Cable Jaw Mechanism

Hey there Stan Winston School! I was just wondering how to make a cable-controlled jaw mechanism. You think somebody could draw a diagram or something for me to work with?


  • Hi Joseph, 

    Can you describe the type of jaw movement you are looking for?  Depending on the design of the jaw, the space inside the head, and how you want the jaw to move, there are a number of different ways you can use a cable to open/close it.

  • Well, the jaw movement I'm interested in is something along the lines of the Chest-burster puppet in Alien.
  • There are a couple good webcourses that cover cable operated jaw movement similar to the chest burster.

    Richard Landon's lesson on animatronic cable operated tentacles shows one tentacle design with a mouth/jaw

    And David Monzingo's cable puppet lesson features a cable operated mouth:

    One of the most common designs I've seen involves having a hinged jaw that is held closed by a spring, elastic, etc. which opens when a cable is pulled.  That way you have a return that does not require pushing the cable or having a second cable for closing the mouth.

  • Richard's lessons gave me SO many pointers for  tails and tongues.

    Another excellent lesson is Rick Lazzarini's Organic Mechanics as he makes a Puma head with a cable operated jaw there too.
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