Built by Wolves for Wolves
WolfTronix was commissioned to build the animatronics and systems interfacing for a full scale TaunTaun (a critter from the StarWars universe that lived on the ice planet Hoth, see below.)
WolfTronix did not do the molding, casting, furring or airbrushing of parts, for more information on this part of the project contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org Dan is also the one that commissioned the project from me. And hey Dan Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do a project like this it was fun and a good learning experience.
TaunTaun Project Information
The TaunTaun took a little more then two years to build. The parts that WolfTronix did took over a year to design and build.
This project uses a total of 15 hobby servos and 2 custom made huge servos for the tail.
9 servos are in the head:
Left eye lid (open/close)
Right eye lid (open/close)
Left ear (forward/back)
Right ear (forward/back)
Nose valve (open/close)
Mouth valve (open/close)
6 servos are in the body:
Left shoulder (up/down)
Left arm (up/down)
Left wrist (up/down)
Right shoulder (up/down)
Right arm (up/down)
Right wrist (up/down)
2 servos are in the tail:
The TaunTaun has an onboard sound effects generator, that plays random recordings of sounds the critter makes in the movies. They are broken down into short sound effects (chatters) and long sound effects (grunts). The sounds are played through speakers located behind the mouth. The mouth opens and closes in sync to the played sound effect.
The TaunTaun also has an onboard fog generator. When the mouth is open the servo controlled valves switch the fogger over to the mouth. When the mouth is closed, the servo controlled valves switch over to the nose.
The TaunTaun has a small distributive computing network with 4 separate processing boards, like the one shown below, these control or allow control of all the different components of the system:
The head controller is located in the head. This controller handles the eyes, eyelids, ears and all random events associated with them.
The mouth controller is located in the head. This controller handles the sound effects generator, the fog machine, the mouth valve, the nose valve, the mouth and all random events associated with them.
The body controller is located in the body. This controller handles the arms, the tail, and all random events associated with them.
The master controller is located in the head. This controller talks to the three other control boards via high speed SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface). It also monitors the status of the other control boards and coordinates random events triggers between them.
This master controller handles all user inputs, (the controls are located in the reins), it also allows access and direct control of every servo in the TaunTaun via the Real Time Motion Control System, as well as sending back diagnostic information, link activity, and what buttons are being pressed.
Reins: by pulling the left rein, you turn the head of the TaunTaun left, and activate a micro switch, which causes the eyes to look to the left and causes the tail to swing out to the right. The opposite happens when you pull the rein to the right. Two quick pulls on the reins, (think "Giddy Up" on a horse) causes the master controller to switch into "Moving Mode" it then plays random events more suitable for moving. When you pull both rains back sharply and hold for a second, (think "Whoa" on a horse) this causes the master controller to switch into "standing mode" which causes it to play random events more suitable for standing.
The following are buttons located in the reins, they are really just to accent the random events, for example if you want the TaunTaun to wink at some one who is looking at it:
Blink left eye, pressing this blinks the left eye.
Blink right eye, pressing this blinks the right eye.
Flick left ear, pressing this flicks the left ear.
Flick right ear, pressing this flicks the right ear.
Open mouth, pressing this opens the mouth.
Play sound 1, pressing this plays a random short sound effect (chatters).
Play sound 2, pressing this plays a random long sound effect (grunts).
Fog, toggles the fog machine on or off.
Random, toggles the random events on or off.
The TaunTaun is powered by a 12 volt battery which runs all the servos, the fog machine, and the sound effects.
Finished pics: (I will add more as they come in...)
For more information and construction pics and videos of major system components click on the following:
Arms and tail