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a few animatronic ideas could anyone help? Answered

Hi all i want to build some small models and animate them.

What id like to do is make some really small butterflys sitting on flowers rocks etc but want to make them flap there wings is therte any way i can do this???

also I want to add some small motors to some small windmill and watermill models to make them slowly turn.

basicly Im a smurf collector who collects smurfs but also have a passion to create a whole smurfland in the loft rather than a train set lol. But I want to add some sort of anamatronics etc to make parts of it move and bring it all to life a bit more. So lights going on and off bugs flapping there wings etc mabe little boats moving around on the river? some of the characters moving some how?

Basicly is there anyone who has any idea on how I can do any of it?? If you can help or point me in the right direction id be very greatfull.

here are a couple of pics of a couple of my self made mini smurf houses that are only about 7 inches in hight. :-)

Kind regards
Steve ;-)


Hiya all I have now finaly make my motorized windmill and watermill o there out the way but Im still having no luck at all with making a very small flapping butterfly. :-(

I made a very small one and used some fine cotton toatatch the wings and then another bit of cotton going down though the body and little rock so it could be fixt to a small cogg on a mottor to pull it back and forth a bit to make the wings flap.

In princaple it works but wont know for sure untill I can conect it to a mottor to see what ity looks like.

The problem is the wings just flop down either side and hang low and they wont flap right up to the top. Grrr

I would like the wings to sit straight out and flap up to the top and back down but being so small i just cant work out how i should hinge them to the little body etc any one have any ideas?
ive added a pic of both mills and the moc up butterfly ive been tinkering with.

Kind regards
Steve ;-)

Windmill front a.JPGWaterMill a.JPGflaping butterfly a.JPG

Hi all ive still been trying to work this out without any luck grrrr.

The muscle wire idea im just not sure about as would only be tiny and maybe just to fiddily to work with.

The motor idea seems the way forward but after trying to work an idea of how a motor would turn and push the rod up and down as it would not go straight un and down but angle as its conected to the motor wheel so wouldnt have the corect movement.

Mabe im just so over thinking all this lol.

the little butterflys wiill only be about 1 1/2 inch across so only very small. I just cant work out how i would hinge the little wings i thought mabe just a thin bit of cotton or mabe very fine fishing line just sto hold the little wings to the body so they are free to flap up and down.

Thats were the problem starts how do i do what ever under it and what to put on the under wings down though the rock or flower etc to the motor to make them flap up and down

Oh why do i want to do this complicated little thing lol.

Anyways thankyou to all that have replied and hopfully somthing can be worked out to make this work :-)

Kind regards
Steve ;-)

Oh! Have a look at BEAM magbots!

Basically, have a (small) magnet in the wings, and a coil in the body or scenery - a pulse of current through the coil gives a fluttering twitch in the wings.

dont think I get that lol I would want the wings to flap from straight out almost up to closed if possable?

dont think ive herd of BEAM magbots befor.

Mind all this electrical motors, wires etc I dont seem to get lol Always makes me laugh I can draw Sculpt do wood work Knit sew pottery etc etc etc but electrical stuff spelling and writting Just NOT my thing at all unless its all set out in dumby format lol

Kind regards
Steve :-)

Yes they will all be stationary and was planing on running the wires etc under everything so it cannot be seen.

This was my origanla thought about small moters etc but havent a clue how i would fix it all together to make the wings flap. plus would need to control the speed some how as I dont want it flapping to fast just a few flaps every now and then etc.

any ideas or links to anything simple that could help do it?

I dont realy want to start sculpting the little butterflys etc till i know how im going to make them work etc.

They will only be very very small probly around 1 inch or so as this is quite a small model lol. ;-)

kind regards
Steve ;-)

I will attempt to make a rather crude paint drawing of what I mean....


wing flapping mechanism.bmp

I soooo wish i was good at electronic stuff not just model making lol

I sort of get what you have drawn ;-)

basicly two wings with a rod atached to them going down to the motor? so as the motor goes round making the rod go up and down thus making the wings flap?

Please say i get it lol.

the problem I think is going to be the speed as well I dont want it going banannas and trying to take off lol i was just thinking a few reasonable flaps here and there not to fast not to slow, if that makes scence lol.

The problem is going to be that there only really small so nt sure how i would hinge the wings to the body without it looking to silly too as the wings will be sculpted from very thin clay.

As as say its all ifs any mabes but it would just be soooo cool to have things i can make move at the touch of a little switch lol

Kind regards
Steve :-)

Yes you have basically got what I meant. And if you use some part of the wheel/gear other then the center to push/pull the line to the wings, it will work just like a locomotive works. Yeah, speed can be a problem if you can't figure out how to gear it down (or find a reduction gear box, some motors have them attached).


How about muscle wire? Put a current through it, and it shortens enough to gently flap wings or lift a waving arm.

OOOOOH whats that?? please tell me more sounds like it would do what i want lol? id love to make some of the little smurfies wave etc too?

Ive never herd of it or seen it? But it sure souounds interesting?

Kind regards
Steve ;-)

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape-memory_alloy

See: https://www.instructables.com/id/Introduction-27/

See: https://www.instructables.com/id/Screen-Saver-Defeater/

oooh cool i will have a read. Im just wondering how and if it would work ok on such tiny things lol and how i would wire it up etc to make them flap

Thankyou for taking the time to look for me and give me some links. ;-)

kind regards
Steve ;-)

That is just too cute... :)

For butterflies, how about making the body and wings separately (out of modeling clay) and attaching them with small springs? I've seen the concept on larger garden decorations, and with a light breeze, they manage to flap pretty well.

For a windmill, you could use a belt driven motor. You'd just have to control the speed so that it doesn't go too fast.

I also see an Instructable in the making. :-)

well it will be in the loft so no breeze lol . What I want to do it wire it all up on switches so I can turn them on and off etc so while im up there i can have them on a fluttering continueus etc. so thay keep flapping till i turn them off.

I can sculpts the parts seperate ok but I just cant see or work ot how and what to do under it all to make it work.

But yes your right about the belt mottor I thougt I would need a very small moter and add some sort of band inside the mill etc to make it turm but dont know what would be the best way to do it and to get it to turn slowly I dont want it taking off hehe.

im ok with making things and having good ideas but when it comes to electronic type of stuff Im stuffed I havent a clue at all. :-( Apart from mabe wireing up a bulb to make a light come on lol

Kind regards
Steve ;-)