Introduction: Animatronic, UV Reactive Dragon Head!

About: Woodsman and field tutor on a week day. Life long inventor, designer, engineer for the rest of the time. From items that make life easier to items with no reason to be....other than the idea popped into my hea…

This is a special effect I designed and built to scare the kids in the woods at Halloween.

It is motorised for neck top pan and tilt, pantograph mounted for sweeping pan and tilt.

It spits flame and smoke and glows under UV light.

Step 1: The Parts.... Part One

The see-saw bit is the pantograph that, for testing, will mount on the post behind it.
The red and green bits are the neck, green is UV reactive the red is UV black
The part to the left is the motor head.

The following two photo's show the two geared motors and limit switches that do the head movement.

Last photo all of the bits including the 12v battery that powers it all up.

Step 2: The Parts.... Part Two

The control panel and cables in the packing case followed by the UV lighting under test..

Lastly the head itself, safe in its packing case.... and ready to be fitted.

The flame effect is done with a piece of silk with a fan and some red, blue and yellow LEDs behind it.
There are yellow and red LED's in the eyes and UV ones on the nose.

Step 3: The Tech Bits

As with any of my builds the vast majority of this was built from parts I had knocking around the workshop.

The head is a mixture of plastic bucket and 1 gallon bottles, the bits that make it work are shown in the first photo, white wires are to lights, coloured ones to motors. The obvious feature is the fan which makes the flames move.

Next up is the circuit diagram to show the complexity of the wiring with all its change-over and limit switches.

The motor head is based around a castor with the wheel removed and replaced with a block of wood, this is mounted on a bigger block of wood :) most of the wiring is hidden under the cut out 1 gallon bottle.

This whole lot gets mounted on the end of the wooden pantograph in the last photo.

Final connections are made with a pair of colour coded trailor plug and sockets.

Step 4: The Build Up

The pantograph sits on a 10mm diameter stainless steel pivot rod on top a post with the neck parts all clipped together also on the pivot rod. (back heavy)

The motor head is bolted in place and the neck attached. (Front heavy)

The 12v battery is put in its cradle. (back heavy)

The head gets bolted on and connected up to motors. (just back heavy)

Control panel and cables fitted and connected. (just back heavy)

Step 5: Better in the Dark

I have tried to take all sorts of photo.s and movies of the dragon in the dark but I cannot find a camera that comes close to what the eye sees so sorry but I cannot give you the full effect here but the pictures and the movie give a flavour.... Add to this the atmospheric sound effects in the wood at dead of night. :)

Video can be found here (and now embedded! Thanks for showing me how :))
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