SFX Books


Books on how to make animatronics for decor, holiday decorations and film.

Browse our selection of animatronics books and find the perfect guide for your next project. With clear instructions and expert tips, these books will help you create complex, mesmerizing animated displays that will impress and delight your audience.

If you’re interested in bringing your holiday decorations to life or creating your own animated props, you’ve come to the right place. Our guide features a wide selection of books on animatronics, from beginner guides to advanced technical manuals.

Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists animatronics book

Making Things Move: DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists

By Dustyn Roberts

A unique guide that covers the practical principles of mechanical design and how they can be applied

In Making Things Move, you’ll learn how to create moving mechanisms using clear, non-technical explanations, examples, and hands-on projects. These projects range from artistic installations to toys to useful inventions, and include a drawing machine, a mini wind turbine, and a mousetrap powered car. You’ll learn a wide range of skills, from attaching couplers and shafts to motors to converting between rotary and linear motion. The only limit to what you can create is your imagination.

Discover how to:

  • Find and select materials
  • Fasten and join parts
  • Measure force, friction and torque
  • Understand mechanical and electrical power, work and energy
  • Create and control motion
  • Work with bearings, couplers, gears, screws, and springs
  • Combine simple machines for work and fun

This book is filled with photographs, drawings, and screenshots of the components and systems you’ll be working with. It focuses on using ready-made components whenever possible, and most projects use common materials like metal, plastic, wood, and cardboard, as well as simple fabrication techniques like laser cutting. Each chapter includes small projects to help you practice what you’ve learned, and later in the book, you’ll tackle more involved projects that incorporate material from multiple chapters.

Making Things Move:

  • Focuses on practical applications and results, not abstract engineering theories
  • Contains more than a dozen topic-focused projects and three large-scale projects incorporating lessons from the whole book
  • Features shopping lists and guides to off-the-shelf components for the projects
  • Incorporates discussions of new fabrication techniques such as laser cutting and 3D printing, and how you can gain access
  • Includes online component for continuing education with the book’s companion website and blog (makingthingsmove.com)

Hands-on coverage of moving mechanisms
Introduction to Mechanisms and Machines
Materials and Where to Find Them
Screwed or Glued? On Fastening and Joining Parts
Forces, Friction and Torque (Oh My)
Mechanical and Electrical Power, Work, and Energy
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Motor? – Creating and Controlling Motion
The Guts: Bearings, Bushings. Couplers, and Gears
Rotary vs. Linear Motion
Automatons and Mechanical Toys
Making Things and Getting Them Made

Animatronics A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays sfx book

Animatronics: A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays

By Edwin Wise

Edwin Wise’s book, Animatronics: A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays, is the perfect guide for bringing your holiday decorations to life. This hands-on, project-oriented book covers simple, classic projects and advanced motion animation used in professional mechatronic systems. Along the way, it includes tips and tricks for sculpting and decorating all your self-operated mechanisms.

While other books on the market describe only static displays, this book provides the advanced hobbyist with the tools needed to create a complex animated display. The book is targeted at intermediate and advanced builders and covers four broad categories:
– electrical animations
– pneumatic animations
– servo animations
– control systems
It also includes “background” projects such as stationary systems and how to make water glow under black light.

Animatronics guides you through projects to build and control AC motors and pneumatic systems inside your animated props. It also includes some overlap with Wise’s previous book, Applied Robotics, dealing with sensor and MCU control projects. Whether you’re a seasoned animatronics expert or just getting started, this book has something for everyone.”

The Ultimate Guide To Do It Yourself Animatronics steve koci sfx book

The Ultimate Guide To Do It Yourself Animatronics

By Steve Koci

Bring Your Characters to Life with the Ultimate DIY Animatronics Guide

This guide, adapted from the popular SERVO Magazine series “DIY Animatronics” by Steve Koci, is tailored for home hobbyists who want to learn about the exciting field of animated character creation.

It aims to be accessible to anyone with a desire to learn, regardless of their expertise. The guide covers the entire process of creating animatronic characters, from start to finish, and provides clear, easy-to-follow instructions.

Whether you’re working on a holiday decoration, school project, or business project, DIY Animatronics will help you create professional-quality animatronic characters.

Halloween Animatronics Build a Possessed Doll Volume 1 by wolfram donat sfx book

Halloween Animatronics – Build a Possessed Doll

Volume 1

By Wolfram Donat

We’ve all seen them: horror movies starring a creepy doll that tries to kill everyone in the house, usually because it’s been possessed by a vengeful ghost or a demon. It always starts small, though: little movements, like the head turning, that let you know that something’s not quite right about little Samantha’s favorite toy. Then, by the end of the movie, the doll is in fully-possessed-mode, flying through the air and slaughtering everyone.

Meet Amanda. Amanda is a possessed doll that, with the help of a smattering of code, randomly turns her head left, right, and sometimes all the way around. It’s not much, but it’s enough to make your favorite horror fan run screaming from the room.

Illustrated with full-color photographs, this volume of Halloween Animatronics takes you step-by-step through the process of creating her, from cutting open her head to swap out her eyes, to mounting the servo that turns her head, to the few lines of code to make the servo work its magic.

If you already have an Arduino, she can be built for under $40 in parts, and an Arduino can be gotten very cheaply if you need one. For those wanting to create spooky Halloween props and get introduced to animatronics, the Arduino, and robotics in general, this book is a must-have!

Halloween Animatronics Build a Zombie Crawler (Volume 2) sfx book

Halloween Animatronics – Build a Zombie Crawler

Volume 2

By Wolfram Donat

Have you ever wanted to make a crawling zombie to chase your friends and scare people on Halloween? Halloween Animatronics: Build a Zombie Crawler can help you do that!

This guide shows you how to build a radio-controlled zombie named Bartok with lots of pictures to help you. It tells you what parts you need and how to put them together step by step. You’ll learn how to make Bartok’s body, his arms, and how to make him crawl when you want him to.

There’s also information for people who are new to this hobby and tips for fixing problems. If you love Halloween and want to make your own creepy prop, you don’t want to miss this guide!

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