Overview

Ventriloquist dummies can be charming, hilarious, spunky sidekicks! But sometimes, they'd like to really come alive and be the start of the show. No better way to bring extra pizazz to your dummy than to add a set of realistic eyes that look around as they perform!

You can use your Adafruit MONSTER M4SK board to add windows into the soul of your ventriloquist dummy. Then, take them to the open mic night at your local cafe, or even just give it the opportunity to watch over people who come to your house for trick or treats on Halloween!

hacks_2048988958_57532031af_o.jpg
Man with his ventriloquist dummy .ca 1870. Photographer: William James Harding Reference number: 1/4-006818-G Wet collodion glass negative Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationallibrarynz/2048988958/in/pool-vintage-ventriloquism/

Find other interesting dummies in the Vintage Ventriloquism group on Flickr.

Ventriloquist Dummy

There are a number of resources for acquiring a dummy. There are relatively inexpensive, entry level dummies, such as our friend Slappy used in this guide, available at online retailers and auction sites, made by the Goldberger company.

These basic dummies have a soft body and a fixed head position. They use a string pull from the neck to articulate the jaw, which is on a rubber band return.

You can also upgrade to a modified Goldberger dummy, which has a rigid hollow body and a stick for controlling head motion, as well as a finger pull for the jaw.

Then, there are higher quality dummies made for all levels from amateur to professional. Check out Throw Things, and Braylu, which is the company that made my upgraded Slappy.

Parts

Adafruit MONSTER M4SK - DIY Electronic Eyes Mask

PRODUCT ID: 4343
Peep dis! Have you always wanted to have another pair of eyes on the back of your head? Or outfit your costume with big beautiful orbs? The MONSTER M4SK
$44.95
IN STOCK

Lithium Ion Polymer Battery with Short Cable - 3.7V 420mAh

PRODUCT ID: 4236
Lithium ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This battery...
OUT OF STOCK

Optional

Depending on the dummy you use, and how you choose to incorporate the M4SK eyes, you may also want the following:

JST SH 9-Pin Cable - 100mm long

PRODUCT ID: 4350
This 9-pin cable is just about 100mm / 4" long and fitted with JST-SH female connectors on both ends. Compared with chunkier JST-PH these are 1mm pitch instead of 2mm,...
$1.95
IN STOCK

Convex Plastic Lens with Edge

PRODUCT ID: 3917
The eyes have it! Add this little lens to make a big expression with our Spooky Eyes demo for microcontrollers or Raspberry Pi. These are plastic lenses, with brilliant clarity and a...
OUT OF STOCK

Clear Acrylics and Hardware Kit for Monster M4sk

PRODUCT ID: 4330
Here is the perfect kit for mounting convex lenses (glass or plastic) to your 
$3.50
IN STOCK

Tools & Materials

Some additional tools and materials may be required depending on the style of build:

  • Hobby knife
  • Hot melt glue gun and glue
  • Zip ties
  • Black card stock
  • Black marker
  • Pencil
  • Velcro strips
This guide was first published on Sep 24, 2019. It was last updated on Sep 24, 2019. This page (Overview) was last updated on Oct 17, 2019.