PicAxe Projects > PicAxe Animatronics


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PicAxe 20M 8 Servo Controller V.2 - download the Diptrace files here! V.2 is finished.

NOTE: This is a project that is in progress... proceed to build at your own risk. I got the idea for this project from PyroElectro.com. He did an animatronics series. He has tons of other projects too. I am doing mine a bit differently. First, I am using a PicAxe 20M2 processor. I am also modifying the eye mechanics to only use two servos, not 4. He also uses a Pic processor to drive his project; however, the heart of this project is the PicAxe 20M/X2 8 Servo Controller. If you haven't built it, go back and do so now. It is the brain for the entire project.

Circuit used: The circuit is my fault and mine alone.

Parts List: PicAxe 20M 8 Servo Controller, 6 Micro/mini servos, assorted building materials. I am building the prototypes with cardboard. I will transfer it to wood when finished.

Construction Notes: As mentioned above, I am using cardboard for most of the prototyping. I happened to have a stock of brass wire to use but any kind of solid wire could be used..

Programming: Here is the basic code for moving the eyes left/right.

October 31, 2011 - As I stated in my blog, I am re-creating this page due to a bad upgrade. Thanks for your patience.

The eyes

Here is first pass at the eyes. I am using cardboar because it is quick and cheap.

Mechanics Looking Top Centered

Top view of the mechanics. I found a slot to be the best way to get the eyes working together.

Mechanics Looking Left

Looking Left.

Mechanics Looking Right

Looking Right.

Servo Controller

Here is the controller board.

Controller board hooked up

Everything is hooked up and ready to go.

3D Eyes from the Front

3D Eyes the black rings are slices from a 2" PVC pipe. Brass pins connect the two rings together.

Servo Controller

I attached two golf tees to the back of the eyes.

November 20, 2011 - I got back to it and started working on the up/down movement. I think am satisifed with the linkage from the black ring to the servo. I finally balances the up/down movement from center. I have linked the individual eyes together and trimmed the golf tees down. Here is the test code for up/down. Note that this servo is plugged into the Servo1 plug on my PicAxe 20M/X2 8 Servo Controller. For programming purposes, this servo is B.1. I still have to work out the placement of the left/right servo on the up/down mockup. This is the main reason for using cardboard and hot glue. It is quick and cheap. Just becareful of the hot glue. It will burn you if you aren't careful.

Controller Board using the Servo1 plugHere is the controller board. I am plugged into the Servo1 plug. For programming purposes, it is B.1.

Current assembly

Here is the current assembly. The eyes are linked together for left/right and up/down. The servo shown is only for up/down.

Close up of Linkage

Close up of linkage. I made a small eyelet and drilled a hole into the black PVC. It took a few iterations (notice the mess around it) before I got it right. I also had to bend and re-bend the control rod to get it to give me the maximum deflection up/down/

Close up of Linkage

Another close up view of the linkage. Here you can see the bends a bit better.

November 25, 2011: I got a bit more done. If you were following the front page blog, you would have read that I got the book on animatronics that I ordered. I had to re-think my left/right eye movement when it combines with the up/down. Here is the code that makes it go: Eyes_test.BAS

Take a look at the pictures below.

Front of EyesHere is the view from the front.

Back Side

Here is the current assembly from the back. The eyes are linked together for left/right and up/down.

Left Right Linkage

Close up of linkage. I put a couple of drops of hot melt glue as stops and a drop on the end of the servo horn to stabilize it.

Close up of Left/Right Linkage

A closer view of the linkage. Here you can see the bends a bit better.

February 20, 2012: Well, I got the eyebrows done. I also covered the cardboard with some white paper which helps make everything stand out a bit more. I still haven't recieved the new servos yet. So, this is as far as I can go until I get the new servos. I have some test code that you can download here. It just moves they eyebrows in sync. If you look closely, you will see that the servos are mounted opposite.

Front of EyesI had to cut around the riser part of the servo to make the gear shaft accessable from the front.

Back Side

Here are the eyebrows. I cut them from cardboard and used a marker to make them black.

Left Right Linkage

Here is the view from the back. The servo on the left does not have a long enough leader to make it down to the conroller board. I will need to solder in an extension.

Close up of Left/Right Linkage

I have soldered in a bit of ribbon wire and put some heat shrink on it. Just be careful to keep the wires straight or it will not work.

Front of EyesThe servos are fitted and I just used some hot melt glue to secure them and tack down the long servo wiring.

Back Side

Here is the back of the unit with everything connected.

Left Right Linkage

Angry eyes

Close up of Left/Right Linkage

Normal eyes

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