|Buskers' Animated Monkey
Company at last when I go busking with my hand cranked 26-note organ at the
Model Engineering railway track in the park; for I now have a Monkey to go
As commercial animated monkeys are so expensive I had been wondering what
to use until, during a shopping trip to Birkenhead, I came across a monkey
in the toy department of a local store. He was very young, had a bib and
dummy and had a banana in his hand which, if placed to his mouth, he sucked
making loud slurping sounds and saying "Oh! A banana!". I did not need any
of these extras but with a bit of alteration he looked as if he was suitable
for the job and only cost £15.
First I had to do quite a lot of surgical work on the poor fellow, removing
his bib, banana, voice box mechanism and sufficient stuffing to insert a
hinged strut in his arm which was operated by a crank pulling on the elbow
with a Bowden type cable and this enabled him to raise the red hat that I
had made for him. His arms were sewn across at the top so I had to unpick
the stitches and alter them to get through and although my sewing skills
are very basic it is amazing what fur covers up.
As you can see in the photo of the monkey under construction he sits on a
circular ply board that is attached to a bar the other end of which runs
in a gear-driven eccentric self-aligning bearing which rocks him with a circular
motion. This motion is continuous and draws attention to him. If a coin is
inserted into the slot he raises his hat, wiggles his feet and raises a notice
from a slot in the base which says 'Thank You'.
A look at the short video clip will demonstrate
All the movements are motor driven using three motors removed from old computer
floppy drives. These are supplied with 12 volts from a small rechargeable
battery. They have added gearing to slow them down and each has its own limit
A coin mechanism had to be constructed which would take any coin and overrun
the limit switches. The impulse from a micro switch in the path of the coin
was too short so it was used to operate a relay that was slugged with a large
capacitor to slow it down. This system works nicely and drops out before
the motors reach their limit switches again.
A plywood box was constructed around the mechanism, the monkey appears to
sit on top as you can see in the finished photo and the whole thing slots
into two brackets on the side of the organ.
I am sure that the music is appreciated by all, but the Glockenspiel and
Monkey are the biggest attraction for the kids.