About this project
You asked, and we listened.
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Fox Character joins the gang.
How would you like to learn cool maker skills like Arduino microcontrollers, mechanics and papercraft, and make an awesome animatronic puppet in the process?
The Star★Bot animatronic platform kit teaches mechanical skills and inspires creativity in makers of all ages. A completed Star★Bot has eyes that move left and right and a mouth that opens and closes. What’s amazing is that even with these few simple movements, your animatronic puppet can be surprisingly expressive. Your Star★Bot kit can do everything you saw Frantik do in the video (except -- we hope! -- catch on fire....)
Imagine all the great ways you can enjoy your Star★Bot:
★ Build the kit and learn the skills needed to complete and control your Star★Bot.
★ Express your creativity by making a unique head and face out of paper or other light weight materials. Use one of our pre-made cut-outs or make your own. Your imagination is your only limitation!
★ Control Star★Bot in real time like a puppet, or record and play back movements like the animatronics you’ve seen in theme park attractions.
★ Unleash your inner superstar by using your Star★Bot as an actor or singer, and become the next viral video on YouTube!
Are you a maker, or a mini-maker?
- Star★Bot is fun and easy to build. Your Star★Bot doesn’t need a paper skin to do a whole lot of cool things. The smooth acrylic shapes and moving parts are fascinating to watch. You’ll be the center of attention as you demonstrate your Star★Bot and explain how it works.
Are you a teacher?
- The “maker” movement is gaining momentum all over the country as a way to get kids interested in how things work. Use Star★Bots to teach STEM concepts in the classroom and as a stepping stone to more advanced robotics and engineering projects. Star★Bot is currently being used to teach the popular "Intro to Arduino and Animatronics" class at the Orlando Science Center in Florida.
Are you a puppeteer?
- Star★Bot can take your puppeteering hobby to the next level. Use one Star★Bot to complement your existing cast of traditional puppets or marionettes, or build a whole troupe of Star★Bots for a whole new kind of show.
Are you an aspiring writer, playwright or filmmaker?
- Star★Bot can be your comedy platform, your voice, or even your nemesis! Write funny scripts, record them, and create videos to build a portfolio and become a YouTube sensation.
Are you a hacker?
- When is a puppet more than a puppet? When you dig into the Arduino and add sensors and switches to create a monster! Add a microphone and program your Star★Bot to be voice-actuated. Add a motion sensor and Star★Bot becomes a Halloween prop that will scare the sugar out of trick-or-treaters. The possibilities are endless!
star★bot Kit Reward Levels.
- Plastic Human Kit (you provide your own servos and electronics)
- Maker Human Kit (we provide the servos, you bring the electronics)
- Unsoldered Human Kit (Arduino, joystick, and servos provided)
- Toon or Toonimal Kit (Arduino, joystick, and servos provided)
- Assembled Human Kit (Assembled, tested and ready to go)
- StarBot Troupe (Includes all three Starbot Models, Human, Toon, Toonimal, plus one Arduino, and one joystick controller)
- StarBot Menagerie (Includes all three Starbot Models, Human, Toon, Toonimal)
- StarBot Custom (Do you have a mascot, a character for your business, a favorite game character, or a super hero? Utilizing one of the three models, Pat will create a custom-built animatronic character just for you. This is great eye-catcher and a lot of fun for events, trade shows, parties, etc)
Assembled Human Kit includes everything you need to get started.
- Laser Cut Acrylic Parts
- Thermal formed eyes
- Vinyl printed eye decals
- 3 Micro servos motors
- Arduino microcontroller (programmed)
- Joystick Animation Controller (soldered and ready to use)
- 3 Servo extensions
- USB Cable (to power the Arduino)
- All required assembly hardware
Un-Soldered Kit includes everything you need to start building your very own Star★Bot, plus you'll be able to solder your own joystick controller.
Toon or Toonimal Kit includes everything you need to start building your very own Star★Bot, Both come with oversized eyes, and the Toonimal comes with three sets of jaws.
The Star★Bot Maker Kit is for makers who already have an Arduino and joystick, and just need the animatronic platform itself. This kit includes:
- Laser Cut Plastic Parts
- Thermal Formed Eyes
- Vinyl Printed Eye Decals
- 3 Micro Servos (motors)
Lastly, the Star★Bot Plastic Kit is just the physical pieces of the animatronic head. This is the lowest cost kit for makers who already have an Arduino platform and bins full of parts from previous projects. This kit does not include any motors. It does include:
- Laser Cut Plastic Parts
- Thermal Formed Eyes
- Vinyl Printed Eye Decals
This kit lets you create animatronics of a human like nature. This kit is the easiest to build, and has a wide variety of uses.
This kit lets you create toon characters, and has oversized toon eyes. Great for making cartoon, chibi, and anime characters.
This kit lets you create toon animals. It has oversized toon eyes, and comes with three different sets of jaws so you can create almost any animal. (This is the style used in the Frantik the Dragon Orlando Mini Maker Faire Promo video).
Choose your color
StarBots come in three fluorescent colors.
- Fluorescent Red
- Fluorescent Blue
- Fluorescent Green
Please specify you color when pledging.
As a Bonus for reaching our funding goal. I have engineered a pocket in the eye assembly that fits LED's nicely. You can run your StarBot with or without the LED's, and EVERYONE will get the LED Kit!
Stretch Goal #1 - $10,000
As someone who takes his animatronics out to events, classes and sometimes just for fun. I wondered what would I like as a first stretch goal, and I came up with this.
A BATTERY PACK!
Now you can take your StarBot anywhere, and not have to worry about having a plug. Most of my animatronics are mobile, I can take them ANYWHERE, and now so can you.
When we hit $10,000 EVERY KIT with an Arduino will get one Battery Pack.
Would your kids like it?
The star★bot Kit is used to teach kids "Intro to Arduino & Animatronics" classes at The Orlando Science Center, and was on display at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013. The kids were excited to learn about microcontrollers, mechanics, animating, and had lots of fun.
Easy to assemble:
The starbots Kit is easy to assemble. Just screw the plastic pieces together, install the servos, apply the eye decals, and snap in the eyes.
Easy to program:
Your starbot Kit will come with the Arduino pre-programmed. You will also be able to download the code and tweak it yourself. Wiring up the starbot Kit is easy to do, just follow the instructions using the included jumper wires.
Papercraft characters, people and animals will be available, or you can make your own.
One Little Spark:
How did the kits become a reality? After making animatronics for many decades and everyone always asking "How it's done?", I had been developing an animatronic kit, but didn't have a launch date set. One 'Maker Saturday' at The Orlando Science Center in Florida, I was asked if I would help teach an "Intro to Arduino Class", I gladly said "Yes". The class was in Dr. Dare's Laboratory (an awesome venue in the round), I helped a mother and her young daughter. When it came time to learn about servos, I took out my iPhone and showed them my Animatronic Toucan singing Feliz Navidad, and explained that when I move a controller I can make his mouth move. They both laughed and thought it was so cool. A little while went by, and while I was leaning behind the young girl and talking to the mother, we both could hear a small little voice singing, it was soft and low, and we could hear it was Felz Navidad. Both of us looked over and the young girl is turning the potentiometer and moving the servo in sequence to her singing of Feliz Navidad! The mom and I started laughing so hard our sides hurt. This was the "Spark" to finish the kit, build eight prototypes, and teach my own "Intro to Arduino and Animatronics" class, which was a big hit. ~ Pat Starace
The Star★Bot Story
Pat Starace has been building animatronics for more than 20 years. From the very first time he introduced his early creations, people wanted to know how they worked and how they could make one themselves. More recently, as Pat has become an active part of the maker community in central Florida, he’s been working on a way to make animatronics more accessible to beginners.
Pat got to thinking about what is difficult about creating animatronics. Not everyone has easy access to the materials and tools needed to shape and form heads and eyes, so that was one important piece of the puzzle. A kit for beginners to create animatronics would need to be easy to build, have great movements, and be both durable and affordable. The Star★Bot platform was designed with CAD and run through many simulations to test the design to make sure the movements would be convincing and the parts would work correctly together.
To make the kits, acrylic pieces are laser cut. Mold plugs are created on a CNC mill and the eyes are thermal formed. Additional parts for the eye mechanism are cut on a CNC lathe, and each eye gets finished off in a press. All of these processes ensure precise and consistent finished pieces.
Why we need Kickstarter?
Right now, each kit has to be hand-made piece by piece, and that drives up the cost. Going from making 8 prototypes to making a production run takes the help of supporters and Kickstarter. The funds raised by this Kickstarter campaign will enable us to gain economies of scale by mass-producing some of the parts while still retaining the precision Pat demands. We have the components and materials completely sourced, the equipment and build location in place, we just need your support. When the kits can be produced for less money, the purchase price can be reduced, and more people can afford to buy their own Star★Bot!
Our goal is to deliver as many 'StarBot Human Kits' as we can produce in time for the Holidays. Toon and Toonimals will have a delivery schedule set for January. Supporters will be kept informed of the production progress via update posts, pictures and videos.
Do something good:
Pat takes a few of his creations up to Children's Hospitals and has been doing it for over 20+ years. "Bringing a smile to a sick child is the biggest gift one can get" says Pat.
Risks and challenges
So far the risk I see is possibly having too many orders. I would like to get as many StarBot Human Kits delivered in time for the holidays, and that's why I set the The Toon and Toonimal Kits delivery for January. If it turns out that this Kickstarter does so well and have way too many orders, we can ramp this up production pipeline accordingly as it's completely scalable.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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