In this first video, I talk about how audio-animatronics were invented by Walt Disney in 1963. I show a lot of audio-animatronics that can be seen in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I also talk about how my AnimaMaestro project came to be about 10 years ago, and show my first prototypes. Finally, I give an overview of the video series that will appear on the YouTube channel.
This video series will focus on the design and assembly of the animatronic itself. We will see my 3D modeling process, 3D printing of the parts, selection of the mechanical components including DC motors, servo motors, ball bearings, metal rods, plastic chains, and more. This is the series in which you will see actual testing of the animatronic.
The box also includes temperature sensors, 4 fans to cool down the interior of the box if needed, an emergency stop button as well as a master volume control knob.
The project currently includes 3 types of Units. The Pulse Width Modulation Units can each generate up to 16 PWM signals, and are used to drive DC motors, servo motors as well as RGB L.E.Ds. The AnimaMaestro NeoPixel Units can each control 4 NeoPixel strips for a total of nearly 250 NeoPixels at full brightness. Finally, the Amplifier units each include 4 stereo 3W amplifiers to provide sound and music to the AnimaMaestro figure.
The project includes a Primary and a Secondary Controller. Each Controller is powered by a standard ATX PC Power Supply. Communication with the units is provided through a Complex Programmable Logic Device or CPLD. Each Controller also includes a microcontroller that handles temperature monitoring and fan management.
The Conductor includes an LCD display module, a matrix keyboard, a beeper, and some L.E.Ds. It has an SD card capable of storing audio and animation data. It includes two high quality stereo DACs. It also features a Real Time Clock to allow scheduled animation playback. Finally, the Conductor also includes an RF module so it can be operated via a remote control.
The application connects to the AnimaMaestro Conductor via USB. This allows the user to configure the AnimaMaestro Units, playback audio and animation data in real time, as well as store animation sequences into the Conductor’s SD card. The application offers various controls to individually animate each of the figure’s actuators with keyframes and interpolation. The Composer application can also play video to help when creating animations.
This short series will look at the 3D modeling and 3D printing, design and assembly of the electronic board which includes a LIPO battery charger, as well as the firmware programming of the remote.
The first videos in this series will talk about a tool I made to test the custom servo motors that I use on my animatronic.
But the ultimate goal of this series is to include some short videos to explain various concepts and discuss various topics. Some examples include : how do servo motors work, what is a PID controller, what is a Stewart Platform, what is a CPLD, or maybe some basic electronic concepts, some software design guidelines, etc.