Latex & Rubber- molds & more

Here we will talk about how to learn about special effects skills for robots like mold making and creating skin for humanoid robots.

There are special types of rubber or latex that can be poured to make body parts and skin and we will mention some websites that sell some of these products and teach you how to do it.

You can check a site like Brick in the Yard and learn about terms like Geninsate Valginate (latex) and Platsil Gel 25 Silicone (mix it 1 to 1) and various pigments for pale flesh like “Neills”.

Then you can check out the special effects videos by the pros on YouTube with Stan Winston studios or pay or some of their top notch online courses.

So before we talk about making skin for either the robot’s face or its arms/legs/body lets start by saying that you might not need to do that or much of that at all.

You will need to have the eyes/mouth linkages attached to motors inside the head so either you start with that and build a head on top of it or you get an exixting head and carve it out to put these components in afterward.

Its easier to find a head first by looking in thrift stores or online for mannequin heads $1o or smaller hair styling school heads $10 or wig heads at dollar stores for $5 and carving them out.

Mannequin heads and entire mannequins come in different styles but are usually hollow made from fiberglass so they are easy to cut with any saw. (hand or power reciprocating saw is fine).

Some mannequins have movable joints but you can always cut them and add joints which is a technique shown on youtube (making articulating joints like a GI Joe toy doll).

Hairstying heads are smaller than human heads but can have quite realistic hair and some have removable fairly realistic skin which could also be cut.

Hairstyling heads are solid spray foam which can be cut out with a saw or knife and spooned out to allow for the insertion of eyeballs and move movements.

One needs to be careful to allow for ventilation to avoid overheating from motors so one should use fuses and be careful during the testing phases of the build.

Cheap styrofoam heads can be carved but they crumble so you may need to cover the inside foam with some calking or other hardening fluid.

Now if you decide to put together the eye/mouth linkages and facial structure and then build a head around that then that is another technique which may work out easier.

Hockey or baseball helmets give you a good outer skull structure with alot of room to add components since they are totally open in the front and bottom. You could add skin to that.

Halloween supply stores always sell latex products for making skin and fake scars so you can check out these kinds of stores as well as special effects stores.

The ultimate skin that Hanson Robotics was using was their own invention called Frubber.

You can also check out the adult robot store RealDoll to see what skin they use for their creations and get some of their advice or cautions about cleaning and repairing latex or rubber skin products.

One can find faults in just about every type of halloween prop but the costs of reproducing artificial body parts has gotten so cheap and the realism has gotten so good that it is truly amazing.

With the increased fascination in zombie movies and shows in the lst 5 years it is now possible to buy special effects makeup kits just about anywhere around Halloween time and even at some dollar stores all year round.

Some youtube channels have people who are skilled at cutting plastic dolls and painting and airbrushing them and inserting individual hairs into the heads and body parts of dolls.

The sky is the limit.

At some point you need to consider how durable the skin will be and how it will react to the elements or by being touched or dropped on the floor.

Some sights with tips in the area of skin or robot/doll parts are:

  • – Brick in the Yard moldFrightprops
  • – Randi Rain, Raincloud Magic
  • – Fripp Design (eyes)
  • – Thingiverse (Robohand )
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  • – (eyes)
  • – Stan Winston (special effects on YouTube)
  • – Holt Productions
  • – Greg Townley
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  • – Nilhelm Mechatronics /Will Cogley
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