The Worlds First Paper (not-quite-animatronic) Animatronic Hand




Introduction: The Worlds First Paper (not-quite-animatronic) Animatronic Hand

First things first, this is my first Instructable, please excuse any mistakes or poor 'Instructi-ettiquette'. Also, I'm one of those horrible people who doesn't have his own camera so has to use the one on his mobile, so the pictures might not be as clear as they should be.
Also, I don't have any imaging software on my computer except MS Paint so that's what I used to mock up the net ideas.

Anyway, on with the Instructable.

I've always wanted to build my own moving extendable hand. I'm not much of a crafter but do like tinkering with things. I've never worked with plastic or metal and my chosen material for projects is usually paper/card/cardboard. It's not waterproof, It's not tough or robust and it tears easily with little to no stability. But hey, I like it, I've worked with it for years, so get off my back.

Although I made out of coloured craft paper, I don't see why it couldn't be drawn onto metal and be folded into place, if anyone could help me with this, please leave a comment, I'd love to know more:D

Like most people on here wanting their own animatronic hand, I first found Tanntraad's and found it to be excellent. Though I never actually made it myself, I always wanted to. I Googled more robotic hands and animatronic hands and collaborated them all into one idea that I came up with in a short space of time. I planned how the tension would be held in the knuckles (springs) and how I would operate each finger (pulleys)

 Tanntraad's Animatronic Hand

Although I didn't work with this one, I found it to be worth a mention at least as I really liked it.

Below are some of the pictures I worked from once I found them using the nearest thing I believe we have to a deity; Google. (Proof: )

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Step 1: Designing the Net, the Maths of It All and Assembly

Seeing as this is my first Instructable, this is now my third time writing this whole step before the computer erases it (even though I saved it every 6 seconds.) And for some reason I can't add notes to my pictures, it says Saving Note for way too long then never actually saves them once I've written them.

So, onwards. Again.

Once I designed the basic idea for how each finger would flex, I mocked up a quick prototype on MS Paint and printed it out and made it using paer and a cocktail stick for the axis. Rudimentary my dear Watson.

I then copied this design to make 15 seperate sections for the fingers (3 for each obviously) and printed them off, firstly, I did make a set of fingers that were all the same size but on the same plane and found it not to be too realistic, so I changed the lenths and off-set the knuckles to different heights. If I were to do it again, I think I'd keep all of the fingers the same length but keep the off seet knuckles. It just felt a bit better to work with fingers the same length, not that realistic I know it just seemed better to be honest.

I cut them off and laid them out so that the axes were overlapping and used a safety pin to poke a hole where the axes would go.

***KIDS, If you're going to be making this hand, make sure you get an adult to cut out the paper and use the safety pin, it can be dangerous to do it yourself.***

***ADULTS, if you're doing this for yourself or a child, make sure you're classified as a 'responsible' adult, I had o get my dad to do this bit for me, he still doesn't trust me with pointy objects (frowny face)***

To make the axies that the segments actually turn on, first poke the safety pin in to make an entry point then use a small section of modelling wire, (no more than 1.5-2cm) and fold it in half to make an L, with one leg of the L fold that again in half so that it doubles over entirely touching the middle of the L. Then, poke the long half in through both axis holes and repeat with the other leg of the L, once thats done and there's no chance of it falling out and collapsing mid-use, squeeze it together so it all looks a bit neater. But don't squeeze it too tight, leave a small space for the paper to still turn.
I know I haven't described it all that well here, but try to look in the pictures to see what I mean. It should be almost like an incredibly tight M (or W, I don't discriminate against Austrailians)

**One thing to note here is that I didn't fold the net together untill AFTER I had made each axis, it's incredibly tricky to do this with a box-shape. Doing it on a flat net is much easier**

The assembly of each segment is pretty straightforward. Tab B goes to space A and tab C goesonto to space D. These last two are only on the 'Nail'' segment of each finger.

The odd-looking box with axes are the main knuckles; the ones that join the fingers to the hand. They get stuck to the inside of the hand when completed. Making a net for thepalm with knuckles in it would be way too fiddly and complicated, maybe with metal or wood or something, but definitely not with paper.

The Hand is simple enough, just a box shape with the thumb edge missing, this is the purple bit in the picture. To make a fully opposable thumb, you'd need some sort of 3-way movement whichI couldn't see happening on the first hand, if you have ideas, please feel free to comment and let me know how you think it should be done.
To actually form the thumb to the hand, it should be pretty straightforward, Hopefully you can see how it fits together, one part actually needs to almost bend fully back on itsef to be able to be glued to the palm.

The numbers in the coloured picture refer to size compared to a 'basic' square, I changed parts of them to suit the lengths of my own hand but it didn't quite work out. Like I already said, I would keep them all the same next time, just change the off-setting of each knuckle to give the appearance of different lengths.

This net actually makes a left hand, I'm not left handed, I just cocked up the design of the thumb. It's the only bit that changes which hand it is, everything else can be inverted or turned upside down to make a right hand, but the base of the thumb is what makes it left or right.

Once you've assembled it all, YOU then need to make it animatronic (because I haven't yet).....

Step 2: Making It Animatronic

......But as you can see, mine isn't actually animatronic yet, I want to get everybody's opinion on it (and my first instructable (do I use too many brackets?))

I'm hopefully gpoing to get some sheet metal soon (cheap off of eBay =D) and cut it all out to attach wires and springs to make it more stable and work properly. I promise I'll update this as I do it, or create an entirely new instructable to show all the individual steps. If people who have more know-how about working with metal want to give me some advice as I'm a complete newbie with the stuff, I'd be more than gratefull.

Or if anybody wants to try and make this out of anything other than paper, please give it a go and let me know of the results. I'd love to see them.

If you do want to make this yourself, I'd be happy to e-mail you all of the files for you to print off if you don't want to draw them yourself.

To make it fully animatronic (as in operate it from my own hand extended from the base of this thing) I was thinking of somehow mounting the hand onto a rod or two and extending it down to my forearm whereby I will operate the fingers with my own on pulleys. The fingers will have to have some sort of spring on each segment to act as a ligament to make them fall into their natural 'standing up' restng position

Well that's it from me, Hope it all made sense, don't forget, I want comments on both the hand and my first instructable!

Much love and untill next time, it's bye from me.

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    6 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 1

    you just bought endoskeleton hand and covered it with paper but that looks awsome

    absolute zero

    The first instructable maybe...

    A friend and I had to design a hand similar to this, and ours worked :D


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome, have you got any pics? I'd love to see it?

    absolute zero
    absolute zero

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    unfortunately no, both my own and my partners designs were destroyed shortly after the project was completed :(


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Cool, sounds good, How come they were destroyed? And what did you make them for? A competition or something?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Welcome to Instructables! This is great, thanks for sharing it!

    Please only post photos of your Instructable -- I notice you have a lot of photos of items you may not have made or may not be licensed to share.