Thirteen-year-old Aidan Eli loves animatronics.
To confirm that, you need look no further than a 6-foot- 8-inch contraption that he has pieced together in his spare time, just for fun.
When Aidan pushes a button, the bear-like creation’s head pivots, one of its arms flexes, and its jaw moves. It also lights up and plays music from a speaker.
“I’ve always been pretty much of a tinkerer,” said Aidan, a seventh grader at Brundrett Middle School. “I like to build things. … I just like the mechanisms on it. I think it’s interesting.”
Aidan started the project off with an animatronic clown figure purchased from a home improvement store. He then tore it apart and put it back together again, giving it his own customization by use of cardboard, duct tape, dowel rods, rope and an LED light strip. He also equipped it with a speaker that will play music through a cell phone.
The whole thing took him about two weeks of work after school and on weekends.
He based his creation’s new look on Fun-time Freddy, an animatronic character from Five Nights at Freddy’s, a video game series.
Aidan brought hulking creation to school recently, where fellow students admired it in a science laboratory.
“It’s cool to see people’s reactions once you actually finish building these animatronics,” he said.
This is Aidan’s third animatronic creation, and he plans to make more, he said.
He wants to study engineering in college and eventually possibly work for Disney, creating animatronics for the company’s theme parks. If the Disney thing doesn’t work out, maybe he could build animatronic characters for a Fun-time Freddy-themed restaurant, he said.
Aidan is the son of Melissa and Sid Eli. The Elis live at the southern end of Mustang Island.
Contact Dan Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org.