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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Next year I'm going with a medieval / LOTR / Hobbit / Excalibur / Clash of the Titans theme. I want to incorporate a lot of movement into my props with a path through them to make it a bit more interactive and interesting for the ToTs.

One of the props I'm considering is a version of a hydra using the small (8' long) worms shown attacking the prop TOT below:

Plant


This hydra won't have a body like a dragon, but more like a tube worm with these worm heads coming out of it. I plan to build a few chicken wire boulders that they're emerging from, and then another boulder that will have a skeleton or knight perched on top of it from which he's fighting the worm heads of the hydra. Maybe I'll shoot some of that metallic blue Krylon onto some mylar film, stretch it between the two sets of boulders and using a fan make it look like water between the hero and monster.

There, that's the scene I want to make.

Now to the issue. I've got some nicely positioned trees that would work great for suspending a flying crank ghost mechanism that would make a few of the hydra heads bob up and down as if they're attacking our overmatched hero.

Keep in mind that I'm using the small worms. They're constructed using .7 mil plastic sheeting via the technique that Stilt Beast uses to make his intestines in one of his You Tube tutorials. They're stuffed with newspaper. The heads are a few pieces of cardboard and heat gunned plastic sheeting too. For the finished prop, I want to add squid-like beaks to their open mouths.

The worms aren't heavy, but I expect that they're considerably heavier than most FCG's.

Where then can I find a motor that will have the torque to animate four or five of those worms? I don't know if a windshield wiper motor will have the pull to do it.
 

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Hmmmm...great idea! I think you may have to search online through Harbor Freight or a similar company to see what motors they offer that has 2x, 3x...etc the torque of a typical FCG motor.

Would love to see the finished product though!
 

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I'm not a fan of the FCG mechanism as it takes up way too much space and is way too complicated for the effect, which is why I developed the Flying Lever Ghost (FLG) mechanism for our uses. The main difference between FCG and FLG is the former uses one motor and pullies, and the later uses three Microwave oven turntable motors and levers. Since we use three motors, and aren't dealing with resistance issues from cables and pullies, we can lift a lot more weight. Plus the mechanism is great for outdoors use as you can zip tie it to a tree branch, adjust the lever lengths, and get it to do whatever you like and there's no visible support stand.

If a microwave turntable motor has enough torque to spin Aunt Martha's dreaded Sunday casserole, it can move just about anything. :)
 

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I have made several modifications to FCGs, including adding movements to the classic FCG, and using crank arms to drive internal movements. I don't think you will need a strong motor, it is more a matter of using weight so each movement is raising and lowering nearly the same weight. For example, my cloaked FCG has a wooden armature, extra linkage in the arms to move the hands, and an extra line to raise and lower the head. it is all driven with a single 'deer' motor. My blog has details. good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not a fan of the FCG mechanism as it takes up way too much space and is way too complicated for the effect, which is why I developed the Flying Lever Ghost (FLG) mechanism for our uses. The main difference between FCG and FLG is the former uses one motor and pullies, and the later uses three Microwave oven turntable motors and levers. Since we use three motors, and aren't dealing with resistance issues from cables and pullies, we can lift a lot more weight. Plus the mechanism is great for outdoors use as you can zip tie it to a tree branch, adjust the lever lengths, and get it to do whatever you like and there's no visible support stand.

If a microwave turntable motor has enough torque to spin Aunt Martha's dreaded Sunday casserole, it can move just about anything. :)
Oh heck yeah. I can see lots of possibilities with your version using levers. I can mount those motors on EMT zip tied to the tree branches to give it some real reach out beyond what would be inconceivable for a traditional FCG mechanism.

I have made several modifications to FCGs, including adding movements to the classic FCG, and using crank arms to drive internal movements. I don't think you will need a strong motor, it is more a matter of using weight so each movement is raising and lowering nearly the same weight. For example, my cloaked FCG has a wooden armature, extra linkage in the arms to move the hands, and an extra line to raise and lower the head. it is all driven with a single 'deer' motor. My blog has details. good luck!
I really like the hand movement with the double linkage armature you put together. I actually saw your explanation thread on it last week sometime. Quite ingenious.

I was looking at your flying shadow and had an epiphany. If I use Bruzilla's FLG set up mounted on say 3/4" square tubing and slide that tubing over some 1/2" pipe, I could get another motor to act as a slider so that the heads of my worms not only bob up and down, but slide forwards and back.

Here's a really ugly photoshop sketch. The red is the outer pipe connected to the FLG motor. The yellow circle would be the FLG motor itself connected to a hydra head.

Red circle is the second motor that is hooked up with two lever arms like we use to make the head motion on a cauldron creep. Its mounted on the smaller pipe but articulates the pipe with the FLG motor attached. As it rotates, it pulls/pushes the FLG mounted pipe to bring the hydra head closer for an attack against our hero, and then it retreats again.

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I think a three of these with bobbing and attacking hydra heads would look pretty darn cool. The big issue is finding the right mounting pipes/tubes that will slide but won't bend under the minimal weight causing them to bind. Luckily I've got a ton of metal working experience, welding/fitting, so I can probably make this happen.

Thanks to everyone who's commented so far, and for anyone else that will come along with additional ideas!

EDIT: I wonder if good old drawer sliders you can get at HD/Lowe's would work for this rather than one pipe sliding like a sleeve over another? Can't see why not?
 
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