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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK here is the promised tutorial on the cheap talking skull build. I'm trying to create a talking skull, that will react to any audio file you run through it, for less than $30...

The first step was to cut the skull in a way to get access to the inside in a way that viewers couldn't see the seam and it was easy to hide:
Helmet Headgear Personal protective equipment Rock Artifact

Next was to drill holes in the jaw and cranium to accept the wire that would hold it in place (I used picture hanging wire from the dollar store):

Now run the wire through the jaw and attach from the inside:

Next I wanted to attach the servo in a way that it could move freely and not be seen. In the final piece I will be adding a neck and some costuming so this will be completely obscured:

I hot glued the servo in place so that there was a clear shot to the jaw and it would not be blocked. Later I will paint the servo and linkage with flat black.

The next step was to connect the servo arm to the hole I drilled in the jaw with baling wire (stiff wire that is bent at a 90 and once everything is lined up, I will bend another 90 so it stays put and can still rotate).


Once everything is lined up I connected the servo to an RC remote and tested the servo/ jaw movement:


Finally, I mounted the skull with an old window suction cup camera mount I had (ball and socket swivel that I could lock off if I want to:


I cut off the extra and drilled and glued it to the base mount (3" of broomstick screwed to a board) and the skull respectively:

Boa constrictor Boa Wood

Finally I plugged the servo into the arduino and ran the sound clip through it:


Obviously I will have to paint and weather this skull! It will eventually be in a window in the front of the haunt (either in a gate column or a tollbooth).
Still to come (I'm waiting for the parts) I will be adding a PIR to detect movement, and an MP3 board to move the audio source onboard.
If I really get inspired I may add a three-axis head movement (that's why I mounted it on the ball and socket).
There may be a part 3!!

Thanks for following along! The whole system (minus the skull) cost well under $15 even if you had to buy all the bits I had lying around. If there is any interest I will list the sources for all of the electronic bits (mostly Ebay and Amazon).

· Registered
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Annamarykahn,
Here is the list:
The skull I used is a rotocast from a mold I made; the skull is Silcast resin.
The ball and socket joint I used for the neck was an old windsheild mout for a camera or GPS that I had lying around and modified it for this but there are 3-D print ones that you can get the code online for free and get them printed out.
The arduino control unit was $3.90 from ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-UNO-R3...var=441927089796&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

The VU meter chip is $0.76 from Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MCI...451.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.19944c4dahW8Cq

The servo is essentially $1.22 (10x $12.23) from Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-9G-S...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

I will be adding the PIR $0.93 from Ebay (when I get it). https://www.ebay.com/itm/HC-SR501-H...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

And an MP3 chip $0.99 from Ebay when I get that: https://www.ebay.com/itm/GPD2846A-T...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

The wire I used for the linkage is just stiff wire from any hardware store (the roll costs less than $1 usually); it is pretty stiff but can be easily bent with your fingers or pliers.
Lastly I just used hot glue to mount the servo to the skull and a saw to cut the skull open.
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