Animatronic Skull

by Djfx Jul 28, 2017
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Looks fantastic!

Is there a video (tutorial) of the assembly?

Sadly no... I included a fully assembled model for download, you should be able to figure it out from looking at that.

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How do I make the eyes blink? Thanks in advance

Theres a servo on each side for the eye blink function, they arent hooked up in some of my photos, you need to run two wires to each servo (top and bottom lid) theres a guide hole for the wires in front of each servo. Some of rhe makes have it working, check those out.

Thanks for the quick reply, I'll look how the makes managed to do it. Just a design question, why did you put the servos location and guides at different heights for each eye?

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Hi Djfx ,have you got any further with your design ,have you tried to make a skin

What software/servo controller are you using to animate?

for software, i use sunlite 2002, a lighting software, for dmx to servo i use this : http://www.meine.nl/joomla30/index.php/downloads/category/5-sturingen?download=9:dmx208-218-278-nl-pdf but i can't find it now, i buy that 8 years ago for add shutter on projector... this board can't find it now, it was on dmx4all

looks great!... I'm working on some "dummy servo" designs that will be cable controlled--which will allow you to isolate the servos in a sound dampening box.

Hi, I made a servo housing for using cable controls here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3175375

I've also made your head - I'm in the process now of making a silicone skin and adding servos for the face muscles (thus the bowden housing). I'll post back here with pictures in a month or two when it's finished.

Also thanks a lot for the model!

Bowden Cable Servo Control for Robotics
by zivvea

Hello, what extra fast servo can i use? Thanks

Any standard size rc servo will work, I just suggest choosing an extra fast one for the jaw... servo speed is usually listed in the specs. Slower servos work fine but dont look as good imo.

Thanks but do you have the reference for this servo?

Hello. I printed him(it) but have you a method of assembly?
Thank you for this beautiful work already
Friendships of Belgium

bonjour. je l'ai imprimé mais avez vous une methode de montage?
merci pour ce beau travail déjà
amitiés de Belgique

Where have you found the eyes?

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Hi There,
Is there any chance in separating some of the pieces. Ive just printed the Main Skull parts, and everything has printed well, except the largest part that has jumped so i cant use it.
Many Thanks

I suggest using meshmixer if you need to break some of the parts up. It's free and easy to use. Good luck

Many Thanks, all sorted. Just another quick question. What did you use to connect the Neck Ball Joint to the Neck Base. It looks like there should be a printed pin that goes throught the neck base into the ball, but cant find it in the files.
Kind Regards

A printed part wouldn't likely be strong enough to put up with the forces. I used a ball link like this on both ends of a metal rod:


You could probably improvise something else.

Sorry, i mean the main printed ball that the head moves on that is in your STL files under "Main". How is that fixed to the part listed under "Neck" files.
Many Thanks

Under "Neck" files, there's hollow part (looks like a nipple) that you should glue onto the top of the neck mechanism. In an older version this part rotated, but I abandoned that idea so now there's no reason why these parts are separate, just glue it on, or combine in software and print together.

Then use a 9mm metal rod or wood dowel (I used a bolt that I cut to size) to connect the nipple part to the ball that was printed in the file "main." Just glue the rod into both, with approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch gap. I built it this way in order to strengthen the neck.

Hello. You can upload software and instructions for servo?

See the description for servo controller and software suggestions.

just about to start working on getting the eyelids moving ,i cut the buldge off the eyes to put the printed lenes on and then clear resin over the iris on the eye

Great idea for the eyes. FYI to get the eyes to conform over the eyeball better, I suggest cutting some vertical slits in the plastuc eyelid then covering with cloth or rubber.

great job man, ihave made this but still finishing the servo control rods but it was a very good job n have loved the project so far.thanks for sharing this with us .

That looks even better than the one I made... great job. Let me know if you design any improvements. The eyelids were a trouble point, the buldging lens eyeballs would cause them to hang up. I ended up cutting vertical sits in them (to give them more flex)-- this will be covered by the rubber skin I'm putting over it.

would really like to hear more Dan ,what is the colour that you have used for the gums n teeth .Do you have any more photos mate.

Hey friend awesome job, one of the coolest designs i've seen!!!
is there any assembly guide for you're design?

I included the assembled model as a download for reference.

I made it! great job.. thank you

Great! Please let me know what improvements you recommend.

Any update on the build or hardware list?

I list the hardware I use in the summary, a few things else are needed (linkages for servos, wire extensions, etc.), but that's all pretty self evident.

This build is done mechanically, I don't plan on updating it any further, although I will post more videos as I incorporate it into some projects.

Got it. Thanks for your reply, and a big thanks for supplying this awesome project.

I'm in the process of printing and I saw your new stills of the completed model! Very cool! Do you have video?

I only have video of an older version. I'll upload a video link once I get this new version fully assembled--waiting on a servo order now. For the best look you'll want to use an extra fast servo to open and close the jaw, a standard/cheap servo is a little slow.

There's still a little slop in the neck mechanics that I'd like to be able to improve, hopefully posting this here will lead to improvements.

I'm using a SSC 32 servo controller and VSA animatronics software. I setup the 3d model in Autodesk Maya to be able to export animation scripts that VSA can read. This allows me to animate in Maya and play it back on the animatronic.

That is seriously cool! Great job! Would you consider releasing the Maya file so we can follow in your footsteps? I was going to go the Arduino/Scratch route to control the servos. I can't wait for the parts list so I can put this creep together!

I will release the maya file once I refactor it for this new version. I'm not a programmer so the calibration of the maya file to the animatronic isn't user friendly (you have to edit a bunch of expressions to redefine the output range), but it should be easy enough to document. Importing animation requires a licensed version of VSA, so I'm not sure many people would bother.

It would be awesome if someone came up with an Arduino solution that could playback animation files.

I know it's old but I found this


Cant wait for a compleated skull to be made, on my todo list for halloween

It's completed now, I just uploaded the skull cap. The design is intended to be used underneath a rubber mask, without an outer skin it will appear more cyborg like, as the skull isn't complete. Someone could probably model a more complete skull to fit around it, but since that's not what I needed I'll leave that to someone else.