Tabbed or Tab-less Winkers

Which should I choose?

We have created this page to help customers choose whether to get Tabbed winker shells or Tab-less winker shells. It’s really not that complicated, and with a little explanation, in a couple of minutes you should have a pretty good idea which will work best for your figure making project.

See the accompanying photos of the Tabbed Winker Shells and the Tab-less Winker Shells. It should hopefully be fairly that the tabbed winker shells have a projection or ‘tab’ on top, and the tab-less winker shells do not have the projection or ‘tab’ on top. The shells are otherwise the same. So which one should you choose? Keep reading . . .


Tabbed Winker Shells

Tab-less Winker Shells

Actuation is the key

Basically it depends on the style of actuation you would like. Or in other words, what type of connection linkage to the winkers you want inside the head. There are two basic styles. Connection to the winker shell directly or connection to the winker pivot. Here is a picture of a direct linkage connection. With the direct linkage actuation method, the pair of tabbed winker shells are ‘tied’ together with a brass rod.


Direct Linkage Connection

Tabbed Winker Connection

You can read more about the direct linkage style of winker connection/actuation and set up by going to the PDF Tutorial. Navigate down to page 37 to the ‘Blinkers’ section.  In short, the brass rod is glued with epoxy to the ‘tabbed’ area of the winker shells. This makes it so both winkers are in ‘tandem’ and move together or blink. With this set up they do not wink individually. This is one of the better ways to set up the actuation on tabbed winkers/blinkers. 


Fred Project PDF Tutorial

Tab-less Winker Connection

The first picture above shows a connection to the winker pivots themselves (winker shells omitted in this photo for clarity). You will see between the eyes, two brass actuator arms which are soldered to the brass rod winker pivots. This is a very strong connection. The second picture shows this with the tab-less winker shells installed. 

The third picture shows the this same winkers with all of the connections made. With this style of winker actuation, it is very easy to use cords to actuate the winkers (the cords are tied to the actuator arms) to make the eyelids or winker shells to close and open and is usually a very quiet mechanism.

Which Style Should I Get?

It becomes a personal decision, but this information is here to help you make an informed decision. The direct connection style made with tabbed winker shells is easier for first time builders. You simply drill a hole in the shell tab and glue the connection linkage with epoxy basically. It is strongest when you have a rod connecting the two winker shells in tandem, which blinks both eyelids together. If you will be installing raising eyebrows, you need to plan ahead so that the winker shell tab does not hit the eyebrow mechanism.

The pivot connection style made with the tab-less winker shells is a much stronger connection as it is brass stock soldered to a brass rod. But you need to have the proper soldering materials, equipment and maybe learn a new skill (not that hard to learn really). You can also use a simple cord actuation with this style, which is quiet and easy to install. And there is not tab on top of the winker shells to possibly interfere with a raising eyebrow mechanism.

The bottom line then is deciding which style you prefer and what you will be comfortable doing. Different building styles will use different skill sets. For the most complete information, see Mike’s book on winker mechanics.


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