awesome, with a hint of deadly!
jakepark1 year ago
tantraad, could you use straws instead of pipes?
tanntraad (author)  jakepark1 year 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
where did you buy the tubing???? ps can i use this at an invention convention 4 my school???
wire conduit, auto parts or hardware store.. or if you goto a junkyard there is tons under hood of almost any car from 82 present day.. newer cars, much more, and will have from 1/8"-1.5" pieces.. and typical junkyards just give it away..
freeza36 oneaze2 years ago
The tubing i bought has a cut going down the entire length. Is there a simple fix?
hmm, seeming as it is already invented... I would think not. it is probably already copyrighted by somebody and you just might get sued

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