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3-Axis Robotic Mechanisms - Necks, Torsos & More


Title now available to WATCH in our On-Demand Library!

3-Axis Robotic Mechanisms: Animatronic Necks & Torsos - Part 1

3-Axis Robotic Mechanisms: Animatronic Necks & Torsos - Part 2


Learn how to design and build 3-axis mechanisms for your animatronic and robotic characters with master creature effects mechanic Jim Kundig (Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Cowboys and Aliens). Using readily accessible tools and affordable off-the-shelf materials, Kundig will demonstrate his approach for mechanizing necks, torsos and more.

If you're a hobbyist who wants to learn how to make your art MOVE, or a pro looking to add to your mechanical skill-set, this Live Webcourse is not to be missed.



  • Uses for 3-Axis Mechanisms - Necks, Torsos & More
  • All About Universal Joints
  • Principles of Leverage
  • Creating Linkages
  • Rod Ends & How to Use Them
  • Digital vs. Analog Servos


Course Curriculum

DAY 1 - Saturday, March 25th, 2017 - 9am - 1pm PST


  • Choosing the right materials for the job
  • Cutting and shaping aluminum
  • Create a spine using shafts and shaft collars
  • Making a top plate with 2 axis movement using a universal joint
  • Planning the mount for the head
  • Assembling the neck up/down mount
  • Extending the servo arms
  • Adding a rotate mount


Workshop Student Homework - Week 1: Finish all unfinished steps so that you are ready to mount the servos next class. If you have a head to mount to the mechanism, finish it up and mount it to the head as discussed in class (using epoxy, epoxy putty and mechanical fasteners.  If you do not have a head to mount, design some type of base to attach the finished mechanism to making sure the mechanism can be removed since we will still be working on it next week.


DAY 2 - Saturday, April 1st, 2017 - 9am - 1pm PST


  • Discussion of radio controlled servos and parts
  • Installing the up and down servos
  • Experimenting with the neck geometry
  • Lesson on leverage
  • Hooking up the rotate
  • Exploring alternate versions of the design
  • Exploring alternate methods of puppeteering design


Workshop Student Homework - Week 2: Finish up all parts.  Take some time to play around with the geometry of your design if it is different than that of ours in class – are you getting optimum movement, speed and strength for your project?  Once achieved take some time to go through and ad removable Loctite to all the screws in the motion components.

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Jim Kundig