Sunday, April 14, 2013

Halloween in April

I've got exciting news!
A neighbor of mine wants me to build him a Halloween animatronic!!!!!
Crazy right?

Let me introduce my friend the Wolf Spider.

 When you think of freaky-scary spiders is this not the picture that comes to mind?
These things are great. Big, hairy, they don't build webs. They use those long legs to run really fast and jump on their prey to grab em. Now imagine one of these things with a two foot long body running along the ground and leaping up to grab you! Yep, nightmare machines.

The plan is to make a spider that leaps up from the ground and moves forward toward the trick or treaters while making a horrible sound and clacking its 'fangs' together.

The prop has to fit the space which is a bit tight (see below).

Scaled Haunt Map
That's about as big as I can make the spider and have it fit the parameters. The idea is to have it leap up to just above the level of the hand rail on the stairs while not intruding into the six inch safety buffer.

How am I going to do this?
With what's called a 4-bar lifter.
That would be the tower and the two diagonal lines in the below diagram.
 When in the resting position the spider will actually be 6" off the ground so it will look like it is standing on its legs.

Up Position
 Boo! c'mon that's gonna be a pants wetter right?

 Yes, I can not sketch artfully.....and the 1' should say 6".

Just about everything in this project I have built before for myself. There are two things that I don't instantly know how to do best.
1. My neighbor would like me to make the legs wiggle when its up in the air. We need to keep the spider itself as light as possible. I thinking of some kind of spring loaded leg assembly as shown horribly below.
2. How to best make the moving jaws effect which is also sketched out horribly below.
 I'd appreciate any helpful suggestions on these last two points.
This is going to be an interesting build as the spider needs to be as light as possible but also stiff enough that it doesn't flop around on the end of the nearly 4' long arm.

Some clever folks suggested some ideas on how to give the legs some movement.
I've distilled the ideas into the following two sketches.

Hope that makes sense to someone.
I'm going to try to build a prototype ASAP.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pipe Boxes

I built these a while ago but I thought I should post about them so that the pipe organ nuts will get off my case about how I was miss-treating the metal pipes ;)

Wow! Do I have a ton of pipes......

Building Boxes
Pipe organ pipes are kept in 'pipe organ pipe' (theres gotta be a better way to say that) boxes. I think I'll call them POP boxes. A nice PON (that's pipe organ nut) sent me plans on how to build them which I completely ignored and did my own thing....

The boxes consist of a half sheet of 1/2" plywood and some 1by6"s glued and screwed together to make an open top box.

Finished Box
A finished box! The first one of many....

Then it was sort the pipes fill a box build another box fill it and on and on. I honestly didn't realize how many pipes I had until I organized more than I can use for sure...

Now, exciting pictures of POP's in boxes! Woo!

Probably should of used 1by8"s so I could of fit bigger pipes in the boxes.
Can you read the sides of the boxes? I've got two sets of Melodia pipes, Dulc, Salc, Fl Har, ST Dia.
What I thought was interesting is that the wood pipes from the Hinners Tracker Organ all had some tiny metal pipes as part of their rank.

Of course after everything was stacked and layered I found a metal pipe for a set that was completely buried.

After I stacked and boxed all the 'little' sized pipes I was able to organize the 'big' pipes.
These pipes do not have any identifying marks that I could see. These are also the pipes that suffered the most from the leaking roof.

Leaning Tower of POPs
Most of these pipes are so darn huge that I have no idea how I could produce enough wind to make them 'speak'. I'd bet those big ones on the bottom would make house shaking bass.

Here's a cool thing about these unknown POPs.

They've all got these, uh, built-in valves.
With all the POPs sorted I was able to organize the façade pieces a bit.
I wish I was able to save more...did I mention how the monkeys that took this thing apart used crow bars instead of unscrewing ANYTHING? Freaking hate those guys...

Façade Pieces

These façade pieces pictures were supposed to be a single panorama shot but somehow I screwed that up....the camera is smarter than I am......

Next Up
A paying Halloween gig?!?!