Oct 6, 2015 | By Alec

As its already October, people have collectively begun preparing themselves, their wardrobes, and homes for Halloween. And as 3D printing has proved itself to be an excellent tool for completing cool cosplay outfits, it’s hardly surprising that the first 3D printed Halloween accessories are already appearing on the web. However, designer and software developer Mike Blakemore from Hyperplane Interactive has put an usual spin on this, by 3D printing and programming an impressive wireless human head that can move, smile, tilt its neck and move its eyes, and freak people out.

But remarkably, this head isn’t actually intended as a Halloween decoration (though it would be perfect at any front door). Mike, incidentally, is also a very impressive 3D modeler, and we only recently saw another fantastic creation by his hand: the 3D printed wind energy storage unit. But this human head is equally impressive for its programming, and was designed to become a future platform for the TCS. ‘Touch Control System (TCS) is a 3D development platform that gives you the ability to control just about anything. TCS gives you on-screen, customizable 2D and 3D controls so you can design and create your own personalized interface for controlling electronics,’ Hyperplane Interactive writes on its website.

However, the current creation is remarkably simple to build, and Mike has shared all the designs for it on his company’s website here. To build it, Mike used an impressive five servos: two for horizontal and vertical eye movement, one for the moth and two for the horizontal and vertical neck movement. Aside from those, it also incorporates an Arduino Pro Mini 3.3v, an Adafruit 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo Driver, a voltage sensor, a LiPo Battery, a WiFi module and two voltage regulators. He has used FTDI Breakout for programming the Arduino.

The entire face is obviously 3D printed, but fortunately all the design work has already been done. If you would like to recreate this robot head yourself, just head over to Thingiverse here and download Mike’s excellent designs. ‘We recommend 3D-printing all parts with 50% or more fill. For the enclosure, neck, and internal head pieces, we used UV reactive plastic (orange and blue) with a couple UV LEDs to make it glow,’ he says. Clear plastic 3D printer filament was used for the eyes and the outside features, to complete the cool glowing effect.

Assembly for most of the parts is fairly straightforward with the help of Mike’s tutorial and uses 4-40 screws or 1.75 plastic to assembly. ‘Some parts will require larger screws. Most parts will need to be sanded down to fit properly,’ Mike adds. Just a word of warning: calibrate and fix the servos before assembly, as it will be very difficult to do afterwards. ‘ Every servo is different and you’ll need to adjust the min and max values in the Arduino code for each servo. Using min/max values that exceed the servo’s range can damage the servo and the parts attached to it,’ Mike says. All the PWM Driver documentation is taken from Adafruit, and can all be found on Hyperplane Interactive’s website here.

Furthermore, two full-color RGB LEDS provide the lighting and are controlled through the PWM driver board as well.  ‘We used Anode RGB LEDs for the eyes. You can also use Cathode RGB LEDs and we’ll show you the difference between the two,’ Mike adds. ‘With an Anode RGB LED, attach the common pin to +5V. With a Cathode RGB LED, attach the common pin to Ground.’ Again, the Adafruit library is key in interfacing these, and the specific values are provided on the Hyperplane Interactive website.

The same can be said for the voltage sensor and the dual voltage regulators; if you’re used to working with these, you can probably manage yourself, but otherwise Mike’s tutorial provides all the help and code you need. The WiFi module can be a bit more challenging, and if you’ve never worked with one of those before check out this Quick Start Guide before you begin. The results, at least, are well worth it. Make two of these and place them at either side of your door at Halloween, and you’ll be giving kids nightmares for weeks.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications





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Bonzo wrote at 10/6/2015 9:32:53 PM:

I thought the vid was going to cut to a shot of the backyard and the wires leading in...

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