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Discussion Starter #1
Animatronics for Dummies?? What a great idea! Thanks Nox Arcana....

Nox Arcana started a thread in another forum on this site asking about Animatronics for Dummies. Thread below:

http://www.halloweenforum.com/general-halloween/77936-animatronics-dummies.html#post671848

Seems to me like we could put a book like this together ourselves. Between all the different How-To articles I see on this site, the talent on halloweenforum.com is incredible! Now I am not really expecting that we would publish this through the Dummies franchise, but what if we polled the members, see what everyone wants to see in a book, then use that to build a 'table of contents', narrow it down, and then we can outsource the different bits and pieces to members who are interested in sharing their knowledge? The end result could easily be a downloadable PDF file that any beginning haunter could use as a guide.

I know a lot about pneumatics and a lot of other things, but I really know nothing about mold/mask making, costuming, foam/facade building, etc...

I know there are plenty of people who DO know these things. I say we put together a real guide and make it available to the membership here on HalloweenForum.com.

Is there interest in this? Where do we start? Maybe we could begin by putting together a list of topics that people want to see?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks

Thanks Mr Chicken and Otaku, those are EXACTLY the kinds of projects I am thinking would be great in a beginner's guide PDF. We'll see if more interest can be drawn on this over the next week or so. Instead of rallying support from people who want it (if we build it, they will come!), we can just try to solicit support from people willing to write a piece of it. We would need intros for beginners, beginners projects, and how-to articles, very well presented, lots of pictures, and preferably in Microsoft Publisher or Word format. We will also credit each piece of content to the corresponding author here on HalloweenForum.com.

I'm sure Larry would be willing to host the resulting PDF somewhere on the forum where it can be easily downloaded by any member.

So, if you've got a great project, not too difficult (remember this is for beginners), and you are willing to contribute it to our little project here please respond and let us know what it is. If you know of a great project and want to nominate it, we can always get ahold of that person thru PM to see if they would be willing to lend their article to this 'members-only' project.

In addtion to projects, sections/chapters about setting up a prop-builders workshop and tools that are needed would be handy as well, the list really is endless...
 

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Maybe Otaku could write a little article on how to read one of those crazy circuit diagrams, you know tell us what all of the little squiggles and zig zags mean, for people like me who have no idea.:D
 

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Maybe Otaku could write a little article on how to read one of those crazy circuit diagrams, you know tell us what all of the little squiggles and zig zags mean, for people like me who have no idea.:D
There are a lot of online references for electronic component symbols; here's one that has many of the most common ones we would use:

Circuit Symbols of Electronic Components

Another great site for learning about circuits, simple and complex, is All About Circuits : Free Electric Circuits Textbooks. This is a reference site and forum, similar to this, where you can get info on circuit design, troubleshooting, and post questions to the members. They're a friendly and very knowledgeable group, and they don't "talk down" to the less experienced. I've seen several Halloween-related projects posted there.
 

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Thanks Otaku, from one of the uninformed and least experienced. :D
Those sites will come in handy, maybe I can build some of the circuit designs that I've downloaded if I learn how to read them.
 

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I would absolutely LOVE this! As a woman, I have no idea how to make an animated corpse and I'm dying (no pun intended) to learn!
 

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I think that would be a great idea! I myself am new to prop making so I have learned a lot from this forum. I am on here every day looking for new ideas. I now have two 3" thick binders full of projects, but really nothing that will move. I'm don't have any idea how to even start so to have some one really explain it would be really helpful and to have it in PDF would be awsome.
 

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This is a terrific idea.

I started out with grave poppers and worked my way up to a FCG, a coffin that has a moving lid, and a 3 axis skull (it's not that hard if you take a little time with it).

This year I'm making servo controlled singing pumpkins and I have one that is just about ready, but I need to get some small parts to prop it up before I try it out. That might be a good starter project for folks wanting to try their hand at servo props.

An Axworthy would be a good how-to as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
All right!

All great ideas folks! I was hoping that more people would respond to this thread and am so glad you have! Please continue to contribute your ideas for this guide! I think this is a great idea and the result would be the first-ever member-created guide to all kinds of Halloween Props (animatronic or not) that would be available for download in PDF format for any and all HalloweenForum members.

Please continue to submit your ideas and offer your tutorials to this guide and we will get going on it!
 

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Neat idea!

I'd be happy to contribute. I've got extensive knowledge as far as machining/welding/fabrication goes. I've got a lot of expierence with power transmission via mechanical , hydraulic and pneumatic means. I also have some expierence with electrical, but it seems like some of the other members trump me there! :) Oh, I do have extensive expierence with HV techonology, however. =

I'm just breaking into casting,molding, etc so no help there! I plan on stealing everyone else's knowledge for that.

Not sure what all your looking for, but if you give me a sort of outline, I could come up with a section on general construction practices - setting up shop, using tools, etc. I could include a short section on basic principles of physics, too.
 

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Along with Otaku, I could help out with some electronics modules and theory. I've been working as an EE for more than 7 years, wiring up props for 15.

I'm sure there's already lots of places to find general electrical/electronics info. Maybe, at least for a first draft, this should be on the specifics that basic haunters might need? Like how to wire up a motor, relay, solenoid valve, and how to size an LED drop resistor or power supply. Oh.... and how not to get shocked! (I'm still learning on this one)

Let me also throw OpenOffice out there as a possibility. I've found it pretty useful so far.

- Hook
 

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I have general Manufacturing and Design knowledge. I have a degree in Manufacturing Engineering and have worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer. I have a good knowledge of valves and pneumatics. I have built tombstones, Foggers, pop-ups and am working on a Coffin MIB controlled by DMX. I also have some ideas on how to add ambiance on the cheap. I am pretty good at wiring but I too still get shocked from time to time :)
 

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Sorry I don't really have anything to contribute to the writing of such guide, but I want to say that I would absolutely be interested in reading it. I do have some electronics knowledge but how to use it for Halloween I'm not too sure on. I would like to suggest too that maybe after the beginner's version of the guide is available, another one should be written to get into the really advanced stuff.

I hope this project really takes off as I know I sure could use it!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
All great ideas folks!

Keep them coming! I like everything I have heard so far! And it seems everyone else is liking it too. In another week or two, I will start putting together a sort of 'table of contents' on what we want to include! Basically it will consist of pretty much everything people have posted here. I saw someone had a ghostly/self-pedalling tricycle, that would be a perfect example of an awesome project to add if that person would be willing to share the project in such a publication.

Once I put together a Table of Contents, I will post it and we can begin tearing it apart and doing any rework/modifications/adds/drops to it that you guys want. Once we settle on the TOC, we can begin submitting the content and putting it together. I am not really sure how you guys want to do that, I would be happy to combine it into a PDF for everyone. I like the ideas on the basic physics that FastTrack mentioned, I have one in progress already maybe I can send to FastTrack and see if it is worth saving, or maybe just restarting the whole thing from FastTrack's point of view. Once we collect the content, and have a rough draft, we will redistribute the draft to all contributers so we can look over the whole thing. That will allow us to check everything over and over again and make sure we all have it right! We want this to be the best free guide on the Internet to haunters everywhere.

Anyway, let's keep this going! Don't submit anything now, just keep hold of it for now and when I post the TOC, look it over and we'll refine it until we're happy with it!

SR
 

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I am still thinking about what I can contribute but I do have an idea. Would it make sense to put it together internally and charge a dollar or two that would go towards the site costs for the forum? Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hmm...

Hey Skel J, that might not be a bad idea - maybe we can ask Larry about this and see what his thoughts are. In my opinion, I like the idea of having a member-created 'guidebook to haunting with animatronics' that is free on a site that solicits the free exchange of ideas.

I would lean toward keeping it free to HalloweenForum.com members only, which in theory would attract more members to the forum. Kind of like a "Created by HalloweenForum members - FOR HalloweenForum members", something like that...

Larry, what do you think? This is an interesting idea, but by charging even a miniscule amount, would we be discouraging a lot of members by doing this? I kind of think it would...
 
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