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This is an animated Gravedigger prop I made. It's mostly recycled from old props and molds I had in the garage, but I animated it in the "leering ghost" kind of way (bent PVC attached to upper body and running on a slow window motor). I attached mine to the window roller motor with Home Depot stir sticks and bolts. Here's the finished prop:


Here is a video of the inner mechanism and how I built it:


Let me know what you think!
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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I love it! that mask/head is so expressive and different and it works really well as a creepy but not scary prop. :)

I do like the idea of him balancing the other hand on a shovel and having it pivot when he turns back and forth. Will look quite nice. Or another suggestion would be a small pile of dirt with the shovel sticking out and a hat hanging off the end, as if he was in the middle of digging and heard something and stopped, hung up his hat and picked up the lantern to see... either way, great prop for a graveyard!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Frankie! The original sculpture of that head was just a troll (it was one of the first things I sculpted as a display head) but with the bulging eyes and gaping mouth it transforms into more of a scared look! I love your "in the middle of digging..." idea! I think I will use it! I had bought a hat to put on him but it obscured his face too much, so I love the hang it up idea!
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Great job. I love the head you used and his stance.

I do have a suggestion for your mechanism. I would add a Tee fitting at the bottom of your upright pipe, another short section of pipe below that, and a PVC cap on the bottom. That will allow all of the downward force to be directed to the base and will eliminate the need for the zip tie. You can then replace the paint stick at the bottom of your pipe with a length of PVC inserted into the Tee. It will be more durable and easier to turn overall.

Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Diabolik! I was thinking of doing that...I just need a run to Home Depot to pick up the fittings! :) I was originally planning on running a 90 degree elbow for the linkage but your idea of the T fitting with a bump stop is even better!
 

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This is amazing !! I would love to hear more about the fabrication of the head and hands. Your work is incredible, thanks for sharing it
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Ken! That's very nice of you to say! The hands were done as a lifecast; dental alginate in a container (I used coffee cans) and then cast up in plaster. From there I did a 2 part mold of each hand and cast them up using slush latex (just a high viscosity liquid latex). I brushed in a couple of coats, let them dry and then closed the molds and poured in a low density polyfoam (it pours in as a liquid, then foams up and becomes spongy like carpet foam). I suppose I could have skipped a couple of steps if I would have just done the lifecast with silicone instead of alginate, but I didn't have any lifecasting silicone lying around.
The head was cast in the same way (latex/ polyfoam) but the head was sculpted using plastilene clay, molded in Gypsum (Ultracal/ dental stone / etc.) the two part mold was then separated and cleaned out. Then I cast the latex and polyfoam into that. Then trimmed, painted and I'm going to add hair.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Haunted Corner, I will try to explain the best that I can here. The eyes are made using casting polyurethane (Sil-cast), Silicone mold material (Econo-sil) and a clear resin (like Envirotex). For the silicone molds I took a smooth 1" round ball, sanded one side flat to a 1/2" diameter. I hot glued the ball with the flat side up, to the bottom of a dixie cup and filled that up with silicone. For the lens mold I had to find a 1/2" diameter ball that was super flat. So I took a marble, and since I can't cut that in half I cut a hole in the bottom of a dixie cup and glued the marble into that so that 1/2 of the marble protruded into the bottom of the cup. I then filled that cup with silicone. So now I have my 2 molds. I filled the larger mold with Sil-cast (a white polyurethane plastic) and the lens mold with a clear casting resin (Envirotex). Then I either find photo's of iris' online and photoshop out all of the bright spots and print them out or paint the pupil and iris onto a sheet of paper. I cut that out, glue it to the back side (flat side) of the lens casting, then sandwich it to the base and glue them together (superglue). Then I fill in the seam with aquarium (clear) silicone and coat the whole thing with clear nail polish.
The nice thing about this is that you can make any size eyeball that you want, any color, shape of pupil/ iris etc. Honestly, the most difficult part was finding the right sized balls to mold and getting the lens to cast up without any bubbles! Incidentally, this is really cost effective if you're going to make 10 or more eyes (they can be as cheap as 25 cents if you go up from there) but if you only will ever need a pair you may want to just buy them.
If I get enough interest I will try to put a video together next time I make some!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Crashbig! Funny thing; when I sculpted it Labyrinth had just come out and it was (partially) based on Hoggle!! :D
 
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