FabLab Academy 2012
Assignment: develop a plan for dissemination of the final project.
The original motivation, for this project, was to provide a range of
props for our local theatre group. Each year we stage a live variety
show, and next time I intend to produce an act which will involve
This Fab Academy course has shown me that there are a number of
potential directions that this project could follow in the future.
It remains a primary motivation to make the manufacture and assembly
processes possible in any FabLab, using standard inventory items and
processes. This could be an project for a novice to follow to introduce
them to all the processes in the Lab. It could also be a way of global
manufacture if demand required it.
Having researched around this project for similar work, it is clear
that there may be a wider demand beyond our theatre group.
Through Kickstarter similar projects have successfully raised backing
for small production runs and development work. One successfully funded
project was originally designed for the film industry, and has now
moved into education. In the UK there is nothing similar to
Kickstarter, but in the autumn of 2012 Kickstarter will arrive in the
Work on this project has drawn interest from other 'FabLabbers' working
on rother projects. There may be a connection to be made in the future
with Robotic projects.
On completion, it could be marketed as a Toy - Pelham puppets are now
collectable items -
Craft Kit - produced as a kit - parts/plans
Range of characters : eg. Muppets/Mr Men/
Similar mechanisms - different outer-shell/sizes/complexity/
Sensor Head - add sensors in eyes/ears/mouth/hands - possible addon for
The design of the mechanisms used can also be put to other uses:
Pan/Tilt Head -
Final Project Status:
What questions need to be resolved? What tasks need to be resolved?
Throughout the course I have experimented with various techniques to
determine the most appropriate way to manufacture specific parts for
the final version of the ventriloquist duumy. I have still have to
decide how to make the head unit and the internal parts. For control, I
tried both Servo and Stepper motors - the servos are lighter but
produce more noise - the stepper motors are much quieter in operation
but bigger and heavier.
What has worked , what hasn't?
I used '123DMake' to make a trial head. I designed a solid head using
'Rhino' then converted this to a series of slices with a void for the
internal workings. This was cut using the laser cutter, but when
assembled it was considered not to be robust enough. Trial eyes had
been made during the moulding and casting week. This method was very
time consuming and did produce good results - but if possible it would
be preferable to design a complete eye unit for 3D Printing.
What will happen, when?
Although the 123DMake head was rejected I decided to modify this method
and create my own sliced head.
I will design a solid head with voids for the eye and mouth units. The
whole head wil be constucted from 16mm slices then exported for Shopbot
manufacture - this will produce a more robust head and be more like the
traditional dummy head (normally carved from a solid wood block.)
The body and limbs will be made by cutting the shoulders and hips on
the Shopbot with wooden dowels as support. Heavy duty Muslin will wrap
the body and make up the arms and legs. These will be desiged in
Inkscape and cut out using the Laser cutter, and stitched with the