THE CONTROL SYSTEM

Inside the head, all the mechanics are fabricated from brass, so there are no strings to break. The more delicate mechanisms have a bracing system, which should ensure many years of carefree operation.

"Otto" is not like other BIGHEAD mechanical sculptures, in that he was not created for a performing ventriloquist or a collector. "Otto" was commissioned by an actual organ grinder, who needed a true "mechanical sculpture" to enhance his persona. His special requests were quite complex and specific. Creating "Otto" meant fabricating unique mechanisms and movements, most of which have never been created before.

The client desired all animations to be operated with the left hand (leaving the right hand to operate the instrument). He needed the control "module" to be in a palm down position and extend out the back 10-12", at a 90 degree angle. He requested multiple facial animations, and asked that the right hand be able to extend for a handshake, and the left hand to hold a conductors baton and move , as if conducting the music being played.

The biggest hurdle was to get the head to possess some subtle movement with full facial animations, while devising a way to make the arms move, and do all of this from one single control module.

"Otto" has a multitude of facial expressions, most of which can be operated simultaneously for life-like effect.

Eyes closed

Raising eyebrows.

Eyes right.

Eyes left.

Smile.

 I added an auxillery lever, which is completely separate from the control module (upper/left, inside body cavity). Pressing it will raise and lower the arm, just like the lever on the module.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

All facial expressions, subtle head movement and both arms are all operated from a single control module that extends from the body at a 90 degree angle and can be operated with one hand.

As an added bonus (not in pictures above), I created a flexible linkage between the mouth mechanism and the one for the upper lip.  This means when you operate mouth lever, the upper lip will be activated slightly, creating a more life-like effect while talking. Moving the upper lip smile lever retains its ability to move only the upper lip and not effect the mouth in any way. Really cool.

The white security strap is only intended to brace the head "slightly".from an unintentional seperation from the body.The strap is optional and can be removed very easily if desired.

Below are a few pictures, taken at the very beginning of "Ottos" creation. 1) The foil ball was covered in clay and hammered until the proper shape was found (I went through about 7 different shapes before "Otto" began coming through). 2) The actual sculpting process began when applying the sculpting material, and his features began to emerge. 3) Cutting and removing the various facial parts (drill holes are made to produce added security when applying more sculpting material later). 

OTHER THINGS OF INTEREST.

His Lederhosen (right) are just as unique and intricate, with each piece being fabricated completely  from scratch.

While the shoes look as if they have been simply laced, each piece of lacing is individual and laid into holes, drilled into the material. The conducting hand has been sculpted to reflect an elegant movement.

 "Otto" really is an incredible BIGHEAD mechanical sculpture and I am honored to have played a part in his creation.

One reason I accepted this commission was because nothing is hidden. The nostalgic aspect of the application intregued me. Previously, he had a mechanical monkey, and all of the controls were in complete view of the spectators. I wanted to follow that engle and create a control module that had all the lines and flow of a classic, nostalgic piece of functional art. I envisioned the control device to be just as entertaining and enchanting as the sculpture itself.

The bottoms of his shoes (below) have soles, which possess a worn look and feel.

A most enchanting, "mechanical creation"
Commissioned and owned by Gordie Davidson.

Client quote:
"BRAVO! SUPER! WUNDERBAR! GANZ GUTE!....... WOW!...... Gute idee Herr Doktor Ray!"

 Finally, here is a video of how a BIGHEAD is packed before shipping.

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