(Robot Contest Entry Catagory = 18+)
This instructable is about a talking animatronic robot head I built, which I call Robot Head 2. To get an idea of Robot Head 2's functionality, click on the short video below or you can copy and paste the following link in your browser:
Robot Head 2 is a fairly complex animatronic. I built him from scratch using the following items:
- wooden knobs (for the eyes)
- doll eyes (the kind that move when you shake them)
- screws, nuts, bolts, & various other hardware items
- 1/8th inch brass rod
- misc. pieces of metal cut & bent to shape for various things
- latex (for the lips)
- various servos (the kind used in model cars & airplanes)
- wire -- lots of wire!
- one servo controller (MiniSSCII)
- powered computer speakers
- many, many electrical connectors of various configurations
- a large trunk
- wooden box (found at a thrift store)
- a clip-on lamp
- power strip
- an old cooling fan unit salvaged from a computer
- several extension cords
- a pair of old sunglasses
- a single-board computer (RAPU)
- compact flash card (used in the RAPU)
- one micro switch
- one plastic box (to house the RAPU)
- hot glue
- heat shrink tubing & electrician's tape
- varnish, paint, brushes, and rags to clean up the mess!
Tools used included:
- drills & drill bits
- scroll saw
- wire stripers
- soldering gun & solder
- heat gun
- hot glue gun
- hammer, scredrivers, pliers, etc.
I had no plans when I began this project, other than a previous head that I built as a prototype (Robot Head 1 -- now disassembled).
The head stores in a trunk that I customized, and then mounts on top of the trunk when it is in use.
This is a fairly complex project, but if you break it down into major goals, it becomes more doable. So, the approach I will take is to tackle the head itself, the electronics, the other components, and the trunk it travels in and mounts on.
Step 1: The Head
I built the head from 1/2 inch plywood. First I made a cardboard head and jaw, and experimented with the design to ensure I could get the movement I wanted, make sure all the servos would have room to fit, and figure out the pivot points for the jaw and the head tilt. This is where a laser engraver/cutter would have been very beneficial. It would have been nice to be able to do all the design in a CAD program, then laser the design onto the wood. But without one, I had to resort to my usual trial & error!
In each photo below I have tried to provide sufficient documentation on the role of each servo, and you can see visually how each servo connects to the component it controls. Just do a mouse-over on each box to see the description / explanation.
Once all the wooden parts of the head were cut out and test-fitted with servos, I put a couple of coats of polyurethane varnish on the wooden parts.