Ortha is a giant 4-legged puppet with foldable wings, that is played by 2-6 puppeteers (depending on what features are used). She can be carried by one puppeteer, put on a rolling lift with a tiltable connector or be lifted by two ropes. It took almost every weekend from January to July 2017 to build her - with usually 2-4 people working on it.
Her features include:
- 3d-printed head (PLA) Bowden-cable controlled animatronics (eyelids, ears, mouth, head-tilt front/back)
- foldable wings (each wing has three segments - the feathers of the second segment tilt when the wing closes) with removable rods and magnetic connectors on the body (to keep them in place in the folded position)
- control-rod for the head with 3d-printed levers, grips and battery holder
- blue LED-lights in the eyes
- movable eyelids
- folding ears
- movable lower-jaw
- tiltable head
- flexible neck and tail
- fully articulated front-legs
- movable back legs
- front-paws with inbuild gloves for the puppeteer
- back-paws with rods
- inbuild connectors that can be used to hold the weight of the puppet from above or below (14.98 kg)
- a hand sewed fake-fur cover that was painted with UV-paints (4 colors sprayed on and details drawn with UV-Markers)
We made several videos to test the puppet while we made it - here is a playlist:
This is a very complicated puppet - you will find many pictures in the following sections:
I made a 3d-model for the head based on a sketch of Ortha made by Pan Hesekiel Shiroi.
Head and body:
It took several iterations to agree on the final head and body shape.
My projector was used to transfer the design to paper.
The paper template was used to find the right placement for the joints.
Ortha's head was printed in PLA on my Flashforge Creator Dual in 4 parts (7 parts if you include the eyelid-mechanic, connector for the neck and guides for the Bowden-cables).
Plaast (from http://www.plaast.de/ ) was used to glue the parts together and to hand sculpt the teeth.
The eyes and eyelids were changed later.
LEDs with half a ping-pong ball as a diffusor (painted with blue acrylic marker)
We used empty 3d-printer filament spools, hoses, heavy-duty webbing, pipe clamps, aluminum profiles, cable-ties, chair casters, plastic-mesh and pipe insulating foam to make the basic structure of the body.
Top rope attachment ring
The feathers were made using cardboard templates in many different sizes. They were cut out of very dense closed cell foam (from a Store that specializes in materials for Live Action Roleplay). A strip of foam was removed in the middle of each feather and a carbon rod was glued in with hot glue. A plastic strip was glued on to secure the rod. A part of a linkage rod for RC airplanes was glued on the end of the carbon rod with super glue. The part to hold the feathers was mostly made with aluminum profiles.
The plastic strip made it more difficult to move the feathers - so we used an iron-on fabric on the other side.
Both sides of the feathers were spray-painted in three colors.
The ears are simple foam shapes - attached to the head with cable-ties.
The tongue was made by cutting it out of a foam sheet and covering it with Plaast (pigments were added). I pressed a rough material (filter foam) on the plastic to give it more texture.
3d-printed attachment point for the neck.
Ribs to make it easier to lift Ortha from below.
A simple lever for the bowden cables.
I used painters tape to make a pattern for the head fur - the head is symmetrical so one side was enough.
Mock-up of the pattern before drawing it on the tape.
The pattern for the fur of one side of the head (I only made a pattern for the most important part).
Orthas fur is from https://www.webpelzshop.de/.