Casey" is an animated prop that rocks forward and back. She holds her mother's decapitated head in her arms, and a bloody butcher knife in her hand.
To build Casey using my design you will need the following supplies:
Some scraps of plywood
1" wood screws
Screws for hinges
1" long Bolt, 2 washers, lock nut and 1/4" spacer
1/2" long bolt & lock nut
2 pc of 12" angle iron
10" piece of 2X4
1 piece of 1/2" PVC, about 6" long
2 pc of 1/2" PVC, 10"-12" long
Bubble wrap or other stuffing
Outfit for Casey ( I used a child's goth bride Halloween costume)
2- 3/8" X 16" pc of rebar
Motor: any motor with an RPM of about 5-6 1/2 should work. You do not need a lot of
torque for this prop. I used an old German motor I scavenged, so it is pointless to give you
the specs on it. Dayton makes great gear motors for props. Deer motors also work well.
NOTE: Please read through this entire tutorial before you begin buying or cutting anything. Your materials may need to vary from mine as you go along. I am not great at tutorials. So I hope this makes sense.
Building the body
First step is to build a base for Casey (see photo below). I actually used the dress I had available to determine the size of my base, as the dress has to fit over the base. I do not have my actual measurements any more. The hazards of cleaning your garage too soon after Halloween. Cut a plywood base approximately 30" X 12". Mine was cut to about 18" and I later determined it would have been better if it had been longer. Now cut a piece for the back approximately 10" X 12". Next cut the angled piece approximately 12" X 12".
I just used some 1X2s I had around to connect the plywood pieces. Cut 3 1X2 pieces to 12".
Using 1" wood screws assemble the base like the photo.
Use 3 screws across each piece going from the plywood side into the 1X2 as follows:
1. Attach the back piece to the bottom approximately 10-11" from the front.
2. Now attach the angled piece at approximately a 45 degree angle. When you attach the angled piece to the back be sure to leave a space of about 2-3"at the top. This is so you can attach the hinged piece in a few minutes.
Now you can cut the piece of plywood for Casey's upper body; 17" X 12". Again, be sure to measure your outfit and make sure your plywood body will fit. Adjust your measurements when necessary. Round the edges of the "shoulders" as you cut your plywood.
Attach this piece using your 2 hinges and 8 small wood screws. Make sure this piece is flush against the back of the base when you attach it.
Using bubble wrap, or whatever you have handy, form 2 legs. The "knees" should protrude slightly past the end of the base.
I used a piece of fabric and a staple gun to secure the legs in place.
Again, using bubble wrap, add padding to the upper body until it is nicely filled. Secure the bubble wrap with packing tape.
Okay, here is where I apparently forgot to take pictures. Sorry.
Using a latex based paint, paint your styrofoam head how ever you choose.
When it is dry, attach it to the top of the body using a short piece of 1/2" PVC and a couple of wood screws. If you want your head at an angle you can either add an elbow to the PVC, or just attach the head to the PVC at an angle. If you are using a styrofoam head for "Mother" paint it also. I used a hairdresser's head I got at a thrift store.
Build a support for your motor. Since your motor will be different than mine I cannot give you specs on it. Also, the manner in which you attach your motor arm may be different, depending on how your motor is built. So this is where this kind of becomes a see and do project.
I had you cut your base board longer than mine so you could mount it more securely. I drew lines in the photo to show about where your base should be.
1. Mount your motor support to a 10" piece of 2X4.
2. Using 2 pieces of angle iron attach your 2X4 to the base. Do not attach it the way I did in the photo. Put a piece of angle iron on each side of the 2X4 and screw them in to the 2X4. The 2X4 should be approximately 9"-11" from Casey's back.
3. Now attach the angle iron to the base using at least 3 screws on each side.
Cut a piece of flat 3/4" aluminum approximately 4 " long (mine is longer but I added extra, unused holes). This piece will determine how far forward and back your prop will travel. A 4" piece gives you an inch on each end to attach it, and 4" of travel. For each inch you increase it's length, your prop travel will increase by 2". Drill a hole in each end of this large enough for your bolts to fit through without binding. Attach this piece to the shaft of your motor. It needs to be attached tightly with no play. (see photos above for reference)
Cut another piece of aluminum long enough to go from Casey's back to the arm on your motor. Make sure Casey is in the fully upright position when you measure this piece. (see above photo for reference).
Drill a small hole large enough for a wood screw in one end of the extension arm (long piece). Drill another hole at the appropriate distance to line up with the hole in your motor arm. Bolt them together in this order: Lock nut/ext arm/washer/ spacer/washer/motor arm/bolt.
Make sure you do not tighten the nut completely. There should be enough play for the mechanism to turn freely, but not be sloppy. Again, with Casey in an upright position, measure and mark on her back where the extension arm will be attached. Attach the L bracket to the plywood horizontally at the marked position. Do not attach the ext arm to Casey yet.
Dress your character. The outfit should come down over the knees and under the base to completely hide it. Add stuffing to the arms and attach hands. I cheated. I only had one hand left when I made this. So I decided to give her a stump for her right hand. I added a wig to the styrofoam head to finish it off. Attach the mother's head in Casey's right arm. I used fishing line tied around mother's neck and Casey's hand, as you can see in the. To support the weight of the head I also tied a piece of fishing line to mother's hair in the back then wrapped it around Casey's neck. This worked pretty well, and couldn't be seen. The butcher knife is actually just laying in Casey's hand across her lap. It stayed without help. Attach yours if necessary.
Now it is time to install the tombstone. This is kind of tricky. I had to draw this because, again, I had no photo. Pretend the gray thingy is your tombstone. For best installation your tombstone should extend past the edges of the base by a few inches. First you will have to determine how high and how low your extension arm will travel during it's full rotation. Measure and cut a slot in the center of your tombstone extending from the highest point of travel to the lowest. You can always adjust this a little more after you get it all installed. You will need to cut slots in the bottom of your tombstone to accommodate the angle irons.
Turn your tombstone upside down and make 2 10" long holes into each side of the bottom in which to install the 10" long piece of PVC (light blue lines in photo). I find it is easier to take a metal rod, heat it with a torch and run it into the styrofoam slowly. Your PVC should fit snugly when you are done, and they should be flush at the bottom. Also, make sure they sit on the outside of the wooden base.
Setting up your prop
Decide where your prop will be located. Sit the base on the ground. Insert your 2 pieces of rebar into the ground at the appropriate locations so the PVC in the tombstone will slide down over them. This next part takes some maneuvering. Slide the extension arm through the back of the tombstone while sliding the tombstone onto the rebar. Attach the extension arm to Casey's back using a 1/2" bolt and lock nut. This should turn freely, do not over-tighten or your prop will bind. Plug it in and check to make sure the extension arm does not bind on the tombstone. If it does, simply enlarge the hole in the back.
I added a video about 4 posts down.