Alicja’s Animatronics Assignment 3b: Eyes

This week we had to create an eye mechanism for a puppet and I decided to make eyes that open and close. Here are my sketches:
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I got inspired by this design.

I started out by bending the wire and fixing the ping-pong balls onto it:

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The shape of the frame in the last photo has been modified, so that it can move within the foam openings, which were first marked on the back of the foam and then cut out:

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After that, I tried to see whether the eyes would fit:

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Once that was confirmed, I sewed black fabric eyelids on top of the metal eyelids, and then added wires entering the ping-pong ball at the bottom and coming out through its side, which I used to fix the eyes onto the foam:

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Here they are fixed, with pupils hot-glued in the front:

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Now the most important part came, which was attaching the motor to the eye mechanism, so that it moves automatically. I used this sketch, made by Professor Rudy, in the next few steps:

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First, I attached a long piece of wire to the hinge of the eye frame, then I used instamorph to connect the wire to the servo motor:

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Once that was finished, I needed to make sure that the motor did not move, so I used two plaques to fix it in place:

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Finally, I started hot-gluing little pieces of fabric onto the front:

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And here it is, the mechanism working:

As can be seen in the video, the method is not perfect, and the penguin does not quite close his eyes, but it’s not far from doing so and the action itself looks pretty nice I think. The project could be improved if the original eye construction worked better (since it wasn’t easily moving before I added the motor, it wasn’t going to do so after that either). Also, a nicer head shape and a better method to decorate it could help too.

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