Animatronics are so much fun! When you learn how to make animatronics you learn so much about mechanics and about electrical things too. And the anticipation of scaring the beejeebers out of all the little gremlins at Halloween is almost too much to bear!
The fun, animated characters that wave, move, jump, and scare the heck out of you in haunted houses at Halloween are called animatronic props; sometimes called mechatronics. Many are easy to build and some are sophisticated and difficult to build. But don’t worry about the difficult ones at this point.
In this article we’ll offer some tips on how you can get started with simple projects.
Some day you may want to build those tough animatronics props you see in professional haunted housesones, but for now, start small. The first thing you might want to do is observe some animatronics in action. A great way to do this is to keep your eyes open whenever you go to the grocery store, hardware store, or craft store. Watch for any moving displays. If you stay alert, you will often see rotating signs advertising in-store specials. They’re usually cardboard signs attached to a motor that is powered by a couple of small batteries. Look inside of them. Go around back and see how they are assembled. A goldmine for checking out moving objects is any store that sets up holiday displays. Study those displays and you will learn a lot. You will see that most of them operate with very simple motors and levers.
You will be amazed at how easy and fun it is to make objects move with basic levers. So learn about simple levers. They are one of the most important ingredients in almost all animatronics and mechatronics.
Your local library and the internet are great resources. Read about animatronics there. Search for terms like animatronics, mechatronics, and robots.
And finally, go online or check out your local hobby store and purchase basic hobby kits that contain gears, motors, and other animatronics. Not only will you learn a lot, but you will have tremendous fun!