Recently Marc Spess emailed me about making a banner for my blog to post on his new Stopmotion Magic site. I don't really consider myself much when it comes to graphics, but I have learned a few things in Photoshop over the years, and I happened to find a couple of great images that really work well together. I'm pretty proud of this one. Be sure to check out the site, it looks like a great start! He's basically creating a vast stopmotion empire all on one host server, and members can create their own blogs and sites. Pretty cool.
My tie-down supplies were getting pretty depleted, plus I wanted to see about using some smaller thumb nuts for feet, so I placed an order from McMaster-Carr - a veritable Mecca of seemingly unlimited supplies for us stopmoes! Unfortunately, most of my discoveries were rather disappointing this time around. The picture above is a size comparison between a 6-32 thumb nut (on the right) from Smallparts.com and one of a 4-40 nut from McMaster. I was hoping it would actually be a little smaller, making for smaller feet, but it looks like they use the same size blanks as the 6-32 nuts, just drill a smaller hole in it. *Sigh* - oh well, at least it still makes for smaller holes I need to drill in the set!
Here you see my attempt to grind them down a bit smaller. I also picked up some 4-40 threaded rod , because I have yet to find 4-40 screws that are long enough to use for tie-downs. It might be a bit hard to make out, but I threaded a bunch of thumb nuts onto one of the rods, tightened them against each other so they don't move, and went to work with the Dremel to flatten two opposing sides. I also widened the channel a bit, because it's a little too small to fit two wires into, as I posted recently.
This is the result. Frustratingly, the wires end up larger in diameter than the nut itself, meaning all the grinding I did was essentially useless! I suppose I can grind down the inside part of the channel though, THAT should actually make a difference. Plus I found I could remove a bunch of excess brass at the top of the foot, which does streamline the profile a bit. At least THAT'S something!
And here's another disappointment - I was excited about McMaster-Carr's selection of annealed aluminum wire (all their aluminum wire is annealed, making it good armature wire, though it seems to be a bit stiffer than armature wire sold in art shops for sculpture). Even in this small pic, you can clearly see the endless stream of nicks all along the entire length of the wire! I had received a roll like this from them before, but was hoping it was just a fluke - some kind of factory reject that somehow made it through quality control... but both rolls I ordered this time are nicked like this! So no more ordering wire from them for me! Dammit, I have no other supplier for the sizes smaller than 1/16"... and I like to use something around 1/32" for hands/fingers. I suppose I just need to keep using the nicked wire until I can find another source.
Very disappointing in some respects, but I still consider McMaster-Carr a great source for lots of other supplies.... I also picked up some epoxy putty and a tube of Pliobond 20 flexible contact cement that I think will be a good substitute for Barge.... though it's made from a similarly toxic solvent. Oh well, at least I got this one in a tube rather than the giant can with brush-in-lid like I have of Barge (well past its shelf life - it's getting really stiff and rubbery.... very hard to use these days!)