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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all.....does anyone know if something like, "Animatronics for Dummies" or something similar exists? After reading tons and tons of threads on here, it is becoming apparent to me that every single one of you are either electronic engineers or born with a capacitor and resistors in your baby bottles! Servos, DMX controllers, brushless speed controllers, 16 channel titanium tip q-based thing-a-ma-hocker base relay, (ok, I made that last one up!), my head is spinning! If anyone has any suggestions where I can learn animatronics from step 1, please let me know! Thanks!
 

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Lord of the Cemetery
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Hi Nox.
Skeletalremains has written a great piece on basic pneumatics.
It starts with the very basics and goes on to controllers etc.. It is very well written and easy to follow for those who may be slightly technophobic. It's the nearest we have to an "Animatronics 101".
You can check it out here...
http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/77731-beginners-guide-props-pneumatics.html
Any problems, just holler. There are plenty of "Fear engineers" here ready to help you.
 

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Devilishly Dutch
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I would also suggest that you keep reading and following threads. Once you read it enough, it begins to make sense....believe it or not haha
Also ask questions. Everyone on here is great about answering questions and giving detailed info.
Halloweenbob is personally responsible for getting like 90% of the 3 axis skulls working for members who wanted to try making one. He had a thread that kind of took on a life of its own due to all the questions and answers. And he's just one of many who take the time to share and educate.

Meeps
 

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Hey all.....does anyone know if something like, "Animatronics for Dummies" or something similar exists? After reading tons and tons of threads on here, it is becoming apparent to me that every single one of you are either electronic engineers or born with a capacitor and resistors in your baby bottles!
Just thought I'd let you know that you're not alone, Nox. I personally know nothing about electronics, so I mainly stick to store-bought items; it would be cool to know how to do animatronics, but it really doesn't matter that much to me. I'm sure that, even though there's a good amount, not everyone here is mechanically-inclined, like you stated, so I wouldn't be too hard on yourself:cool:
 

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Joe Stone web page use to recommend this
Animatronics: A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays
Edwin Wise
Simulated Reality Systems, LLC - Main Page


Still need to buy it. In the meantime look over some of his files that are archived here
Index of /howto/prop-1/programs/wbn

A lot of us might be engineers, but like most jobs, you do not always use your education at work. It is like a foreign language, if you dont use it you lose it. I think the learning curve is pretty easy for us, but getting all the toys to play is not so easy. We have the same problems everyone else has convincing the wife that this project is worth doing, then never finishing.
 

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Hmm, that name has a ring to it... I wonder if anyone has ever approached John Wiley & Sons (The publisher who owns the "Dummie's" franchise) about writing this? Seems to me that there is enough talent on this forum to write this book. Maybe we could put together a list of topics that people would like to see in this book? I am going to start a thread in the How-To forum about this to see what interest there is.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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I'm another one that is mechanically challenged. The arty side I've got covered, but motors and electronics are still over my head. I tend to glaze over and start drooling whenever I try to read the threads about controllers and circuit boards... but I keep trying. :eek:

I've been very lucky that there are some fantastic folks on these boards that are more than willing to give you tips, help, and sometimes even offer to build stuff that sounds interesting (DaveintheGrave, I'm talking about you! :D ).

If the websites and tutorials don't seem to help, do ask questions - you'll get lots of help on here! :)
 

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if it makes you feel better, some of us that understand the robotics side, dont have a lick of the artsy stuff.

I cant even use my hand as a template and cut it out on a pumpkin
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, its good to know I'm not the ONLY one "glazing over and drooling", (thanks for that chuckle Frankies Girl)! "If you write it, they will build it", SkeletalRemains, and I will buy it...lol. At least I found a place that I don't have to feel like a freak to the outside world for picking up anything Halloween-related in January and have people give me strange looks or rolls of the eyes, (my wife!) Those strange "non-Halloween" people just don't realize its ONLY 146 days until the most wonderful day of the year!!! Thanks for all the advice and support! Peace!
 

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Dead and loving it.
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There is a book I found called Affordable Animatronics I use to get a better understanding of LEDs.

It talks about controller boards, servos, and pneumatics just to name a few things.

It might help. Check on Amazon or another book store company. The guys that wrote the book charge a little bit more on their site.

They also have a resource page/parts/hardware page at the end to help you find the parts you need.
 

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Last year we bought Radio Shack's Electronics Learning Lab (28-280). I don't even have a basic understanding of electronics and my husband has some but felt he could use a refresher. The lab is pretty nice actually and you work through projects and get to see how things physically work using circuit boards. You work with LEDs, capacitors, relays, resisters, etc. It's pretty newbie friendly. We started out saying we'd do a chapter at a time. Unfortunately this past year has been kind of crazy with a remodel so our education in circuits has kind of has fallen to the side. But I too want to learn more so I can build Disneyland in my yard and be the lady down the street that has the coolest Halloween house in the neighborhood having given birth to some creature like the Frankenstein monster! :D

If you want a basic hands-on working knowledge of electronics I'd recommend taking a trip to your local Radio Shack store and see what they have. They made a few different learning labs including one I think for mechanical motors and pulleys and such. Plus they have a lot of parts in inventory if you don't have a good source for them and a sales team that seems pretty knowledgeable.

I didn't see the lab we purchased on their website so either they don't carry it any more or you might have to ask in the store about it. Maybe it's been replaced with something else, another possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, I saw that Learning Lab at Radio Shack and almost bought it a few months back. Maybe I'll give that a 2nd thought....thanks!
 
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