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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #1
Been working on this aff and on for a couple of months now and finally got around to ordering a wiper motor and finishing it last week. I've never built one of these or worked with wiper motors before so I made a couple of mistakes in construction that caused me to have to disassemble the prop completely and rebuild the internal workings before it would run smoothly. A couple of Haunters Hangout members and Halloween Forum members gave me some pointers on what to try to get it running more smoothly. My first mistake was a combo using a plastic base and putting padding around the motor. I underestimated the torque a wiper motor has and it was both flexing the plastic it was attached to a little and rocking in the mount because of the padding I used to keep the clamp from damaging the motor. The block of wood I mounted the skeleton to was also rocking on the plastic base, but the root cause of this was still the motor. The second issue was that in my efforts to keep the mechanism as hidden as possible I mounted the drive arm too low on the shovel. This was causing a bit of binding, erratic movement, and too much travel. The shovel would move forwards normally, come back to midway fine, then gain a little speed past that point, hit the skelly in the shoulder then hesitate a spit second before moving forwards again. You could hear the changes in strain it was putting on the motor as it cycled too. I took the whole drive and mount apart, added a wood plank under the motor and mounting rod, removed the cushioning I put under the motor and clamp and moved the drive arm attachment to the top edge of the shovel's blade. I did keep the plastic base underneath it all because I don't want the wood it come into contact with the damp ground and rot in a few seasons of use. After putting it all back together my movement is now MUCH better. We are still deciding on the final leg pose (foot on or off the shovel).

Video from before the rebuild...


And after...


And inside...


Once I finish up this guy I'll be thinking about making a one arm grave grabber and a dropping spider next.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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2,013 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Great job! I really like the movement, very gravedigger-esque, not row row row your boat.
Thanks, I did a lot of small adjustment to the spine, head, and arms to try and get a more natural pose instead of the stiff upright pose the skelly was originally in.
 

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BAD INFLUENCE
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11,448 Posts
I kind of liked the original action myself. It made it look like the ground was hard to dig and the skeleton had to use some effort..............But still a nice job!!
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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2,013 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I kind of liked the original action myself. It made it look like the ground was hard to dig and the skeleton had to use some effort..............But still a nice job!!
It was just too shakey. The video really does not do justice to how shakey it was. Put a lot of strain on the motor too as you can tell by the reduction in noise between the two videos.
 

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Very nicely done.
Personally I like the foot on the shovel look.
One small suggestion, try pulling the right foot on the shovel to see if it looks more natural since you have the right hand as the lower hand on the shovel handle.
I went round and round on this setup on my static gravedigger prop and that set-up ended up looking the best to me.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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2,013 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Very nicely done.
Personally I like the foot on the shovel look.
One small suggestion, try pulling the right foot on the shovel to see if it looks more natural since you have the right hand as the lower hand on the shovel handle.
I went round and round on this setup on my static gravedigger prop and that set-up ended up looking the best to me.
We are still playing with it. We've had left foot on, right foot on, both feet on lol. Right now we have left foot on and right foot set beck and off the skull and a but lower on the dirt mound so the leg is straighter and it looks pretty good.
 

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Great work. I love the aged look of the skeleton as well. What process did you use? I also love the pose. Did you accomplish all that with a heat gun?
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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2,013 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Great work. I love the aged look of the skeleton as well. What process did you use? I also love the pose. Did you accomplish all that with a heat gun?
I aged it with wood stain dabbed on with a chip brush, then gently dabbed off the areas I wanted lighter with a cloth. I posed it by removing the locking joints in the shoulders and hips to make the arms and legs "floppy" so they could be set where I wanted. The fingers were wired, scored with a hot knife, then bent and glued into a grasping position. The skeleton I used was very cheaply made and had screws connecting the torso to the spine so I was able to just reposition the upper body by loosening the screws, then putting them back in where I wanted. There are pics of much of the process on my Facebook page.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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7,445 Posts
How did you loosen up the joints in the shoulders and elbows? I've got a pose-n-stay skelly I'm starting to try to transform into one of these gravediggers.
Also did you have to change the position of any of the arm sections with a heat gun or anything like that?

Thanks for any help!
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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2,013 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
How did you loosen up the joints in the shoulders and elbows? I've got a pose-n-stay skelly I'm starting to try to transform into one of these gravediggers.
Also did you have to change the position of any of the arm sections with a heat gun or anything like that?

Thanks for any help!
I took the shoulder bolts out, removed the spring, then filed down all of the teeth in the locking mechanism. Put it back together as it was, minus the spring, and replaced the nut that came with it to a nylock nut so I could adjust the looseness, but still keep it secure. Same for the elbows. No heat gun needed. I also wanted to turn one of the legs slightly so I also detached one of the legs at the hip the same way, but left the knee and ankle intact. I tossed the bolt and everything in that hip and just reattached it with a long wood screw. Nothing complicated.
 
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