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Insane Genius
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nope WAVs definitely stereo only, my mixer mixes WAV files to AVI, which I then advise you convert to WMA
 

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Open up and say "Aaaaahh"
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Actually, after doing a search, I did find that there are whats called "multi channel extensible WAV files" that some Surround sound software players use to play/encode surround sound. So All one needs is an encoder/editor. These do seem a bit pricey though, but I'll look around and see if there are cheaper alternatives.
 

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Insane Genius
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you need a multichannel WAV player, its highly doubtable that the WAV player in VSA is anything but the bog standard WAV player
 

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Open up and say "Aaaaahh"
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Bog standard..LOL! I figured as much.Out of curiosity, what player do you recommend for your surround editor you wrote?
I hear that Mp3 will soon have surround capabilities. Just not available yet. I don't suppose VSA plays AVI files.
 

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Insane Genius
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I use windows Media Players, they are fairly easy to shoehorn into my software applications, Ive not tried any other players, but anything that can play an AVI or WMA file should be OK

'Bog standard' is a fairly common British colloquialism, I try and keep the language simple for the foreigners, but every now and again I let slip with something that doesn't translate.

if you need a translation guide then

http://www.effingpot.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Sooo... out of curiosity- can I use LOR/D-Lights software to sync servos to the music? Will I still have speed control over the servos (as well as precise movements)? Any pros/cons to doing this?
 

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You can use Vixen (www.vixenlights.com) and it's free. Add a $35 Prop-1 controller (www.efx-tek.com) to it and you can control three servos and four digital outputs from you PC. It's a dirt-cheep way to see if you want spend the time syncing skull movements (pan, tilt, and jaw) to an audio track.

Vixen 2.0 is in development and will support external triggers and the ability to link sequences to specific sound devices (if you have multiple devices in your PC) -- this will be neat for home haunters.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Yeah, I don't know about this. I need a software that is ready to go and pretty dummy proof- not looking to program custom plugins to get it to work the way I need it to. Looks like it has some potential- but- I need a finished, completed and polished product with the bells/whistles. Looks like VSA is the best thing out there for now...
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Well- seems like VSA is the way to go on this little project. I'll also try the 425bb servos as well. Bob- I may be calling you soon! I'll post back with my progress...
 

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Hey guys-
I've been reading up on the 3 axis skulls in other threads, and am looking for some help making one myself. I've never done animatronics before, but- I'm not a complete moron to things either ;) I am going to order one of those 'Pirate Skulls' tonight- so that'll be done. I also want to use VSA as it seems pretty intuitive and I think I can manage using that...

What I don't know is what servos to buy, what kind of controller board I need- if any, etc etc. That's the part I'm clueless about- how the servos get hooked up to the computer to where the VSA software can control them. I think using a joystick would be good, too. I plan on doing multiple animatronics- so this will be a good starter project for me (yes, I know it's difficult, but I can manage, I think).

I like TD's setup- using the plastic mounting plate, etc. I plan on using tie end rods for the ball joint tho. I figure I can use a threaded rod through that, and hook the linkages to that main rod.

Ultimately- I'd like to have a mini camera hooked up in the eyes or nose with night vision- and a wireless mic rigged so I can interact with the TOTs somewhat. I doubt I'll ever hook up lights in the eyes, so I'm not going to install any eyeballs or lights there.

Can someone help me figure out what parts I need to order and hold my hand a little bit? Maybe this can serve as a good how-to thread...

Also- is it possible to use a 3 axis joystick (do they make those?) to program/control all the movements?

Thanks guys- I look forward to taking this on!
AZ Specter
 

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Hi folks,
If you are interested in how servo's work, I posted a series on youtube on robotics and animatronics - go to the second video - Introduction to robotics and animatronics part 2. I also posted 3 videos on how to create, drill and assemble your animatronic skull. I recently designed a new method to make the skull without putting the servo's in the skull. The video how to for this method is under Science with Eric and andy and the video is called - Eric gets a facelift part 3. I used gimbals for the nod and rotation. This method eliminates the numerous servo arms and potential for locking up that plagues the typical talking skull. You can also eliminate the mounting plate and any bracket will do to mount the jaw servo. This should be the only servo you will have to place inside the skull. This is the link if you are interested -
 

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If you want a good read filled with trial ens error and going through the process of developing a 3 axis skull from way back when, I recommend this thread that I started I believe in 2006: https://www.halloweenforum.com/threads/my-3-axis-skull-in-progress.62161/. This was my journey into starting from scratch and figuring out what works and what doesn't for 3 axis skulls when you're making them yourself. I love the camera idea, but I don't have any experience with that.

When I used a skull that interacted live with people I used cameras with night vision and microphones so I could see and hear the person I was interacting with but the cameras were not integrated in the skull. They were hidden in a wall behind the skull.

In any case, you will find lots of good into in that thread, which has remained somewhat active since 2006 on this forum. Good luck, and if you need help or hand holding through the process, I am happy to help with that. I've done it for many people over the years and it's always fun to see what others are creating. You can PM me if you want to talk.
 

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azspecter, there's a lot to talk about with regard to what servos to use, what controller cards to use, etc, and I'm glad to help you with that. I used to use the SSC-32 board (They have a USB version now) from Lynxmotion, but a few years ago, I switched to DMX control. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so what's best for you really depends on your application and other factors, like, do you want to leave room for expansion, how far away is your skull from the controller board, how much of a mess do you want your wiring to be, and how much you want to invest in this. It will be fun working out your own 3 axis skull. There are many different ways to achieve the motion you want, and each method also has it's advantages and disadvantages. What's best depends on how much of the mechanis can be hidden with whatever way you want to display the skull. Will it be mounted on a skeleton, or some other kind of body? I would be quite interested to know more about your project, and I can show you the various ways to accomplish what you want to do.
 

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Andy R,
Nice idea but that's a 2-axis skull, not 3. Your idea for adding another mech for the tilt creates more of a "lean" than a tilt. The nod and tilt axis points on a traditional 3-axis are located in the center of the skull which is much more true to life. Also, when correctly constructed, the servo linkage in a traditional 3-axis doesn't bind and shouldn't need any further adjustment. Not shooting down your method, just pointing out the difference vs. a traditional install. 🎃
 

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Thank you for the reply, but I believe I was very specific in the video that this was a 2 axis skull. I will be working on a 3 axis skull later. You are correct about the lean - in fact, after trials, I found that that the 3 axis method is really awkward, and requires a tremendous amount of torque. I am working on combining the tilt, rotate gimbal with a u joint, putting everything near the base of the skull. The intention here is to keep the interior of the skull as empty as possible so that I can add a brain. Since my purpose is more educational than haunt oriented, I am planning to include a brain in the skull and use controllers to make the skull speak and move in response to a student or researcher touching a particular area of the brain. ( I have assembled many skulls using the traditional plexiglass base method, and I think the monster guts 109.00 kit is a really great way to go because you still assemble it, but all of the parts are already gathered for you). Thank you for your feedback and if anyone else has any ideas on how to streamline this project, I would love to hear from you. This particular project is actually directed towards a research group looking for ways to treat concussions in military personnel. Also note that the biggest drawback to the gimbal is the slight jitter in the super torque servo. I believe an adjustment to the deadband will solve this,but I am waiting on the servo programmer to find out. Thanks again and I appreciate your comments.
 
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