Tail mechanics!

Here’s a shot of my first “4-way tentacle control”. I can’t say enough about the DVDs from the Stan Winston School of Character Arts! I’ve watched most of 3 DVDs, and learned so much, including how to machine parts for the tentacle control, and how to 3D print parts for the eye mechanics.  Here, I’ve combined the two by 3D printing the spacing discs (think “vertebrae”).

In the Stan Winston terminology, anything that looks like a tail that swings back and forth plus up and down is referred to as a tentacle control.  This is the basic mechanism for the chest burster in Alien!

The central core of this piece is a small section of speedometer cable, chosen for the flexibility characteristics: it won’t twist, but it will move left/right and up/down – the way we want our controls to move.

The 4 axis controls in this case are simply braided fishing line.  I’ve been able to verify movement by holding the base vertebra in one hand and pulling the strings with the other.  It’s cool to see the first piece actually work!

I’m working on a servo mount that will move the tail with radio control.  When that’s done, I’ll upload some action!

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