Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An empty head and nickel plated nuts

Hey wot all....

About halfway through constructing a stand in puppet for a massive practice animation session. I'm afraid to use any of the Radkins for fear they'll break before their starring role even commences. So I'm just whipping one up in a jiffy here to work the rust off my technique before filming begins. Think I'll also download a trial of Dragon to test out at the same time. But meanwhile, two things to post about -

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Here's my solution for making a hollow head, to reduce weight and save sculpting material. We've discussed it on the board, but had difficulty figuring out how to make it hollow or filled with a lightweight material and still not jiggle freely on the neck wires. I came up with this.... a spherical shell of wire stuffed with scrap plastic (could be anything.... styrofoam, foil, paper.... just make sure it won't react badly with your sculpting material... IE no styro or plastic for super sculpey cause it would melt in the oven etc). Then a thin shell of epoxy putty left rough to sculpt onto after it cures. Voila!

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Also, here you see a pair of nuts. Thumb nuts to be exact, from www.smallparts.com. They make fantastic tie-downs. But I noticed as I was working tonight that I couldn't wrap two strands of wire into the channel in the brass ones. Strange... I know it worked on the REAL puppets! They all had nickel-plated thumb nuts though. Now I'm using the cheaper brass ones. Turns out they're actually smaller! Fancy that! (yes, I seem to be turning british)

PhotobucketAs this pic shows, they're also quite a bit smaller in diameter. Something to keep in mind.... from here on out I'll get my nuts nickel-plated, thank you.

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Added links for nickel-plated thumb screws and nuts at Smallparts to my ever-growing Resources section.

9 comments:

UbaTuber said...

Cheerio, guv-na! (Ive been known to turn a might British when writing too :)

Darkstrider said...

Cor blimey mate!!!

Nick H said...

Kinoath mate! You're hanging around with too many of them furriners...
I used to be British, turned American, and then Australian...

What a timely post with that wire basket trick for the head core! I have to try making puppets from some "kawaii" (Japanese cute) characters with tiny thalidomide limbs and enormous heads, more than double the body size.
(Flash animated in kiddie website http://abc.net.au/children/playground.html .) They probably need to be hard heads, but gotta keep the weight down - and there is the solution!

Darkstrider said...

Huh wha.... Nick, I thought you were originally a Yank. Wow, you do get around, don't you?

Mysterious Ron said...

I did a similar armature lightening deal on a creature I recently built, it has a huge upper torso. In the rib cage area I've got what appears to be a big ol' ball of plumbers epoxy but, it's really light because I wadded up a ball of aluminum foil and then skinned it with the epoxy clay. The wire in his rather delicate ankles wouldn't have been able to take the weight otherwise.

Mysterious Ron said...

Oh by the way... Nice Nuts!! :)

Emily said...

nice - I've been using wingnuts but they take up so much length - this looks way better! Just started reading your blogs - thought you'd like to know - the Madame Tutli-Putli guys have already started on their next stop motion film! I attended their Masters Class when they came through Winnipeg and they showed some pictures of their new puppet!
-emmyymme

Darkstrider said...

Yeah Em, the thumb nuts are fantastic! Did you see how I use them? If not, click on Building the Radke Puppets part 1 under Resources in the sidebar and, somewhere probably toward the bottom of the page you can see how the wire wraps around inside the channel. So simple compared to trying to secure hex nuts or something in the foot. I also get thumb screws for tie-downs, which are pretty expensive, but so much nicer to turn under the table! It's amazing how much difference it makes. Oh, and I'm using thumb nuts UNDER the table too, to tighten against the wood. Once you've tried them, anything else just feels wrong! A kind of expensive luxury though.

Emily said...

Just read through - that's awesome! That was the biggest problem I had - I just did the simple gluing the nuts on top of the wire loop, but even with epoxy putty they tended to come loose - I might have to indulge in these ones!