As I sit wandering and browsing the infinite universe of the internet looking for ideas for this years' haunt I found some easy to follow DIY instructions for animated skeletons. Being how I just adore The Nightmare Before Christmas I have decided to go with that theme and create some animatronic characters to sing and move in my Halloween / Christmas animated light show. My goal is to create several of the characters in life size scale along with a few of the movie props as well. This blog will be a documentation of this journey to reality.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Time Flies

I realize it's been a little while since I posted and a lot has been going on.  First all the servos and the pcb parts I ordered came in.  I also made a paper mache "Jack" head though I don't like how it's turning out.  I have another idea to try for the "Jack" head and will experiment with it this weekend.  The pcb assembly is actually a little challenging I have picked up on a few tricks that may make it easier for other first timers.  I bought a card for my computer to convert my mini DV video to digital and will be installing and testing that today which means we will have video footage soon.  The treasure chest is turning out very nice I hope to have the mechanical part functioning this weekend then it's just aesthetics.  All in all I have been very busy with not much time for anything else.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


You just gotta love Ebay at least for big dollar items.  I sold the dc servo motors that were traded to me that were for industrial use and immediately bought a Pickit 3 for programming PCBs.  I also bought about 20 rc servo motors today as well as some DMX servo controller PCBs.  My mouser and Digi Key orders should be here early this week.  I can't wait to start putting all this together.  Check the Treasure Chest again tomorrow as I have made progress and I also started on Jack's armature pics coming soon.  I am going to update the blog tonight and add a bunch of links.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ordered VSA

So, I sold a couple of DC motors on ebay that were traded to me.  I can't really use them because they require very expensive drivers as they are meant for industrial robotics.  Any who I was able to buy the VSA software today as well as all the goodies to make the audio servo driver.   Also, I went to the Depot today and bought a bunch of pvc to start making the armatures.  VSA said it takes up to 3 days to get the download data so in the mean time I will work on finishing the treasure chest and starting the Jack armature.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Treasure Chest

I took a break today from organizing and worked on the Treasure Chest.  I got this idea after finding some faceted lights out at the forklift place.  I am thinking I will install a Lynx Express inside the chest and hook 9 lights up individually to one each of the16 programmable dimming channels leaving 7 for something else I will go into at a later date (maybe a drunken pirate with a parrot).  I took some photos of the process to make a shelf for the "treasure" to sit on.  So in creating this it will give the illusion that the entire chest is filled with booty!     So here is the chest a nice rough old looking piece I picked up over a year ago for free.
 The latch has been bust off but I have the piece and as soon as I find my bolt cutter and cut the crappy lock off I will but it back on.
 In side as you can see on the right I installed a chain to hold the lid up when open.

 In the front and rear there were two horizontal wood pieces probably for a shelf at one point, I moved then further down to allow ample room.
 Next I took and cut and nailed some 1x4s to give more support

 Next I had a piece of paneling type wood and put that down.

 Because I want this to be able to sit outside in any weather I decided to also cove the top with a piece of plastic sheeting.
Actually I scrapped the sheeting idea.  Instead I used it as a template for size.
I took a piece of pvc and cut it at different angles and lengths to make a space for the lights to fit in. A couple were at severe angles and wouldn't stand on their own, I just taped them onto the plastic sheet.
Next, just start layering with spray foam.  I found out after doing this that the little straw makes it not as fluffy when it comes out.  For my second bottle the straw broke and I just put on a pair of gloves and did it like whipped cream.  It filled in alot better.

So this is where I am at.  Next, painting and decorating.

Oh Boy!

The new chip came today and of course I had to test her out.  This is flipping awesome!  I will start videos this weekend.

 On another note:  I am still sorting through the goodies from Eric lots and lots of goodies.

Tom came by today and dropped off all the pneumatics and electrical stuff I pulled from his place.  He has a large air compressor for me but it needs a new motor  5hp single phase about 3600 rpm, if anyone has one around. Oh and if anyone has shelving or bookcases I really need to organize the garage before my hubby gets to upset.

 Okay I am back to work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sold the Antique Radio

So I just sold the 1935 Bosch working radio on ebay for 150 plus 100 for shipping, off to go get a box and padding.  Shopping tonight!