Intro: 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;
Step 1: Parts and Tools You Need
Plastic or wooden clothes hanger
The two latter can be replaced by other materials as you will find out later.
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
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
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!
Step 5: Mounting the Fingers -continued
Make use of those old CD-covers that clutters your desk and snap off a piece of plastic. Cut it to size and power up the glue gun.
Glue the fingers to the plastic strip (just below the knuckle joints). Make sure the right fingers are in the right place!
Step 6: Thumbs Up
Depending on the diameter of the tubing, you might want to tape the fingers before gluing the thumb in place. It might seem a bit tricky placing the thumb, but study your hand and you'll work it out. Use a big blob of glue and hold it steady until it cools.
Step 7: Wrist
Remove the tape from the wrist-end of the tubes and insert them in a foot or so of tubing.
To stiffen things up a bit, attack that old CD-cover again and snip out one or two pieces as per picture. Glue it all together leaving an inch for the wires. Some extra tape might also be in place here.
Step 8: Controlling the Beast
To get things in motion we need to make a bracket of some kind. A plastic clothes hanger is about to be hacked.
Make a square by taping and gluing the pieces together.
Secure it to the end of the tube by using even more glue and tape.
Tie loops for all fingers. The thumb is a bit tricky to control at first but with time you'll get the hang of it.
That's basically it! The next step is really not necessary but more depending on the usage.
Step 9: Bringing It to Life
To add a more human touch, I glued some cell foam to the tips of the fingers and palm. This helps if you plan to use a glove for further realism.
On the other hand*, if the aim is a skeleton look, this might be redundant and you'd be better off with some spray paint. This is where your creativity should take over:)
Here's a quick video I made of another hand. I used my stiff MC glove so the movement doesn't really show on that one.
This is a low quality video I made during testing. I will replace it with a better one later!
Thanks for viewing my Instructable. Now, go and scare someone:)