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Blinking eye mechanism on a wearable mask?  (Read 1035 times)
Ninox
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« on: July 30, 2019, 02:46:12 am »

Hello,

I've never done any serious work with puppetry, and I've taken on a project that's a bit on the ambitious side.

I'm working on a wearable bird mask with a moving jaw and cable-controlled blinking eyes. The jaw is working fine, but the eyelids are giving me a bit of trouble, mostly because 1), the eyes are positioned oblique to each other so they can't have a single wire passing through them (like this), and 2), since the mask is going to be worn, I have to be careful what I put inside it so nothing is poking the wearer in the face.

I've experimented with various orientations for the eyelids (which are made of two pieces of coat hanger) and the cable (a replacement bike brake cable), and I haven't been able to find one that lets the eyes open and close. Right now I've got two fine wires running up from the edges of the eyelids to the inside of the mask, and if I attach those to the cable (which sticks through the top of the mask), the eyes will open, but then the wires get hung up on the inside of the mask and don't return to their original position. I'm thinking of possibly trying something like threading some ballpoint pen springs onto the two fine wires I mentioned earlier in the hopes that this will make the lids spring back open when the trigger is released, but I thought I'd get a second opinion before I tackle this again.

Thanks in advance!
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2019, 05:54:55 am »

It is a little hard to envision what you are working with but I would say try the spring. Just make sure you can access it easily in case you need to replace it.

You say the cable is getting stuck. Normally a bicycle cable is a wire inside a casing. Is that wire outside the casing when it gets stuck? Is the wire pulled to close the eye and the pushes to open?
Ninox
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2019, 01:12:13 am »

It is a little hard to envision what you are working with but I would say try the spring. Just make sure you can access it easily in case you need to replace it.

You say the cable is getting stuck. Normally a bicycle cable is a wire inside a casing. Is that wire outside the casing when it gets stuck? Is the wire pulled to close the eye and the pushes to open?

It's not the bike cable that's getting hung up, but the two wires lifting the eyelids.

It looks like my spring idea was flawed, though: attaching it to the eyelid meant I had to push the wires attached to the eyelids down with enough force to extend the spring fully, and that just wasn't possible with my current setup.

Here's two photos of what the mask's eyes look like, with the various parts labeled (sorry for the poor photo quality, I can take better ones if need be). The eyes are currently covered by paper-mache casts of the clear plastic hemispheres that I'm eventually going to use to cover the eyes so I can do some experimenting without scratching up the finished eyes.
https://i.imgur.com/tNsShNq.png
https://i.imgur.com/Ls5ARVo.png
Ninox
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019, 02:57:25 am »

That looks like exactly what I'm aiming for, though I couldn't tell how the mechanisms worked just from watching the video. However, I was able to find links to your tutorials (your fursuit heads are very impressive, by the way), and they were somewhat clearer. I decided to try replicating the lever "mechanism" on this page by bending the ends of the eyelids' wires.

This is what the inside of the mask looks like now. After a bit of experimentation, I was actually able to get both eyes to blink by attaching the cable to the "levers" (so it looks like I don't have to get an extra cable after all), now I'm trying to figure out how to secure the cable to the levers. I'm thinking of bending the tips of the levers into hooks, looping the end of the cable through the hooks and using a ferrule to secure the loop.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2019, 06:56:57 am »

It looks like you are on the right track. You ended up doing what I was going to suggest. Smiley

Tioh uses Polycaprolactoneto to connect his cable to the mech. The common name of the product is Thermoplastic.  I've used plumbers putty in a similar fashion to connect wire junctions.
Tioh
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2019, 12:59:06 pm »

I bend the end of the cable and sculpt Polycaprolactone (Hand Moldable Plastic, Mold-Your-Own Grips, InstaMorph, Shapelock, Friendly Plastic, Polymorph or Plaast) around it.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0l4v2WDzy4/
Ninox
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2019, 11:29:23 pm »

It took a bit of tweaking, but I finally got the blinking mechanism to work! The only problem is that the eyes close by pulling on the cable rather than pushing it. Perhaps creating a loop with the control end of the cable that attaches to a finger on a glove so that bending that finger triggers the mechanism might work, but for now, I want to turn my attention to the rest of the mask now that I've gotten past this obstacle.

Thank you very much for your help, you two!
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