Morezmore HPA (Humanly Posable Armature) Parts Description – Part 1

Hello, friends!
In this post I will talk about the parts used in Humanly Posable Armature (HPA).

Humanly Posable Armature (HPA) project purpose is to use stop-motion style armature in art dolls/figures/puppets, to make them move and pose.
Like this:

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As I am discovering, there are several ways to do the same joint or connection, so look at HPA as an “Erector” type construction set for dolls. While I was preparing to describe the parts, I made 2 armatures and in the process of making the third one. This post will include the description of all three.

Professional stop-motion armatures are wonderful, but pretty hard to make. They are made by professional artists craftsmen in a metal machine shop with all the power equipment. The result is fantastic.

As I don’t see myself doing machine tooling, I wanted a set of standardized interconnecting parts to create my own custom size and custom purpose armatures. And they should be somewhat affordable.

I have been thinking about this cross-industry project for about a year, looking for standard steel parts all over the internet, figuring out shapes and sizes from photos, converting metrics millimeters to US inches and back, talking to vendors, buying the parts, waiting for international delivery, trying to fit them together.  Some of them are standard hardware parts, and some of them I had to order custom.

Then I got finally all the parts together and made Monsieur Poirot, as an experiment. Folks on Facebook really liked Poirot and the whole idea. Inspired, I am continuing and will be glad to see other artists joining me on this project (using stop motion armature for OOAK doll). Your questions and comments are welcome. Thank you!

Abbreviations above each row of the photos:
LP – Left Photo
RP – Right Photo

LP: Overall photo of everything I am using – parts and tools.
We carry most of them at Morezmore, so I will include the links as I describe them.
RP: Tools:
1. scissors
2. long nose serrated pliers
3. manual drill handle and 2 mm drill bits
4. ice pick
5. wire cutters (a strong one)
6. phillips mini screwdriver

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7. needle files (coming soon)
8. compass divider
9. round nose pliers
10. wooden disk 2-3/8″ (6 cm) diameter x 1/4″ (0.64 cm) thick
11. ruler

12. magic sculpt epoxy putty
13. gloves
14. thread seal tape (coming soon)

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15. finger armature wire 32 ga
16. round brass tube 5/32″
17. brass strip 6 mm wide
18. tube cutter

19. joint compression plates
20. ball joint screw
21. M2 x 10 mm screw
22. M2 hex nut
23. 1″ square wood tile
24. brass connectors M2 x 10 mm (or 20 mm, or 5 mm, as needed)
25. M2 screw, for limb extension, 20 mm (or 10, or 30, or 40, or 50 mm, as needed)

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LP: same parts as in the previous photo

RP: I thought I collected everything on the first photo, but no, there is more:
26. X-acto knife
27. toothpicks
28. 8 more M2 hex nut
29. allen key if you are using “hex button” screws. For “pan head phillips” use a screwdriver. I know it is confusing, but such is life.

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The joint consists of 2 compression plates, held together by a screw and a hex nut, 2 threaded balls and 2 threaded rods which are actually  screws (with the heads which will be cut off in the future) and looks like this (LP).
There is a shortcut – using a ball joint screw which a ball and a rod as one piece of metal (RP).

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The compression plates come in pairs and are available in sets of 18 (9 pairs) and 34 (17 pairs).

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18 set will allow joints in the head, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees.
The wrists, ankles and waist are not movable.

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34 set (17 pairs) will allow additional joints in the wrists, ankles and spine.

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A screw and a hex nut hold together the compression plates.

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They come with a hex head and with a phillips head. Use allen key if you are using “hex head” screws. For “phillips head” use a phillips mini screwdriver.

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The threaded balls are 6 mm diameter with a threaded M2 hole. They come in stainless steel and carbon steel variety. Carbon steel will attract to magnets and stainless steel will not (more about this point later). They are also offered in 18 and 34 quantity.

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The screws come in different length: 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 mm.
They are used to make rods (by cutting the heads off). This is the cheapest way to get a M2 rod.
There is also a extra long M2 rod 250 mm, if you must have it.

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How to turn the screw into the rod:
1. Snip the head with wire cutters.
2. Clean up the end with a file.

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3. Screw your new rod into the ball.

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4. The ball tends to get unscrewed, so it needs to be secured, at least with JB Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy, if you don’t weld.

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4. Assemble the joint and tighten the hex nut – done.
Instead of the hex nut you can use a brass connector and it will make a handy handle for tightening the screw while you work.

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Instead of the threaded ball and rod you can use one-piece ball joint screw for the same purpose.

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Connecting 2 joints together is done with brass connectors M2 x 10 mm (or 20 mm, or 5 mm, as needed)

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You will soon find out that all this paraphernalia needs some kind of organizing.
The pill boxes are great to store the small parts. The best part – you can close all departments but one and quickly fill it in or dump the contents on your palm. I cut some of the walls out to keep the longer screws.

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Continues on Part 2
Thank you for watching 🙂

3 comments on “Morezmore HPA (Humanly Posable Armature) Parts Description – Part 1

  1. Nobody but you could have come up with this idea. Not too many people will have the patience to put the armature together with all the tiny parts. I hope there are many people who will get this armature from you- all assembled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] friends! Continued from Part 1, which has the detailed description of the parts and tools. If you just arrived and landed here, […]


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