At one time I was involved in creating animatronic figures with two friends. We worked the entire month of October after regular work (We worked until 4 AM some mornings, got 1 hour sleep, and worked an 8 hour day. This was repeated almost every day) used parts and pieces from junkyards, dumps, etc and built an Elvis whose hips wiggled, his head turned, and he spun a guitar. He was dressed exactly like Elvis and Amy Phillips, the artist of the group, painted him up to look just like him too. Robert Morris, the mastermind and financier of the project, did all the electrical wiring. I was responsible for getting all the mechanics to work. Here are some of the figures and animals we created:
- A small motor moved his head left and right. His head was formed by layering Plaster of Paris over Robert’s head and then removed (the procedure is another story for later)
- A sewing machine motor was used to make his hips wiggle.
- An automotive electric door lock was used to make his right leg pivot left to right.
- A small motor made the guitar spin.
- She stirred a black cauldron.
- The cauldron was on top of sticks that looked like they were burning.
- Cats were made from crumpled up newspaper and located near her.
- The mouth on the vulture moved.
- The neck extended and retracted.
- The vulture was hidden behind a door that would open and the vulture would come out. this was accomplished using a modified garage door opener.
- A clay form was created for the head and a fiberglass skull crafted from it.
- The skull was covered with liquid latex purchased from a large special effects supplier in Hollywood.
- The mouth moved, the eyes rolled and smoke blew out its nose through small tubes.
- The dragon was hidden inside a large wooden egg I built and the egg would crack and open, revealing the dragon inside.
- The dragon’s tail wrapped around the egg and by using cables and springs, was able to wag. the tail was also covered in latex rubber.
I have saved the dragon head all these years!