Animated Grave Digger




Old Timer Latex Head with Acrylic eyes – Ghost Ride Productions

Male Foam Body Form – Ghost Ride Productions

Male Left and Right Latex Hands – Ghost ride Productions

Shovel, Overalls, t-shirt, flannel shirt, boots and hat – Good will

LED Lantern – Pale Night Productions

Pan  & Tilt System – Servo City

Prop-1 controller - Parallax EFX


The grave diggers head starts in a lowered position.  It slowly rises up and then turns to the left and then to the right and then slowly lowers back down.  The movements are random so they don’t always happen at the same time or follow a pattern.


There were 2 complex steps in creating this prop.   The first was programming the Prop-1 controller.   There are only 256 bytes of memory on the BASIC stamp and I needed to program 2 servos, one to tilt the head and the other to pan it left and right.  These movements had to be smooth and have some randomness to them.  I was able to pause each movement a random number of seconds and also slow the movement down so it was smooth.  I have included the program I wrote at the end of this document.


The second difficult task was mounting the Pan & Tilt unit into the body form and getting the latex head to fit onto it so it moved naturally.  Using a serrated kitchen knife I removing foam from the body form so that the pan & tilt unit could move freely but not be too loose.  I screwed the unit onto a pair of 4 inch 1x2 blocks.  Using polyurethane glue I glued the blocks into the hole in the neck of the body form. 













I mounted a rigid foam filled plastic bottle to the top of the Pan & Tilt unit with a ¾” PVC elbow bolted to the platform.



I had to hallow out a lot of the foam in the latex head. Especially around the neckline so the head would move smoothly.





I used some surgical tubing to counter balance the weight of the latex head when it was attached.

The rest of the assembly was much easier.  The hands were attached with duct tape. Some of the foam on the arms was removed exposing the wire in order to slide the hands on.  Wood screws were used to wrap the fingers around the shovel and the lantern.




The Prop-1 Controller was stuffed behind the flannel shirt and the power cable down the back and plugged into an electrical cord.





  Video Example 1  Video Example 2


' {$PBASIC 1.0}


'-----[ Constants ]-------------------------------------------------------


SYMBOL  Servo1           = 0

SYMBOL  Servo2           = 1


' -----[ Variables ]-------------------------------------------------------


SYMBOL  pos             = B5                    ' incrementor

SYMBOL  idx             = B6

SYMBOL  last            = B7

SYMBOL  Servo           = B8

SYMBOL  lottery         = W0                    ' random number

SYMBOL  seconds         = W1


' -----[ Initialization ]--------------------------------------------------


  LOW Servo1

  LOW Servo2

  lottery = 1031                              ' Seed the random number

  Servo = Servo2


' -----[ Program Code ]----------------------------------------------------



  GOTO raisehead



  Servo = Servo1


  FOR pos = 150 TO 170

      GOSUB slowdown


  'turn left from center

  RANDOM lottery

  seconds =  lottery // 5 * 1000

  PAUSE seconds


  FOR pos = 170 TO 130 STEP -1

      GOSUB slowdown


 'turn all the way to the right

  RANDOM lottery

  seconds =  lottery // 5 * 1000

  PAUSE seconds


  FOR pos = 130 TO 150

    GOSUB slowdown


' turn to center from the right

  RANDOM lottery

  seconds =  lottery // 5 * 1000

  PAUSE seconds

  GOTO lowerhead



  FOR pos = 170 TO 140 STEP -1                   ' lift the head

    GOSUB slowdown


  RANDOM lottery

  seconds =  lottery // 5 * 1000       ' pause a few seconds

  PAUSE seconds

  GOTO turn



  Servo = Servo2

  FOR pos = 140 TO 170       'lower the head

   GOSUB slowdown


  RANDOM lottery

  seconds =  lottery // 3 + 1 * 60 * 500      'wait a while before doing it again

  PAUSE seconds

  GOTO Main



    FOR idx = 1 TO 10

      PULSOUT Servo, pos

      PAUSE 18




' -----[ Subroutines ]-----------------------------------------------------