The copyright for Steamboat Willie famously expired at the beginning of this year. Steamboat Willie was the first appearance Mickey Mouse, so this copyright expiration is a big deal for Disney. Anyone will be able to use the character for the first time in history, as Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Jaimie and Jay of the Wicked Makers YouTube channel built this terrifying FNAF-style Mickey Mouse animatronic.
A few months ago, Wicked Makers built a Five Nights at Freddy’s Springtrap animatronic and the results were amazing. For this project, they took many of those same lessons, techniques, and stylistic decisions and applied them to Mickey.
This is a full, life-saved head that can move, open and close its jaw, and direct its scary glowing gaze. The vast majority of the head’s structure is a 3D-printed shell (modeled by BeardlessProps) with a ridiculous amount of superb texturing, painting, and weathering. The ears, for example, have a coating of dark fiber that gives a felt-like appearance. The aesthetic does a fantastic job of making this look like an old and beaten animatronic from a theme park.
The movement is all actuated by hobby servo motors controlled by an Arduino UNO R4 board. Wicked Makers added a USB host shield, which let them connect a PlayStation 4 controller. The Arduino reads the stick positions and button presses from the PS4 controller and adjusts the servo motors accordingly. That allows for nice organic control when puppeteering.
This video ends with the animatronic dying. But from what we saw before that, it was very much a success. The Wicked Makers plan to repair the head and will post a video with updates, so be sure to subscribe to their channel.