Introduction: Animatronic Body

About: I am a hobbyist who designs and builds robots and animatronics.


Today we are going to be building an animatronic body. This body will consist of a rotating torso (left-right), 3-axis arms (Shoulder up-down, Shoulder left-right, Bicep up-down).

For this project you're going to need:

x1 Pololu Maestro Control Board

x1 DM-S2000MD servo motor

x6 MG996R servo motors

Some Aluminum rods

Some Plumbers Strap

Some L-Brackets

A Wire Coat Hanger

A 3D printed pan/tilt mechanism

3D printed Parts (Only these ones Servo Mount, Rack, Spur Gear)

Various Bolts and Screws

2" Diameter Vacuum Tube

x1 2" Diameter Vacuum Tube T-Bracket

x1 PVC Torso Mechanism

x1 Tripod or another sturdy base

Step 1: Creating the Torso

First, build the PVC Torso Mechanism from my other instructable tutorial. Once you have that built and tested, secure it to the Tripod using various metal brackets.

Set your Torso servo to 90 Degrees.

Add a Vacuum tube T-Bracket to the Torso tube (PVC Torso Mechanism) to create the shoulders. The shoulders are created by attaching 2 Vacuum tubes to both sides of the T-Bracket.

Refer to the images above.

Now, create the body frame using plumbers strap. If you are giving your animatronic clothes like I did, you must tailor the frame to the clothing. It will make your life a lot easier.

Step 2: Building the Arms

Now, we can start the arms.

Take 2 long Aluminum rods/beams/brackets (refer to the images above) and use a bolt to join them together. This will be our arm structure, so make sure they can pivot (move up and down) freely. Drill some other various holes into the aluminum so you have some options when it comes to adding the coat hanger wire to lift the arm up.

Step 3: Building the Arms Part 2

Bolt your servo to the 3D printed pan/tilt Mechanism (set the servo to 90 degrees) and secure the 3D printed U-bracket (from the pan/tilt mechanism) to the Aluminum arm structure (refer to the images above).

Now take another servo and bolt it's servo horn to the flat base where your other servo is bolted to. This servo makes the whole arm move up and down. Once you have the servo horn bolted and secured to the servo, set your servo to 180 degrees (if your doing the left shoulder. Use 0 degrees for the right shoulder. You will have to test tis because it depends on how you orient your servo. If you orient your servo like I did then L=180 and R=0 but if you invert your servo or flip it so it's at a different orientation, you will have to play around with it) , and secure the servo in place to the Vacuum tube. Now test your servo to make sure the whole arm moves up.

Repeat these steps for the second arm.

Step 4: Adding the Bicep

Attach a servo to the top part of the arm (I put mine mid-way). Bolt the spur gear to the servo, and attach the servo mount to the arm. You will have to manually modify the servo mount to make it fit. I had to cut of the actual servo holder and just leave rectangular part where the rack slides up and down in.

Set your servo to either 180 or 0 and insert the rack between the gear and the servo mount.

Take a coat hanger and cut an appropriate sized piece off. Hook one end to the rack and the other to the lower arm where we drilled those extra holes. Test out your bicep to make sure it pulls and and pushes down.

Repeat these steps for the other bicep.

Step 5: All Done!


You have now build an animatronic body. You can hook it up to the Pololu Maestro Control Board and start creating a routine.

I even added an Inmoov neck to mine and created an interchangeable animatronic head (like the one in the images above).

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