Animated Musical Spider Toy

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Project by johnhutchinson posted 12-10-2013 09:46 PM 2713 views 9 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve always enjoyed animated wooden toys, and wooden musical instruments, so I decided to combine the two interests in a xylophone-playing spider—aka XyloSpider. Somewhere along the way it got totally out of hand.

And then a new fascination with stop-action videos led to …

All in all it was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.

-John Hutchinson

PS—No spiders were harmed in the making of the video

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

23 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3777 days

#1 posted 12-10-2013 10:14 PM

Wow that is cool and fun ,thumbs up.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1829 days

#2 posted 12-10-2013 10:37 PM

Thanks, James. I thought I’d let it all hang out for my first project on LumberJocks.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2024 days

#3 posted 12-10-2013 10:56 PM

What a great idea and toy John..very cool.
Is there a crank shaft or cam setup underneath to raise and lower the legs to strike the keys?
Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2000 days

#4 posted 12-10-2013 11:19 PM

Holy cow John! That is amazing.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1829 days

#5 posted 12-10-2013 11:39 PM

Thanks, guys. There are two counter-rotating drive shafts under the “hood”, with cams lifters for the hat and cane, and pin lifters for the legs. The pin lifters were suggested to me by automata guru (and buddy) Dug North. The pins lift the legs to vertical, and then drop them on the xylophone plates. It’s the same mechanism that’s used with clock chimes. Dug also happens to be an expert clock maker/restorer. Not a bad friend to have. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View luv2learn's profile


2872 posts in 2502 days

#6 posted 12-11-2013 12:03 AM

John, that is the coolest toy I have seen in a while. I have read your bio. and you certainly are a talented guy. We are glad that you have decided to be a part of this great group of folks.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6223 posts in 3553 days

#7 posted 12-11-2013 12:18 AM

Fantastic looking and Cool to see it working in the video. Thanks for sharing and Welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View doubleDD's profile


7886 posts in 2243 days

#8 posted 12-11-2013 03:06 AM

Another awesome project. Somebody had to do it and you did it work well.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2636 days

#9 posted 12-11-2013 03:25 AM

Fantastic! Thanks for the video link, absoultely incredible in action!

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View archie18's profile


204 posts in 3690 days

#10 posted 12-11-2013 04:20 AM


-- Robert in middle TN

View CFrye's profile


10483 posts in 2039 days

#11 posted 12-11-2013 08:41 AM

How fun John!! Just wish the video included sound of the spider. Are the ‘keys’ different tones? Automata/automaton builds are so much fun to watch and figure out how they do what they do. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View hunter71's profile


3302 posts in 3386 days

#12 posted 12-11-2013 12:14 PM

Wow, great build. Great video too. Nicely done John.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1829 days

#13 posted 12-11-2013 03:11 PM

To answer Candy’s questions …
1. I’m making another video with the spider playing some tunes. Should be out soon.
2. I purchased the xylophone bars from Rockler.
I’ve posted a picture of the plates that I “borrowed” from their website! Ironically, they chose to display them on my Cricket Xylophone, the first project that I published with Woodworker’s Journal in 1998.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View Julian's profile


1398 posts in 2890 days

#14 posted 12-11-2013 04:22 PM

That’s awesome! Did you design it yourself? Could you post pictures of the underside?

-- Julian

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1829 days

#15 posted 12-11-2013 04:57 PM

Thanks, Julian. I did design it with a little help from my CAD software. As an architect, I’ve been running AutoCAD since its birth, so I can model the components, check the relationships, and animate it before I head out to the shop.
I’d like to show you the “guts”, but the project’s scheduled for publication in 2014 and I don’t think my editor would be pleased if I spilled the beans. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

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