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The One-Armed Grave Grabber

Hello again, Victim! Just couldn’t stay away could you? Well I’ve managed to cook up another minion for this year’s graveyard. The deer motor I got for $10 bucks turned out to be a godsend, it reverses and its practicly silent making for an awesome and spooky animated ghoul!


    Screw gun/drill
    Hand saw
    Metal drill bits
    Bolts, washers and nylon lock nuts

    One foam skull
    One length of plastic tubing
    One tape and wire hand
    One length of 1/8”x1/2” aluminum flat bar
    One length of heavy wire
    One length of thin wire
    One length small foam block
    One Buck animated deer motor (
    I got mine here )
    Two pieces of lumber
    4” and 2 ½” screws

Step 1: Assemble the base
Use a piece of deck board or similar lumber for the base. At one end attach a block of 2”x4” cut to the height of your motor arm, mount the motor on the other end. Put 2 screws into the 2”x4”, this will keep the arm from slipping off the block as it travels. See the plan.

Step 2: Assemble the linkage
Cut your flat bar into 2 pieces of varying lengths and drill small holes into each end. Drill and mount the short one to the motor arm, attach the other end to the longer piece with a small bolt, washers and nylon threaded nut.

Step 3: Test the movement of your prop
After your connections are made, you can test the movement of the assembly, the nice thing about this animated buck motor is it reverses when it is impeded. Put two 4” screws into the base as stops to keep the motor from going all the way around. Once the linkage hits the screw, the motor should reverse, as illustrated in this clip.

Step 4: Build your monster
Make a loop in both ends of a length of stiff wire (you may have to improvise here. The wire I used was very strong and not prone to being bent easily. It may be nessesary to use a stiffer material such as steel straps otherwise the head assembly may simply be pulled to whatever direction the link arm is moving) and attach to one side of the base near the motor being sure not to impede the linkage, wrap it around to the other side over the motor and secure it with a screw. Make a smaller, similar one for the block where the arm intersects. Attach your wire hand to the end of the long flat bar.

Make a shallow groove in the length of foam block, use thin wire to attach it to the stiff wire over the motor. Drape burlap over the assembly; be sure that none of the fabric impedes the movement of the prop. Using a 4” screw, attach the foam skull to the foam block allowing at least 2” of the screw to protrude. Attach a length of plastic tubing to the top of the long arm and drill a small hole in the end nearest the motor, tie one end of a small length of wire to the tubing and the other to the 4” screw in the skull and block.

When the arm travels to its furthest point, it should pivot the skull up in a very convincing manner. See finished prop video.

Finish your prop by weathering and aging as you like!

More Images





See him in action!

“Under the shroud”