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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I decided at the last minute this year that I was going to take a crack at an animated Santa Claus. I started out with a slightly modified version of our Watchman prop and then I added the waving arm which is powered by one of our 6 RPM gear motor kits. I used a simple version of the arm movement from the Hitchhiking ghosts I built. People ask all the time about different parts we sell and what it can be used for. This was a perfect fit for that little gear motor and it handles it with no problems. I fabricated the bracket for the drive arm from 1/2" wide steel and there is a 1/4" steel rod running through the arm riding on a pair of brass bushings.

I bought the complete Santa Suit, gloves, glasses, and Santa Belly from buycostumes.com on sale. The boots are a pair of surplus army boots I had laying about which I added the fur rings from the costume's boot covers. We could not find a full Santa head so I ended up ordering a mask from China for now but it is late getting here. The hands are a pair of cheap Totally Ghoul zombie hands from Kmart covered by $4 Santa gloves!

I made a set of leg tubes out of carpet padding, now I just need to work on his belly and torso. I will post some more pictures soon.

I am hoping I can get the rest of the body wrapped up in the next 2 nights. We are going to put him in our front window next to our tree.


Fictional character Room Costume Santa claus Sportswear

Machine Tool accessory Machine tool Tool

 

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Thanks Dave. I was outvoted on making him a zombie Santa. Who knows, maybe he'll reappear next Halloween? :rolleyes:
I'm chuckling at this! Does that guy in Ohio still have his zombie nativity scene up?

I got hopeful when I saw Santa because I covet the animated hitchhiking ghosts you made. Did the lucky buyer of those frames ever post video on here of the finished ghosts? I fully plan on animating my caretaker with your kit this year! I always mention Spider Hill Prop Works when people ask me how I made my static pvc props. :D
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm chuckling at this! Does that guy in Ohio still have his zombie nativity scene up?

Last time I saw him on the news, he did. Well, I was getting desperate trying to find a Santa head or decent mask, so the zombie Santa was an option on the table! From the street, nobody likely would have noticed anyways. :)

I got hopeful when I saw Santa because I covet the animated hitchhiking ghosts you made. Did the lucky buyer of those frames ever post video on here of the finished ghosts? I fully plan on animating my caretaker with your kit this year! I always mention Spider Hill Prop Works when people ask me how I made my static pvc props. :D
I have not heard from her lately, but she is going to take her time to sculpt the body parts and I am certain they will be awesome when they are done. I will post back here as soon as I see anything from her. I used those props as inspiration, but what I did here was a simplified (and improved) setup overall. Not as powerful as a wiper motor, but gets the job done just fine.

Thank you! You did an awesome job with your static props this year and I am certain you will do equally as well building your caretaker! I always appreciate the support and it makes me happy to have helped you make that jump into building your own props!
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Ok, so the mask finally showed up from China today. Overall for what I paid for it, I am happy. I constructed Santa's head on a male wig head. I added some white "fur" fabric to cover the back side of his head. That turned out very well. I drilled small holes in the ear loops of his glasses and drove small trim nails into the head to keep them in place. He is technically missing his eyes, so that makes him a little creepy I guess? LOL I am going to order a set, but this works for now. It is very hard to tell from outside our house.

For his torso, I used some welded up 1/8" steel rod. It came out ok, but there are a few rough spots where you can see the rods. From the front he looks fine. I did use the Santa belly to make him a bit more portly. Outside of that I think he looks pretty good for throwing him together in a few days. One other minor detail is the motor in the waving arm. It is a 6 RPM gear motor. I think I might like it a little faster so I might order an 8 RPM motor and swap it out. Not a huge deal, but just a personal preference. Anyways, I am happy overall and I hope the kids in the neighborhood like him. :) He was a good platform to perfect the arm waving setup if nothing else.

 

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I'm liking this a lot! Next thing you know, my wife will want me to build one! As a professional Santa, I have an old suit lying around, so keep going on this!
HM
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm liking this a lot! Next thing you know, my wife will want me to build one! As a professional Santa, I have an old suit lying around, so keep going on this!
HM
Thanks HM! The waving arm setup works really well and should run a long time. If you decide you want to build one, I'd be happy to give any details and a parts list. It doesn't take anything crazy to pull it off. There are 2 small bits that need welded. :) I haven't found a way around that yet.
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Santa looks great! Love his movement.

Yea, maybe even a 10 to 12 RPM motor might be better for his waving.

He looks terrific, though.
Thanks Dave,

I already ordered some 8-10 and 10-12 motors to try. First time trying this movement so still a little learning curve. ;)
 

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I'm always looking for the next thing from you, Diabolik!
One suggestion about the Santa waist movement - if you can limit it just a tad when you increase the arm speed, I think you will have a more realistic look.
But what an awesome idea!
HM
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm always looking for the next thing from you, Diabolik!
One suggestion about the Santa waist movement - if you can limit it just a tad when you increase the arm speed, I think you will have a more realistic look.
But what an awesome idea!
HM
Thanks HM. To do over again, for a Santa, I'd do a static frame with the waving arm. The turning/waving combo would look better for something like a funhouse clown I think. On that note, I do plan on making an arm waving kit available. I have already started ordering the parts. There are still a few hurdles in getting this into a kit form. I have been running our Santa a good bit and so far he is running like a champ!
 

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Thanks HM. To do over again, for a Santa, I'd do a static frame with the waving arm. The turning/waving combo would look better for something like a funhouse clown I think. On that note, I do plan on making an arm waving kit available. I have already started ordering the parts. There are still a few hurdles in getting this into a kit form. I have been running our Santa a good bit and so far he is running like a champ!
An arm waving kit? WOO HOO!!! It's already in my plans to order the grave digger motion kit from you this year. Imma gonna have to give you my new credit card number and tell you to take all my money! :D
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have this setup pretty much worked out and already have most of the parts to build them. I even had jigs made so we can quickly center drill the PVC caps where the bearings are inserted. The only piece I have not laid out is the drive arm on the shoulder. The plan is to have those made. To make these consistent and easy to assemble, they need to be the same.

I will try to get back to this soon and wrap it up. We are in process of selling our home and buying another so things have been a little crazy. Good news is I will have almost 1300 sq ft of shop space for Spider Hill so a lot of things I just didn't have room for here will now be possible. :)


Ryan
 
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