So late last night and today, I decided to build a small skeleton from Erector set parts that I hope to integrate with a stuffed animal (probably a stuffed bear) in the near future to provide the character portion of my animatronic figure!
I've already encountered a couple of problems (the nuts rubbing and working themselves off at inconvenient times) and have seen some things i'd like to change, like hinged shoulders for another motion.
To fix the first problem, i'm going to look for some 8-32 Nylock nuts to replace the Erector Set supplied nuts. This should allow me to adjust the fit as needed without much pain.
As for the movement, i'm going to first try some Flexinol, an alloy that contracts when a current is applied. I think i'm going to spend tomorrow figuring out a good way to rig it up to a joint and getting it to work. If all of this goes right, I may try to do some simple controller that can control a few of these things to make a meaningful motion, and then, hopefully put the whole thing into the above mentioned bear for full effect!
If the Flexinol doesn't workout (and won't catch the bear's stuffing on fire, since it's supposed to get pretty hot when in use) i'll probably go to the more conventional solenoids, pneumatics, or the cheaper string and motor. We'll see how that goes though.
As for what i've done thus far, here's a picture of the less than spectacular ErectorSkeleton!
edit:fixing crazy huge picture
You can see my shiny new laptop underneath, and pay no attention the dangling cord off to the right.