Neck Mechanism for Animatronic bird

Is there anyone who has built an animatronic bird here, how did you do the neck mechanism?. I have made one before but the movement was not natural and it only moved along one axis. I'll link it below, Thanks the response in advance

Best Answers

  • edited October 4 Answer ✓
    Hey Praise,

    It looks to me like you have a great grasp of where you want to go with the motion already - the video you show is a really good start.  For a simple answer, I'd move the point of motion at the base of the neck up closer to the point where the neck and body meet.  it looks kind of buried in the body right now.  Is the pivot for the neck mounted to the servo horn directly?  I'd put the neck on its own pivot and drive the neck up and down via a linkage - a short arm from the servo to the point of motion.  Then, link another point of motion like in the attached drawing.  Sorry, its a quick sketch - it's basically a two jointed finger joint to spread out the motion of the neck.  See if this works for you or generates other good ideas.  I'll look for another posting from you to see how you've done - good luck !!


    Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
  • Answer ✓
    Thank you so much sir, really appreciate the help


  • My God it's Richard Landon.Thanks for the explanation,it makes a lot more sense and has a very natural motion based on the cardboard prototype I put together. I know it's never a good idea to make an animatronic too complicated but what if you wanted a sideways/twist motion at the head
  • edited October 4
    Who, me?  Just someone with a few good ideas... ;^)

    If you are going for a twist, look at the quick drawing I've attached.  It's what I put at the top of the ferret's neck for the Budweiser frog series of commercials, and the Seplevites from Constantine.  It's a bit of a pain to turn the cable housings 90º this quickly to run down the neck, but it is possible.  This sort of pulley to pulley idea is the heart of so many mechanisms I think it's a good idea for anyone to get it into their brain as a basic technique.  Any motion inside a character can be remoted out through a pair of cables (then to a pulley controller), or to a servo in the body and then R/C to a transmitter.  I hope the drawing makes sense.  If you are looking for a head side to side motion, the same idea still applies, you just need to picture the pulley reoriented to the base of the skull with the point of rotation facing forward/rearward so the head "tips" to either side when driven.

    Beast of luck !!
    (I cannot tell you how cool it is that you did a cardboard mock up to do a quick test - that's the way to get anything correct quickly !!!)

    Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
  • It took a while but I get it now, without the right set of tools cutting cables and housing can be a heck of an experience, is it possible to feed a line through a tubing like Mr B.J Guyer does for most of his puppet mech?. And Thank you for taking the time to make drawings and write all this down. 
  • I would check to see if you have a hobby store(or look online) that sells control tubing (used to be called goldenrod) - a type of tubing used by airplane builders to transfer push rod motion to ailerons and flaps.  As for cable, pretty much no-one uses real steel cable anymore - but we still use the term.  Braided kevlar/spectra/etc. fishing line is the new normal. I like PowerPro Maxcuatro 100 lb - its amazing stuff.  If you really want to go nuts - you can make your own spring housing.  Get a spool of continuous .015" (-ish, depending on your application, this is a good medium starting weight) and spin it around a piece of .047" music wire in a drill (again, size depends on the application).  Bend the tip of the .015" (about 3/4"), put it in the chuck next to the .047" and carefully (slowly) spin the drill, feeding the .015" spool wire tightly onto the .047" core (up tp 3 feet - my suggestion is 24" max at first).  This takes practice - and please be careful and be sure to run the drill in reverse to release the spring load now held in the wire (you'll see it go slack, about 10 seconds) - you can put a nasty slice in your thumb (which should be in a glove, but that takes away from sensitivity). I often just put cloth bandaids on areas that get hot/pinched while making these housings. Maybe you can even find continuous spring lengths online (is McMaster/Carr a company you have access to?).  Keep at it - You'll find a way !!
  • Wow, this is amazing resource, I never knew you could make housings or buy a hundred pound line, I'll definitely check out McMaster Carr and see if they ship to me. Thank you so much Mr Richard, you're the best! 
  • My pleasure - gotta encourage the next generation  !!!  You're the future !
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