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BlakeGravitt

Pirates of the Carribbean Halloween

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I built abt 14 talking skulls using Lynxmotion SSC32 controller, Futaba servos for the jaw, and VisualServoAnimation from BrookshireSoftware for my pirates.. take a look at my youtube page, scroll down to Halloween 2009 Pirates Cannon Battle, Pirates Of The Black Tide and Pirates Life Fer Me videos..

teege

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EDIT: Let me start off by saying great work with your Halloween display TJ. I watched almost every video this morning, I kinda jumped the gun with my questions, but excellent work nontheless....

I have been looking at the Brookshire software for a few months now. I wanted to get through this Halloween and start a servo project for next year.

What do you think about it? Pretty user friendly? Is the Lynxmotion SSC32 controller able to handle a SD memory card or do you have a laptop connected to the controller?

The other issue I couldn't work through in my head was the wired connection between the actual servo and the controller.....How far away is your controller to the individual servos? Just hardwiring the distance?

Thanks in advance for a servo newbie......

Blake

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I LOVE working with Brookshire and Lynxmotion.. for several years I had worked out a group buy discount with Brookshire for a discounted price on VSA, and the Lynxmotion for their SSC32 for the folks on http://www.HalloweenForum.com .. I also got a business lic to buy in bulk servos (bought 4000+) from Futaba and a local hobby shop.. got abt $2 off each servo.. saved a LOT of $$.. resold at that cost too, forum member just paid flat rate shipping, as many were in areas that they couldnt ge the servos we were using.

As to using a SD card, no, (at least on any of the SSC32 cards I have..) it has to be plugged into a computer/laptop serial port.. I tried using a USB-Serial with little success.. some have said they got theirs working, but I never could, so I have several older desktop machines with serial ports I connect the controllers to.

Distance.. well, I ran abt 50' serial cable btwn the computer (house front bedroom) to the controller which sat on the ship's deck, and I used btwn 10'-25' Cat5 between the controller and the servos.. as the DC current requirement are fairly low, I used Cat5, the solid colors run power to each servo, the striped colors ran the commands from the controller to the servo. I used a wifi router wallwart (5vdc) to power the SSC32. It put out 2.5A so it would easily run the 9 jaw servos and they would sing intermitantly (low current demands) and I had a second controller (and another wallwart) running the 5 skellys in the treasure cave and the jail (garage). This year I've got a 20A, 5vdc bench supply to power all four servos in each head, giving me full three-axis motion and speech.

The very first skull I bought was a http://www.cowlacious.com/ bucky skull kit.. was $30 I think.. not bad, but I quickly saw that unless I was going to use high-torque (and high $$) servos, the bucky's weren't going to work as they are very heavy resin, and the servos just werent going to sling the heads around fast enough to look good. So we found Lindberg skulls (http://www.lindberg-models.com/71302_pirate_skull.htm for $8/ea (another group buy).. There are a LOT on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=lindberg+skull The Bucky's were $15/ea but better formed. Lindbergs are the human skull models you see in hobby stores, abt $12 retail. LOTS lighter, and can be glued on.. cut the plaxiglass plate to size, cut holes for the servos, mount the hardware, plug it in (Cat5), and start nodding :P Scary Terry (http://www.scary-terry.com/) has a really good primer page to making talking skulls. Cowalicious has a skull kit for $85, (http://www.cowlacious.com/st-400-skull-kit/) (jaw only), so that might be a cheaper way to go if he has them in stock..

Each skull cost me abt $110 to build (I've got 14).. thats Lindberg skull (hobby shop), 4 servos (also hs), 3-axis pivot hardware (http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-rod-ends/=eftjo9), plexi-plate (HomeDepot), cat5 cable. If you want to include moving eyes (yes you can do that too), it adds abt $75-$90 depending which micro servos you use.

Using VSA is totally different from using S2.. In VSA, you click in the grid to set the speed and amount of servo movement to rotate, nod or tilt the head, or open/close the jaw. Whats really nice abt VSA is you can import an audio file with just the spoken words and it approximately moves the jaw servo the correct amount, well pretty close.. so you make a recording of the song using just your voice, no music, singing along to the song your listening to with earphones. It sets the movement markers, Next, import the actual song you just sang to, and you've got your singing skelly!! You sing the parts of each of the other skulls (think 3-part/4-part harmony) and import to each jaw servo and you've got a skelly band, or singin' swabs..









Attached files 269429=14911-Awaitin

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Excellent, excellent information. I think this is what I needed to push me over the edge and jump into this. I cannot thank you enough for the information and links you provided.

It really does make a little more sense to me now. Also, nice catch on the serial ports instead of USB-serial, which is the route I was going to try. I am definitely going to start ordering some parts as soon as I get through this Halloween.

I may have more questions for you shortly, but thank you so much for providing this information.

Cheers

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TJ Hvasta wrote:


I used btwn 10'-25' Cat5 between the controller and the servos.. as the DC current requirement are fairly low, I used Cat5, the solid colors run power to each servo, the striped colors ran the commands from the controller to the servo.
TJ, Did you strip then wire the cat 5 to the servos, or did you put a cat 5 connector in the skull? Could you take a close up pic? Brilliant idea btw, computer tech here and I never thought of that!

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I stripped/soldered a long Cat5 pigtail (abt 20') for each skull, so the colors carried the command and the striped carried the power(5vdc), so each skull had a 20+ foot Cat5 cable that plugged into the controller (see pic above).

The SSC32 went into a breakout box, Cat5 socket faceplace, sockets (REEEEEALLY expensive, abt $5 each) so I lopped off the Cat5 plug, stripped the wires back and soldered the servo connectors to the end of the Cat5 cable, plugged them right into the controller. So really, if you can find heavy enough (Cat5-type-cable on a spool), go with that rather than Cat5 extensions, unless you've got a cheap supply of sockets. I used just the first 4 skulls with the sockets, I cut off the plug end of the cat5 for the other 10 skulls.

One trouble I did have was the breakpout box didnt really give enough room for the faceplate, sockets, wiring clearance aboove the board. If you pick a deeper box, you should be ok. I describe using the USB-Serial converter.. it did work, but was too unreliable, so I went with the DB-9 serial connector on the laptop.

If you go to my youtube page, down towards the last videos, I have the cabling for the skulls I did, made it a lot easier to just shoot video and see it rather than trying to type and explain it..

The color code I used begins at 1:20.. oops, just saw the video runs out before I finish which colors went where, but you get the idea. I used solid colors for the command line, and striped for power(ground).. I think in the last post I wrote, solid was the power, stiped ran the commands.. its reversed..



Attached files 269570=14919-MyControllerBox.jpg

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Th' Black Pearl sets sail again for booty-filled ships ta plunder..

This...



Attached files 269943=14936-2011-10-11_15-35-18_256.jpg

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.. like a cate'pilla' becomes.. 24' long.. 8' wide.. 3 masts, 16', 22' & 24' tall..

10 talkin'.. singin'.. insultin'.. skellys shall be me crew..
A weather eye I shall keep open fer storms (some wind) next few days, so masts shall go up after then..

Attached files 269944=14937-2011-10-12_16-33-40_301.jpg

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TJ,

That display is worth a trip to Mesa from Casa Grande. I have got to come up and see your Halloween display!

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TJ.....Excellent ship. You have inspired me to start on one myself!! I will post pictures along the way. Can I ask what you used for masts?

I just found 4 pcs of 8" diameter PVC pipe 20' long on the local Craigslist. Sounds like a good start to me!

Thanks

Blake

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Wow!! 8"?? I just doubled 3" Pvc with fence pipe for strength, (two 3" bolted together looks like an 8 looking at the end) and 3" pvc for each boom.. the doubled 3" let me make it 24' tall and rope ratlines secured it..

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Did you spray paint the PVC? I actually used Bamboo this year, will get some thick PVC for next year.

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Sprayed it brown, as in wood-tone. Biggest problem I have with the pvc is the bowing it did over the last couple years it spent in storage. And I'm not able to fit a steel fence pipe inside it, as it has several bolts thru the doubled 3" pipe. The masts go up tomorrow, I'll shjoot some pix of it.

I decided the length just wasnt right for the size of the ship, so I'm adding another 5' length to the mid-deck. That will also spread the masts along the deck length, so it'll look better.

This is the last year for Pirates too, the ship will go on CraigsList for sale.. havent decided on the price. decking, sideboards were all donated from a freind who was doing a renovation. I bought 2x6s for the framing. pvc for masts. Everything either bolts or screws together.

Next year.. Corpse Bride..

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5 more feet added to the mid-deck.. 29' long now.. I put the lower part of the masts up to re-drill the bolt holes for mounting. Monday, the upper parts of the three masts (another 12'/ea) will go on, with the rigging/ratlines to secure the masts.

Unfortunately, as you can see, the masts are kinda seriously bowed.. comes from leaving them propped up on the end of the booms for 2 yrs. I'll have rope secured at the midpoint and top of each mast so I can pull one section vertical, and balance out the bow with the upper lines.

This is the last year for Pirates, and the ship will go on sale on CraigsList after Halloween.. Denny, Brian, or anyone else in AZ, or CA/NV that wants a 29' pirate ship, let me know.. LOR users get first dibs on it.. Its all "modular" really, legs/frames/ sides all bolt together, deck planking is just dry-wall-screwed down. Bolts secure the masts. Rope/rigging goes with it..

Attached files 272687=15064-2011-10-19_10-26-36_967.jpg

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TJ....I did several sequences with my one Bucky skull (yes jealous, but wait till next year!) Does anyone have any skull sequences they would like to trade, utilizing LOR Servodog?

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ATJ Hvasta wrote:

Im using VSA for the skulls haven't tried servodog yet.. next year..


And here I thought you only had the singing faces.. I guess I should pay more attention to your display! Looks great! Guess I should actually video mine.. but it 's just faces and blinking lights.. and after seeing Kevin's, we are not worthy!!

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Bob-o.. if you look at my youtube page, you'll see how over th' top I went (and am going again!) :)

This is the last year for Pirates.. it's going on CraigsList after Halloween.. next year is Corpse Bride.. complete with Victor, Victoria, Emily and the BoneTones band..

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Well, the ship, mast and sails are up.. skelly crew (the electronics) goes on tomorrow, along with the fogger cannons and a bunch of other things to finish it up preparing for the Turn On tomorrow evening..

Had a terrific visit from John and his wife Caroline.. they didnt get to see the talkin' skellys yet, but maybe later in the week. Hoping Denny and Brian get a chance to come by too!


Attached files 274294=15162-best_side.jpg

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HEY TJ!
It was a very nice meetin' you and your wife tonight! We LOVED t' Black Pearl and cant wait t' see t' skeletons up and runnin'!! Your display be amazin', all your hard work definitely shows! You can count on us returnin' for another visit t' see everythin' in action!!:P:D

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