Building a life-size animatronic Terminator

Maker creates an animatronic, ATmega328 powered T-800 out of balsa wood and cardboard.

If you liked the ‘80s blockbuster hit Terminator, then you’ll love this recent project from Kaled Souky. That’s because Maker has created an impressive T-800 Model 101 replica primarily out of balsa wood and cardboard. And we’re not talking about just a static statue either, it’s actually a life-size animatronic prop.


The model’s head and arms are actuated by an ATmega328 based controller board, along with several servos and pulleys. The legs are not motorized, however, and there to offer support.

“One of the most demanding parts of the mechanical design was the arm holding the gun,” he writes. “On the levers of the third kind that conform the shoulder joints and elbow, much weight is generated, so the servos and pulleys exert a force that achieve a torque of over 40kg/cm respectively, to easily overcome the resistance that can offer the hand holding the gun, which when the arm is fully stretched, its length reaches over one meter long.”


The Maker programmed the T-800 by writing some code in the Arduino IDE, which allowed him to control the position, velocity and acceleration of the servo.

“For determining the angular position in some joints, the reading system of resistive variation is used, and in other cases a mechanical system of counterweight is applied,” the Maker explains. “The energy is provided by a commercial power supply that provides five volts and 10 amps, plus also features a DC boost converter with adjustable regulator, which collaborates with the best driving performance of some servos.”


Pretty awesome, right?

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