Video of a trick mechanical top hat by Dug North
When asked to write and article for my favorite magazine -- MAKE, I jumped at the chance. Editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder asked me to document how I made my trick top hat for their first-ever special Halloween issue. The entire issue is dedicated to Halloween DIY projects. The issue is rather awesome. I hope they do another some day.
A hidden mechanism inside the hat is attached to a bicycle brake cable and lever. Run the cable down your sleeve and discretely hold the lever. Any time the brake lever is squeezed, a monster pops out of the top of the hat. Because you can control both the speed and direction of the monster, it has some puppet-like qualities. By raising the monster slowly and only part way, it looks as if he is peeking out tentatively.
The image to the right shows the version that appeared in the magazine. A rubber finger puppet served as the monster until I got around to creating the wooden monster with articulated joints that you see in the video.
Here is where you can get a few more details on this wearable automaton.
P.S. I'll have this one with me at World Maker Faire in NYC on September 29 and 30, 2012