Thursday, November 3, 2011

Axis of Evil

I'm considering dropping $310 Canadian (around $305 U.S. at current exchange rates) with Boneyard Bargains for a fully operational 3-axis skull. It comes completely assembled with moving eyes and a Pico Talk servo controller already installed. There's no need to do any work or customization to it. Almost plug-and-play.

My initial inclination was to make my own. I've seen so many people on the forums using the Lindberg Pirate Skull and various servos to make their own, but I've yet to find a sufficiently (for me) detailed how-to on doing it. The closest I think has been Dr. Morbius's  tutorial on the Garage of Evil Network, but even then I'd probably like to see a few more steps included.

Then there's the modifications that need to be made -- filing parts here, shaving things there -- and making sure each part is just so. Of course, there's the servo controller that would have to be bought and hooked up to make it talk (I sling these terms like I actually know what I'm talking about).

I figure by the time I'm done I'm into parts at a cost of around $100 to $150. Then there's the time involved in doing the project. I'm guessing this isn't a weekend project.

Normally I'm all for being hands on and doing it myself, but in this instance I think the mark-up Boneyard is charging might be worth it. I'll lose some satisfaction in completing the task myself, but I'll gain a lot back and more by having a fully functional prop right out of the box.

What do you think? Is it worth dropping the coin for a plug-and-play solution or should I overcome my fear of working with electronics and reallysmallthings and tackle it myself? Let me know in the comments section.

And if you know of a highly detailed tutorial other than Dr. Morbius's admittedly very good one, let me know that too.

(Also, if anyone knows where you can pick up a similarly detailed skull for less you can share that too!)


  1. If I were in your shoes, I would probably go with the home-made version of the 3-axis skull. The only reasons that would bring me to this choice is that I like to challenge me in learning new things and technics. There is also the cost of the retail version that would not fit into my Halloween budget. This year, I challenged myself with doing my own home-made version of the mini-LED spotlight. In the end, it was easier than I thought. Given all that is preceding, I would be buying the already made version if I knew that I would not have enough spare time to do it myself, if doing it myself would add only one new prop to my haunt or if the time necessary to build it could be used for something more important to me (and God knows we all have plenty of things to do).

  2. Ive been struggling with the same problem Rich. Ive been wanting to add a 3 axis skull for sime time and Fright Props offers some nice options in theirs aling with various skins you can add and routines..all plug n play and good to go. I think I may get one of them this year so I can really see the inner workings to better understand how its built and then eventually build my own because learning how to do it would in the end be more gratifying.

  3. PumpkinBrain,

    I hear ya! That's normally how I roll, and like you, I found making the mini-LED spots fun and challenging at the same time.

    I think it just may be the time commitment to it as well as the lack of knowledge that causes me to hesitate. I realize doing it myself gives me a whole new set of tools I can put in my haunters toolbox (figuratively speaking), so I have to give this some more thought. Thanks!


  4. Jay,

    I checked the Fright Props site and they're a little pricey at $570 for what seems essentially the same thing as Boneyard Bargains is offering. Mr. Chicken is offering zombie skins for the 3-Axis skull for $85 which would still bring the total price in below FPs.

    I also have a specific idea in mind for this prop and the speech would need to change all the time so a preset routine wouldn't work as well for me.

    But it might be a fun project to work on together. Get the ready-to-go version, rip it apart, and then build our own after we know what the heck it is we're doing.

    Of course, if there was someone in the area who had done one of these already and could walk me through it, I'd build it myself from the get-go. But I haven't heard of any of the NJ haunters having done this yet.

    Here's an idea: you buy one, we take it apart, then we build one together! LOL!


  5. With all the time constraints put on us in the real world around Halloween, anything you can do to save time and have a great prop is a win win in my book.

  6. Ill buy a bineyard skull if you do and we can work on them together if you want..u let me know!

  7. Hiya! Long time no chat. We called off Halloween this year do to family obligations but this article got me wanting to build again. How did things go for you this year?

  8. Hook, the holiday was pretty much a bust. We were hit pretty hard by the snowstorm that blanketed the east coast the day or so before Halloween and lost power here for 5 days. You can check out my vlog to see what I'm talking about:

    The build up to Halloween kept me pretty busy and since then I've been working fairly steadily on some props for my wife's event planning business. It's an Alice in Wonderland themed Sweet 16 party this Friday and I'm looking forward to it being done (there's only so much light and sweetness a haunter can handle!) so I can get back into Halloween.

    Thanks for checking in!


  9. Hey GhoulishCop, how are you doing? I was just stopping by to announce that I bestowed upon you the "Liebster Blog" Award.


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