Greetings everyone & fellow life forms

Thread Starter

gamut3d

Joined Aug 28, 2017
2
Hi everyone

I am totally a newbie to pcb and programming stuff, but anything mechanical I can make, adapt, or know everything there is to know when buying hardware and parts, , but I have to admit that my knowledge on circuits etc is seriously lacking

However ignorance never stopped me from having a go, after all what is the worst that can happen, my house is insured, I am insured and if it goes bang, I can buy another one, (only joking)

I am at a hobby level being retired and in a project for animating full size models (is about the best description) being ambitious I want to be able to move arms, heads, swivel bodies etc, these need to either move independently or in a set sequence when triggered

I understand the mechanics and that has been achieved by myself custom building the linkages and mechanisms required, but I am unsure if I am going the right way in my choice of electrical and electronic components, at the moment I am using linear actuators to achieve the motions, these are wired to switches that can reverse each actuator, so stage 1 achieved ish, the wiring is what I would call old school, it works, but not ideal

I am looking at various ways to trigger movement, PIR motion sensors, light sensors, pressure sensors and by just being switched on by someone with a remote control, so would need some control PCB, relays or timers or something totally different

The habitat for the electrics / electronics could best be described as harsh to severe, all preferably 12 volt driven, they have to be very reliable in all weathers so need to be sealed etc

So would I be better keeping linear actuators, or swapping to servos, stepper motors or anything else

If there is anyone with knowledge in the Plymouth, Devon, UK that fancies helping me out, I can afford a little financial reward for assistance and expertise and they would have a chance to be in with what could be a lot of fun and future prosperity if I can get the project working as I hope it can

Have a great day :)
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,399
...I want to be able to move arms, heads, swivel bodies etc, these need to either move independently or in a set sequence when triggered
I don't usually say this out loud here, but this calls for a microprocessor. If you're not already familiar with using one, the learning curve is daunting but I think you'll get so much better results in the end, and control over those results, that it's worth it. An awful lot of hobbyists turn to the Arduino, and there are tons of resources online about it, so I'd probably recommend going that route. The purists will sniff and turn their noses up.

I am looking at various ways to trigger movement, PIR motion sensors, light sensors, pressure sensors and by just being switched on by someone with a remote control, so would need some control PCB, relays or timers or something totally different
Well all that's pretty easy and it just comes down to what you want to achieve. Motion sensors strike me as the best way to achieve a sort-of lifelike response.
 

philba

Joined Aug 17, 2017
960
Welcome! sounds like a fun hobby. Have you googled animatronics? "Animatronics diy" brought up a lot of interesting links. Probably have but thought worth throwing out there if you haven't. There is at least one animatronics forum out there - might be worth checking out.

Each of the actuators have pros and cons. And, the right one to use is very application specific - speed, type of motion, required force dependent.

For sensors, that's a huge topic. I would check out what's available at places like Sparkfun. Though that's a USA company, I don't know UK equivalent. Their sensor section has a lot of items and plenty of tutorials as well. Even if you never buy from them, it's a good educational resource. Robotics has a lot of overlap here so I'd look there as well.

edit: the microprocessor reply posted as I was writing mine but that's a very good point. Arduinos are really easy and cheap (the Nano is < $10, I bought 5 for $15 on ebay). Lots of DIY projects use them. And, I'm kind of purist but use them for lots of things. For a beginner, it's absolutely the way to go.
 
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MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
21,275
The habitat for the electrics / electronics could best be described as harsh to severe, all preferably 12 volt driven, they have to be very reliable in all weathers so need to be sealed etc
It's been a long time so I am not sure if UK has the similar electrical boxes as used in N.A. loosely termed here as JB boxes, but they are generally weatherproof and can be customized as to cable entry etc, they take various forms and shapes but are now made from ABS and make a nice weather proof enclosure for electronics etc.
See JPEG.

From 6000km west;)
Max.
 

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Thread Starter

gamut3d

Joined Aug 28, 2017
2
Thanks all for the welcome

I have been playing / experimenting with Arduino kit, seems quite simple even for a dumbo like me

I can almost see all the kit I "think" I would need with Arduino but is it man enough ? would it take enough harsh times or would it all apart ?
 
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