How To: Creep Head

This page is “Part Two” of the Cauldron Creep build, explaining how to achieve the movement of the head.

The Supplies

  • Small Gear Motor
  • Soldering Iron and soldering supplies
  • Tap Set or Screw and Wrench
  • Insulated Wire
  • 2 – 5/8 inch PVC “spacers”
  • 2 – 1 1/2 inch screws
  • 1 – 5/16 inch by 1/2 inch bolt
  • 1 – 3/16 inch (#10) by 1 1/4 inch bolt
  • 1 – 3/16 inch (#10) by 1 1/2 inch bolt
  • 4 – 3/16 inch nuts
  • 1 – 5/16 inch washer
  • 1 – 1/4 inch spacer (or bunch of washers)
  • 1 – small bag of 3/16 inch washers

Head Movement

The movement of the head comes from a motor mounted inside of the Creep’s chest.  How exactly you attach your motor to the Creep’s neck is going to depend on what type of motor you have.  For our Creep, we have selected a 5 RPM Gear Motor, 12 VDC, from All Electronics.  This motor, which is used to move car a/c vents, is less powerful than the windshield wiper motors used in most props, but it’s perfect for the Creep’s small head movement.

WARNING:  These next few steps should only be done by someone who is familiar with wiring and/or electronics.  Please do not attempt this part of the build if you lack this experience.

If you don’t have any electronics experience and/or if you don’t have access to a soldering iron, check out DaveintheGrave‘s instructions on Halloween Forum, HERE.

Start off by using a screwdriver to pop the top off of the plastic motor case.  For our motor, there were five small “clips” that needed to be released around the edge.  Be careful and don’t bend the clips too far.  They are plastic, and they will break.

Once the top is off, locate the metal connectors that lead to the motor and pull them out of the case.  They should pop right out.  Next, you’ll need some wire to connect the motor to its power source.  We chose to use 24 gauge speaker wire from our local Radio Shack.

Before you jump in and start soldering the wire, slip heat shrink over each of the wires.  The metal clips sit very close together in the motor, and skipping this step may result in an electrical short.

Then, solder the wire to each of the clips.  Once everything cools, slide the heat shrink up and using a blow dryer or heat gun melt the heat shrink over the connection.  Then you can snap each of the clips back into the motor and close the motor case.

On the other ends of the wires, use the soldering iron to connect a 9-volt battery clip.  Don’t forget to slip the heat shrink on each of the wires before you solder.  Then, connect the battery to make sure everything works.  The motor movement will be very slow, which is exactly what you want.

To convert this motor to work for the prop, it is necessary to “tap” the spline gear (the part that moves) so it will accept a bolt.  We used a tap set for our motor, but this step can be done with a regular screw, a screwdriver, and a pair of pliers, as explained by DaveintheGrave on Halloween Forum, HERE.

Insert the tap into the spline gear and make sure it is in straight.  In our case we used a 5/16 inch tap so the motor could receive a 5/16 inch bolt.  Then, carefully turn the tap until it goes into the gear about 1/4 of an inch.  Remove the tap and you’re all set.

Next, comes mounting the motor on the Creep’s spine.  Measure down on the spine 6 5/8 inches from the shoulder and drill a hole.  This is the top attachment point.  Then, line the motor up on the spine, find the spot for the lower hole, and drill that.  Then, create two spacers by cutting two 5/8 inch pieces of PVC.  Using two 1 1/2 inch screws, hang the motor on the spine.  With the spacers in place, this should be a solid fit.

Now you need to connect the motor to the Creep’s neck using two short strips of aluminum.  Aluminum strips can be purchased at any home improvement store. Both strips of metal are about one inch wide.  The short strip is 5 1/2 inches long.  The long strip is 8 inches long.

Now, it’s time to drill holes in the metal.  The short strip needs a 5/16 inch hole 3/4 inch away from one end.  This is where it will be connected to the motor.  On the other side, drill a 3/16 inch hole 1 3/4 inch away from the end.  This is where the two pieces of metal will connect.  The long strip needs two 3/16 inch holes.  The first hole is 1 3/4 inches from one end and the other is 1/2 inch from the other end.  Also, while you have your drill out, remove the “Neck B” from the armature and drill one 3/16 inch hole 1 inch away from an end.  This is where you will connect the metal.

Do you want your Creep to look down at a cauldron or do you want him to stare at guests as they walk by?  Maybe you won’t know the answer until your Creep has found a spot in your haunt.  The measurements above are what we use for our Creep.  For your Creep, you may want to consider drilling a couple of extra holes in each end of the metal now so you can make adjustments later.

Attach the hardware as shown in the picture above and as described in the bullet points below.  Keep in mind that these parts are going to move, so don’t tighten them down all of the way.

  • Motor to Short Metal:  5/16 inch bolt, large washer, short metal, motor
  • Short Metal to Long Metal:  1 1/4 inch bolt, washer, long metal, spacer, short metal, washer, 2 nuts
  • Long Metal to Neck:  1 1/2 inch bolt bolt, washer, Neck B, long metal, washer, 2 nuts
Stick Neck B back into place and give the motor a test run.  If any part of the mechanism “sticks”, use some washers to create extra space.  A small amount of “rubbing” is fine as long as the pieces don’t bind up.  If your Creep doesn’t look up as high or down as low as you want, play around with the extra holes you drilled earlier.  A half inch one way or the other can create a big change in the head movement.

Cauldron Movement

References

Thanks must be given to both Kammo’s Lair and The Devil’s Workshop for their detailed instructions on how they built their Creeps.  And more thanks to All Electronics and Monster Guts for always having the parts we need!

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