Animatronic Wings

Hey guys!

I would love to start off by saying thank you for the warm welcome yesterday when I decided to turn up to the tuesday open night with a folder in hand to seek out help on what I would call a brutal first project for a little noob like me. My name is Gabrielle but usually go by Cheeky, I am a newish cosplayer seeking out help on a project of mine ([cosplay page here if interested][1]) In any case I would appreciate any thoughts, criticisms or inputs would be very much appreciated as I really have no clue how to go about accomplishing this… As I am simply not prepared! Just keep in mind I really have no clue what I am doing so complicated things will fly right over my head :’(

Build Description and References

While I don’t expect everyone here to have played Warcraft III or World of Warcraft, one of my dream cosplays involved one of WoWs most recognisable characters, Illidan Stormrage!

I have tried to look into this as much as I can with having no knowledge on electronics or engineering, blundering my way through other forums and books (spent about $100 on robotics and arduino books and am slowly making my way through them currently).

I have schematics from a guy I found on DeviantArt and have footage of his wings working along with a few little images that he posted of the build. The following are his images and words (Credit to [Bushitaka][2])

Quote found in description of schematics:
"I receive a lot of questions about the motors i used.
the four motors on the wings are 6watt Dunker motors. Type G30.1. The needed gearing ratio depends on the lead screw pitch. I used a (fairly large) 12mm pitched leadscrew, just because i found them in my workshop. If the pitch is low (like normal screw thread) you will need higher rotation speed, which causes unwanted vibrations. If your motor is not strong enough, you could gain force by reducing the speed of the wing movement (folding, lifting); choose a different gearing ratio. The gas spring is there to help the motor lift the wing. You should test your own frame design before spending your money on the wrong parts. Remember that this design is sort of improvised.
The 2 big flapping motors are Nidec GMPD 404764 types. speed=18RPM. Torque is 4Nm. Power is 7.5W. Maybe too strong (=too heavy) because they still lift the wings when i am in a horizontal position, which is not really required.
To get rid of all the design flaws, i changed/upgraded the design to, which could be made into bird/bat or moth wings. This frame is less heavy. not only because its span is reduced, but more because the bulky motors & gearing are optimized (minimized).
Somehow I choose to use 24V motors: high(er) voltage means lower current. I thought that would be good for the battery life. I used 20 rechargeable AA cells. Good results with eneloop cells. don’t believe the high-capacity claims on cheaper brands. The smaller moth frame is a 12V system, because i got rid of the 2 big current-draining motors. Saves weight too. I guess that any motor that need more the 1Amp to run, need some sort of calculation; just to be sure you are on the safe side. "

In regards to controls/movement of the wings I managed to find out that he did not program a movement loop like what I assumed was the case but rather;
" i used a micro-joystick like you can find them on a cell phone. I glued the joystick on an elastic-band ring to fit on my index finger. Thumb control."

Videos of his wings moving are found at the two links below:

There are also images of the finished wings in different positions found at;

I also found this image of a build of the same character. The wings, however, are pneumatic and don’t have much in the way of a description or information as to their structure. To have my finished wings look similar to this would simply be a dream though! Mind if I can’t figure out these motorised animatronic wings, I might have to go down the path of working with pneumatics…


  • So I know this project is going to cost a lot, I have a lot of details I wish to add into the costume, like Digileg stilts to make me large and imposing and to get his demonic goat legs, leather tooling and led silicone tattoo work along with resin work with his horns and warglaives (being lit up of course) and the wings i wish to try out a silicone membranes and have veins visibly running through them. I can see this costume is going to run into the thousands and will take many hours, days, months or possibly years of work.
  • I have 3 ideas for methods of movement, my first idea was a basic rc controller operated by a helper on the day I wear the costume, secondly I could create a flex glove were if I were to unflex a finger it would do a certain movement (fist would have to be closed as the character has weapon props, but hand movements would be hidden) and finally I can see if I can replicate what Bushitaka and have a 4 axis micro joystick sort of thing attached to the weapon props or on a ring like he did to move the wings. The costume is being made for a competition so I wish to be able to walk on stage and pose without visibly operating the wings, well that’s the plan in anycase…
  • Simply think I should note another pair of animatronic wings that I discovered, [Elmins Cosplay][3] create motorised wings for his Aether Wing Kayle cosplay (from the game League of Legends). He has all sorts of stuff about the build on his page and is worth the look.

In any case, thanks for taking a look and I will stick around to lurk in the shadows of this forum and shall see where this build leads me.


This looks like a complex build, but I’d love to see it happen! I wouldn’t say I’m skilled in these areas, but I’ve at least dabbled in them before. Hit me up if you need someone to bounce ideas off! :slight_smile:

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I am well and truly out of my depth here but am going to push to make this happen! I will hopefully figure out transport to attend the tuesday build nights regularly and pick myself up a membership in the new year to pick the brains of HSBNE attendees to try and find my way :stuck_out_tongue: But for now I shall be hitting the books and learning basic electronics to build foundation knowledge since I barely understand anything really lol

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Oh! I forgot to add in that I found the Motor Datasheet for the two central motors that operate the rotational movement of the wings that sit in the central unit on the back. Once I get to ordering the actuators and motors etc I may have to find something very close to the same motor if I am to replicate Bushitaka’s design as Nidec do not have an Australian branch and I am not 100% sure if I will be able to order in the same model from overseas… Again this is only relevant if I am copying the schematic design above.

Motor Datasheet