Zoltar Speaks - the Instructable




About: With 21 Featured Instructables, and Over 1 Million Views, I think I am doing pretty good here, with my wacky ideas!

Featured in the Instructables Newsletter December 17th 2009!

I waded through about 1000 photographs to try and give as much detail as I could.
I am sure this is way too long, as well as long-winded. There were components of Zoltar I was obsessed with and spent WAY too much time on getting the details JUST RIGHT.

Since this was my first time doing something this complex, I undoubtedly wasted alot of money on buying the wrong things, dealing with breakage, buying more, breaking more and then buying still more!

My total cost for this project was $5000, I figure about $1500 was 'waste' and FAIL WHALE

Since Zoltar would be mounted on my segway i2, it adding several factors to the equation
like balance, and wind resistance, pitch and yaw and driver (rider) safety.

I have logged over 10,000 miles on my segway, and even with all that experience using it
it was still a cautious ride with Zoltar fully assembled,

so if you are planning on doing this one and you die, don't blame me!

Here is a Video of Zoltar in Action:

Step 1: The Base

I had a custom base plate made at a welding shop. I choose to make it from steel because I knew it would have to hold about 100 pounds of "costume", I took cardboard and made a basic template
and had holes drilled where the platform already was tapped and I would mount it there.

I didn't want to dedicate the segway JUST to zoltar, so I designed it all to be able to be disassembled easily. Note also the Side Bars welded that would hold the struts.

Step 2: The Struts / Beams

Using standard construction materials (aluminum struts, drill and tap, wing nuts and 1/4 - 20 screws), I mounted the beams on to the base. I drilled and tapped everything because I did not know the
level of disassembly I would need as I went along. I built this in my house and was no way to move a box 30" x 30" and 7' tall fully assembled!

Step 3: The Cap and Start of the Measuring

I started to measure heights of me, and how much actual clearance I would need above me. I also added a cap for stability and support struts.

[Note: the first cross beam was the place where the table was to be]

Step 4: First Fit

My concept was to have panels interlock with each other, so I could transport it. I also decided that I would use pop rivets with which to assemble everything. They are small, strong and don't leave sharp edges. I must have used a thousand by the end of this project!

Step 5: The Roof

This is the roof build, I needed it to be both light and strong but to look like a heavy wood roof
so I used urethane paneling, and have a neighbor mitre / fit the thing together for me

Step 6: Inside Panels

I stated on the detail work as well as mounting the panels,  the molding was all standard stuff you can get at home depot, I used a gold gilding pen to do the intricate details.

Step 7: Back Lights

Started on the FUN stuff for me, all the electronics. This is really where my field of expertise is in.

Truthfully I was really winging all the booth building and construction,

Since Zoltar is self contained, all lights had to be 12v (or lower). The early tests were all with batteries / power packs, until I wired a central power source.

Step 8: Front Panel

This is the early front panel - I changed it like 5 times till I was happy with the layout
I wanted to be able to give out "fortunes" and developed a chute drop for the card
but it jammed more than it worked, and I ended up purchasing a electronic card dispenser.

Step 9: The Start of the Electronics

Having purchased all the electronics, I started to mount and wire all of them in, making sure I still left clearance for the 12V battery and the segway handlebar to move left and right (for steering).

I used sheet tin on the side panels to act as a support as well as provide a mounting area for the side bars and all the electronics. It also helped to support the table.

Step 10: It Gets Ugly - the Guts

Started pulling wires. It looks like a I had a rat helping me with the work in this photo!

At this point, I had wired in 8 UV Cold cathoid lights into the front side bars, UV LED arrays on top,
an LED Spot light on the top bar, power for the "crystal ball" and also had started wiring in the sound system, Voice changer module, and more!

Step 11: Starry, Starry Night

Ahhh! - finally some results worth showing off. I used UV reactive spray on the star pattern of the roof.Here are some pics of it. In testing, I found out the roof was too top heavy, so I gutted out the center of it just leaving the frame, and used foamcore to cover it.

Step 12: Jimmy Hendrix Experience

a little UV light makes this a thing of beauty

I just printed out the Zoltar cut it to shape and dipped it in UV reactive spray.

Step 13: Speaker Hell

You may want to skip this step because i go absolutely crazy and obsessive here ...
....... You still here reading?  Ok, I warned you!

I wanted Zoltar to have a big sound, and be heard in a crowd. But I also had the problem of where to place the speakers (they're heavy) and how to hide them.

This was one of the more daunting puzzles to solve, and the answer came while I was in Florida where the hotel I was staying at used carpet as baseboard. I thought ... carpet, remove the backing and have sound transparent but still have a solid color! -- and viola!

BUT no matter what I did, it still wasn't loud enough, and I still had space limitations. And brilliant (mad) idea #2 was born; I embedded Mid range speakers into PA (high range) cones added 1000w of amplifiers, and viola (squared!)!

Step 14: Almost Done (whew!)

Painted the roof, Had the front plexi sheet professionally lettered with UV reactive paint
Finished all the moldings and assorted pieces.

Step 15: Pimp My Zoltar

What good is a Fortune Teller booth without a Fortune Teller??
Here I am being "pimped" to be Zoltar!

Step 16: Putting It All Together....

Step 17: Stuff

Don't you love that generic term?

I can make about 7 more instructables with the details (and I will)
Here are some random photos that I thought I should include.

Step 18: OMG!! I'm a Comic!!!!!

Wow, what can I say... WOW!


You know you have MADE IT, when you make it into a tech web blog!!




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    19 Discussions


    8 months ago

    This is really cool! Excellent workmanship and attention to detail. Thanks for sharing.

    Kink Jarfold

    10 months ago on Step 18

    Long winded or not, it was one of the most interesting Instructables I've read. There is nothing more exciting than to see someone duplicate something like this with such accuracy. This is BIG, really BIG.....I wonder if the whippersnappers out there will get that?

    Kink Jarfold

    10 months ago on Step 11

    SINGING WITH YOU: Paint your palette blue and green....


    9 years ago on Introduction

    what a great job! Amazing! Takes guts to ride the rig!


    9 years ago on Introduction

     this is the size of the box i live in, just down the street. i'll try to add a window like your;s

    macgeekfungus amungus

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I am very touched, Thank you.
    I hope to continue providing this site with my out of the box
    (Ok fortune teller booth) ideas!



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderful, what next?


    (as you're publishing world-wide how about popping in a link to the other Zoltar-machines?)

    5 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    (as you're publishing world-wide how about popping in a link to the other Zoltar-machines?)
    Other zoltar machines? - the arcade ones??

    If you want to buy one!

    This is my website with more information

    And whats Next year!!! ???? (Evil laugh)
    you will see! (I am working on it already)

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yea, the arcade machines. This had some kind of familiarity to me, but I don't think I've ever seen a cabinet. I guess this is not a world-wide arcade machine, but I still recognised it as being one (even not having seen an original), and I guess that's down to the build-quality.



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Television was responsible for my knowledge of Zoltar.  Was on some American show...  I think it was 'Big' - featuring Tom Hanks

    Other than that, I have no idea!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I guess "Zoltar" was more an American thing.
    YES, Zoltar is based on the Movie "BIG" with Tom Hanks.
    I based My Zoltar, on the Popular Arcade Fortune Teller,


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Mega-super-duper overkill, and one of the coolest instructables on here!

    VERY VERY well done!