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Unread 10-16-2012, 10:55 PM   #1
Macavite
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Mechanical Arms

I'm not sure exactly what to call it, but I was wondering if there's resources out there on making arms that can move in a big suit, one where I can barely reach the arms from inside the suit.

I have a totoro outfit, but right now the only body part I can move are the ears. The arms are just slightly padded empty "bags" attached to the skin of the suit.

http://i.imgur.com/49rVg.jpg

I'd love to be able to wave, but I think that involves building out a skeleton, building a pulley system of some sort? then padding it out so it doesn't look like a stick inside an empty pillowcase. I've never done anything like that and I was wondering if anyone knows someone who has.

Thanks!
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Unread 10-17-2012, 01:36 PM   #2
Penlowe
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It's not as hard as you think, look up how-to's on the following:
marionettes
muppets
Indonesian Shadow Puppets

Also, grabby arm things (y'know, the AS SEEN ON TV! stuff for old people) are frequently sold at Walmart & hardware stores.

Big Bird is operated with one arm in an arm, the other up into his head. The other 'empty' arm moves through a wire & pulley system operated passively from the arm where a real person manipulates it (i.e. when he moves his arm out, the empty arm mirrors that movement).
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Unread 10-17-2012, 06:38 PM   #3
Macavite
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I was thinking about the wire and pulley system. I think putting the arms on sticks isn't really feasible unless someone else was working them behind me. I have thought about the grabby things, but really want to be able to wave at forks, and that involves an elbow . . . which brings me back to the pulley systems.

I think I can solve the challenge of how to support the weight of the system (the suit as it is now is basically a giant hoop skirt, so it doesn't support much extra weight on it's own). I just need to figure out how to make an arm that can bend at the elbow and is controllable from a couple feet away (inside the giant suit).
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Unread 10-17-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
Penlowe
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You will need something rigid inside the arms, if you wire to the fabric only you will just gather the arms up in a creepy manner instead of waving. Foam core would be great, light weight, easily cut to shape, easy to attach stuff to.

springs or rubber bands at your joints. You can rig the springs to give the arm a 'default' position.
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Unread 10-23-2012, 03:20 AM   #5
DarkCloudInc
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Do you need both arms to wave, or is one just fine?
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Unread 10-31-2012, 08:46 PM   #6
Dictamnus Albus
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dont know if itll still help or not, but you could build somthing into the hands and forearm
similar to those old skeleton or terminator hand toys from the 80s

it was one one those, pull your hand into your sleve and pretend your hand was messed up toys
you could waggle the fingers by pulling "triggers" in a glove

yous need something more robust, but depending how far your arms go into the arms of the costume it might be enough, just extending your reach
there might be an instructables for something like it...
just looked, there is one titled mechanical hand, its really complex looking
but perhaps it may help
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