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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted a moving skeleton tightrope walker for this year's circus themed display but couldn't figure out how to do it. So, instead, I'm going with a roof walker (although I might be able to make it look like it's on a tightrope). I've done enough to know that the mechanics can work, but now I need to work on appearance. I'd really like an active or passive way to make the legs look like they're moving--suggestions welcome. Side note: The skeleton will run at night and will be lit with blacklight.

 

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Really love this and can't wait to see how you complete it! I am not mechanically inclined tho, so no real good suggestions for the leg movement.

I made a static tightrope walker a while back for my tiny carnival setup (Skeletina, the bony beauty of the highwire) and while I did intend to use a frilly pink umbrella... any light breeze would have done major damage and we were experiencing storms so I switched to a balance bar (blue PVC plumber's pipe). I suggest you may want to consider that, or put some wind slits in your umbrella as your guy in the sky may end up taking a nice flight off your roof. But a tattered umbrella may actually work with a skeleton figure... :D


 

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You can run a wiper motor for the kicking movement. If your stand can support it you can add a 12volt car battery so the wires wont get in the way and hook directly to it. You can get a more realistic walk with a few pneumatic cylinders behind the kneecaps.

If you really want to be creative put limit switches on each end of the track and have it spin and reverse direction when it hits the contacts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Really love this and can't wait to see how you complete it! I am not mechanically inclined tho, so no real good suggestions for the leg movement.

I made a static tightrope walker a while back for my tiny carnival setup (Skeletina, the bony beauty of the highwire) and while I did intend to use a frilly pink umbrella... any light breeze would have done major damage and we were experiencing storms so I switched to a balance bar (blue PVC plumber's pipe). I suggest you may want to consider that, or put some wind slits in your umbrella as your guy in the sky may end up taking a nice flight off your roof. But a tattered umbrella may actually work with a skeleton figure... :D
Thanks, FG, for the advice regarding umbrella. Hah...just the name Skeletina makes me smile.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You can run a wiper motor for the kicking movement. If your stand can support it you can add a 12volt car battery so the wires wont get in the way and hook directly to it. You can get a more realistic walk with a few pneumatic cylinders behind the kneecaps.

If you really want to be creative put limit switches on each end of the track and have it spin and reverse direction when it hits the contacts.
Thanks, Industen. I have a couple deer motors I can play with for back-and-forth movement. Alas, the limit switches and pneumatic cylinders are beyond my ability.
 

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Man that's dedication, a prop like that is a LOT of work. Hope you get the leg motion figured out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Man that's dedication, a prop like that is a LOT of work. Hope you get the leg motion figured out.
I'm concerned that the more complicated it gets, the greater the chance something will break, snag or topple. At least there's plenty of time to work on it.
 

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I'm concerned that the more complicated it gets, the greater the chance something will break, snag or topple. At least there's plenty of time to work on it.
Oh without a doubt, more complex = more potential problems. If you can come up with a way to make the legs move, just keep that part totally seperate from everything else. That way if it malfunctions you will still have what you got now.
 

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That is way cool. I hope you can figure out how to get the legs to move, that would make it even more epic. But even still it is pretty bada$$ as is.
 

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Mount a rubber tire so it sticks through the bottom of the trolley and rides along the top of the track. You will have to suspend it from one side rather than have an axle that goes all the way through. Put a bolt close to the edge. Put a rod from the bolt from the bolt to a knee. As the wheel spins the rod will push the knee up and down.

This is real rough but should give you an idea to work with.

To reverse the direction the skelly is facing mount the whole thing on a lazy susan. Extend a rod from the lazy susan forward. Towards the end of the track put a stop so the rod hits the stop with the side of the rod, not the end. As the skelly continues past the stop the rod will spin the lazy susan, reversing the direction the skelly is facing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Mount a rubber tire so it sticks through the bottom of the trolley and rides along the top of the track. You will have to suspend it from one side rather than have an axle that goes all the way through. Put a bolt close to the edge. Put a rod from the bolt from the bolt to a knee. As the wheel spins the rod will push the knee up and down.

This is real rough but should give you an idea to work with.

To reverse the direction the skelly is facing mount the whole thing on a lazy susan. Extend a rod from the lazy susan forward. Towards the end of the track put a stop so the rod hits the stop with the side of the rod, not the end. As the skelly continues past the stop the rod will spin the lazy susan, reversing the direction the skelly is facing.
I'm looking for more of a back-and-forth motion with the legs, like someone shuffling along a tightrope, which I think I can do with motors. I'd also thought about the stick-spin setup, but whether that would work depends in part on how I wire the leg motors. Thanks for the suggestions...just picturing them will help guide to a solution--or several.
 

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I'm looking for more of a back-and-forth motion with the legs, like someone shuffling along a tightrope, which I think I can do with motors. I'd also thought about the stick-spin setup, but whether that would work depends in part on how I wire the leg motors. Thanks for the suggestions...just picturing them will help guide to a solution--or several.
Back and forth motion > move the wheel to the edge. Put a connecting rod on each foot, with a pivot in the middle. Connect one foot to the wheel. Up and down motion is now forward and back motion. Since the feet are connected to each other with a pivot in the middle (think teeter totter) when one goes forward the other goes back.
 
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