SplatterFX - Articulated Monster Frame




Introduction: SplatterFX - Articulated Monster Frame

In this Instructable I will show you how to make the best articulated monster frame on the planet (at least I think so) - each of the monster joints (Splivels) allow for a full range of movement!

I created this project for the Houston HauntCon 2008 as a make and take project. My sons and I had a ball there! I want to thank Leonard Pickel and his wonderful family for hosting this event and allowing me the opportunity to go Halloween Crazy in the middle of May! If you are interested - check out Haunted Attractions Magazine online...

Now! Mr. AMF!!!

Step 1: Parts List

There are basically two main parts of this project -

1. The skeleton/frame
2. the Splivels (it is what I am calling them...SplatterFX + Swivel = Splivel)

The skeleton itself will take you maybe 10 minutes to measure, cut and glue - the Splivels will take longer. All of the parts can be found at the local hardware store, but you can do much better if you order nuts, bolts and washers online or from a store that specializes in nuts and bolts.

For this project, the Monster Frame will be articulated at the shoulders, elbows, neck, knees and hips. You can do more (hands and feet) or less. It is really up to you...

Skeleton Parts:
2 - 8' sticks of 3/4" PVC Pipe
2 - PVC Crosses

Splivel Parts:
18 - PVC End Caps
9 - 1/4-20 x 1" Hex Bolts
18 - 1/4-20 x 1-3/4" Carriage Bolts
45 - 1/4-20 Hex Nuts
54 - 1/4-20 Star Washers (Outside Tooth)
2 - 5' x 1-3/8" Flat Plate (Garage Door Strap)

Tools (must have):
Drill with 1/4" Bit
Vise Grips or Wrenches
Metal File
Safety Glasses (Metal Filings!)
Leather Gloves (Metal Filings!)

Other Stuff:
PVC Glue

Not necessary but helpful/cool:
Bench Vise (this is VERY helpful when cutting the metal plate and drilling the PVC caps)
Grinding Wheel
Bucky Skull
1 - 3/4" PVC Tee

Step 2: Make the Splivel Plates

This is the hardest part of the project - the Splivel plates. (Wearing safety glasses and gloves!!!) Take the 1-3/8" flat plate and cut it into sections with the hacksaw. Each full section of strap plate will give you 15 Splivel plates (you need 18+). Cut the strap into pieces that have three holes each.

When finished cutting use a grinder or file to take off the sharp edges.

Step 3: Drill

Using the drill with the 1/4" bit, drill a hole in the end of the PVC end caps. (This is where the vise is really helpful!) If you do not have a vise, you can use vise grips to hold the cap. Try to center the bit as much as possible (not super important - just makes the end assembly easier).

This is where the bolt end is going to go.

Step 4: PVC Cutting - Skeleton

You can either use my drawing for the lengths of the PVC parts or you can customize the lengths to make your creature taller, shorter, weirder... I have included a pdf file of all the measurements and to give you an idea of how all of this goes together.

Once you have everything cut, it is time to assemble!

Step 5: Assembly - Splivels

Assemble each of the Splivels - I have attached a pdf file of how they go together to help.

Each Splivel consists of:
2 - PVC end Caps (drilled)
2 - 1/4-20 x 1-3/4" Carriage bolts
1 - 1/4-20 x 1" Hex Bolts
5 - 1/4-20 Hex Nuts
6 - 1/4-20 Star Washers
2 - pre-cut Splivel plates (see step 2)

Repeat assembly for each Splivel - there is a total of 9 in this project. When assembling the End caps and Carriage bolts, make sure that you allow the bolt head to protrude as much as you can. This allows the joints to move freely with the plates. Make sure to tighten the nuts as much as you can and then drip PVC glue into the inside of the PVC cap (keep it off the sidewalls - you just want to make it so the nut can't back off).

Step 6: Assembly - Splivels (part 2)

Once the carriage bolts have been assembled and the glue is dry (usually takes about 30 seconds to set), you can the finish the assembly of the Splivels.

Right now, you only need the hex bolt snug. When everything is assembled, you can lock these down (to keep the joint from moving) or you can keep them snug tight to allow reposing or "dangling" effect.

Step 7: Final Assembly

Once you have all nine of the Splivels assembled, you can start on the final assembly. Assemble the PVC arms, legs, hips, spine and neck and attach the Splivels to the joints. I would highly recommend that you test assemble without glue to make sure that everything looks the way you want before finalizing the Monster.

Once you are happy (I know I was!) - glue the parts together and tighten the hex bolts to stiffen the Monster Frame.

My last step was to attach a Bucky skull to the frame (I LOVE Bucky Skulls!). To create the attachment, I cut a PVC Tee and then I removed the Bucky skull top. The Tee gives you something to secure the skull to.

Also - Happily, Mr.AMF folds up very nicely for storage...

VIOLA! The SplatterFX - Articulated Monster Frame! Hope you like it! ENJOY!


Feel free to ask any questions!

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    3 years ago

    I made a Jack Skeleton and it worked fantastic, I rounded off corners of joint and got more mobility with clothes on, used blue Loctite on bolt to not have to keep tightening them. Cool design, thanks for the idea.


    5 years ago

    I suppose you really gotta crank the bolt in the center of the plate to keep the arm extended? Are the splivels strong enough to support extended limbs with clothing on them?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    wow great can i will try to make one soon i wonder if icould modifey for anmatronics display


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I can see some niches for those "splivels" you made! Nice work!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I am very pleased with your design and will try it this year. I am looking into this being in a Coffin using a small motor to move him up and down... Man I can't wait to get started.... Thank You for the cool looking and easy inexpensive way to make a posing skeleton!! You Rock!!!


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    When it is standing up, it is about 7' tall! I was going for the long and menacing look... Typically when I build one of these, I substitute Bucky parts for the exposed pieces. I have one that is part of a coffin prop that I did that uses a Bucky arm and Skull, the rest is PVC covered in clothing.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Is the frame strong enough to stand unaided?


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, I use a piece of rebar in the ground. One you tighten the bolts in the joints, they stay.