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Joe Blow (Part 3 – Ball-Socket Armature)

Continues from Joe Blow (Part 2 – Maquette for Stop Motion Puppet)

With the maquette done, I am starting with the actual puppet.
As usual, I will be using the stuff we sell at Morezmore (www.morezmore.com).
Here is the photo printout and the outline on tracing paper.

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HPA armature parts

26 pieces joint compression plates (M00688, M00688x4)
1 piece M3 hip connector (M00840, M00840x5)
1 piece M3 chest bar connector (M01161, M01161x5)
2 pieces M3 foot pads, (M01560, M01560x5)
21 pieces M3x6mm threaded balls (full thread) (M00826, M00826x5)
11 pieces M3x16mm threaded rods(M00668, M00668x5)
1 piece M3x40mm threaded rod (M00679, M00679x5)
4 pieces M3x30mm threaded rods (M00674, M00674x5)
5 pieces M2x6mm threaded balls (full thread) (M00753, M00753x5)
5 pieces M2x16mm threaded rods (M01078, M01078x5)
13 pieces M2x10mm button hex screws (M01281, M01281x5)
7 pieces M2x10mm brass connectors (M00133, M00133x5)
5 pieces M2x5mm brass connectors (M00621, M00621x5)
1 pieces M2x20mm brass connector (M00728, M00728x5)
5 pieces 5/32″x30mm square brass tubes (M01369, M01369x5, M00217)
3 pieces 1/8″x30mm square brass tubes (M01367, M01367x5, M00217)
2 pieces 1/8″x15mm square brass tubes (M00774, M00774x5)
1 pieces M3 T-nut (M00357, M00357x5)
1 piece of allen hex key for assembly, (M00956, M01182)

Joe will be the smallest puppet I will have made (9-10″).
And I need to squeeze a lot of things into that 9″ frame.
Here are all the parts, sizes of which are non-negotiable, they are what they are.

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Here are the rods which can be longer or shorter, depending on the desired body proportions (circled in green).

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Once the parts are determined, I put them together (without threadlock) and checked against the image – looks close enough.
Then unscrewed and put them in order.

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Washed the threads with alcohol – to remove traces of machine oil, metal dust and my own finger oils, with a mini gun-cleaning q-tip.

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Threadlocked and left to cure for a few hours, best overnight.

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The head, arm and leg modules:

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Bite into the brass tube with a wire cutter a few times to make the indentations and so that the tube will not rotate, even at this uncured stage.

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Screw it in tight.
Let it cure.

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Curing … to be continued…

While it is curing, I want to try something that I learned from “How to Make Professional Stop Motion Puppet Armatures” by Larry Larson.

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Larry Larson in his DVD highly recommends using tobacco pipe cleaners for finger armature, so I want to try that.
He makes the hands quite differently, his method involves machining and soldering.
I am just taking his idea about pipe cleaners, the rest is my experimentation.
Just wanted to mention it, to protect his copyright.

I did a very scientific comparison break stress test, by bending back and forth equal thickness strands of pipe cleaner wire and aluminum wire with equal hands at an equal angle. Just bending it back and forth until it breaks, counting the times. Repeated a few times. The pipe cleaner wire performed about 4 times better, so I am encouraged to try Larry Larson’s method.

this is a pipe cleaner.
Burn off the cotton fuzz.

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Wipe clean.

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Pipe cleaners are about 6″, cut each into 3 pieces, about 2″ long.
Each hand needs 6 pieces, so 2 pipe cleaners per hand.

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JB Weld Threadlock and insert into the square tube.

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Bite with wire cutters a few times on the tube to grab the pipe cleaner pieces inside the tube.
Together with the threadlock it will be secure.
Sewed fingers into their places with a needle and a cotton thread.
Snip the fingers to the length.

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Inserted a small magnet in one hand and a M2 hex nut into the other, just to experiment.

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JB threadlock on the tips of the fingers (to make little balls of epoxy instead of sharp ends), threadlock to anchor the fingers in place, threadlock to secure the hex nut and the magnet.

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Curing…
……………….

All cured and assembled!
And everything worked.
Love the pipe cleaners, love the palm magnet, love the palm hex nut – more options for props holding.

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Flat bottoms for the feet: cardboard and JB weld.
Sculpey Ultralight Polymer Clay
skull mold

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Well, not sure what happened, but the new armature is much shorter.
I am going to make it a bit taller – by replacing the “femur” bones” with a bit longer ones (M3x40mm) and pulling the tubes out on his “shins”.
This will be a good size for Joe’s girlfriend, Jane, who is coming after Joe.

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So, I replaced the 30mm barbells in the “femur bones” with 40mm barbells and pulled the tubes out in the “tibia bones”.
To control how far the tubes slide into each other, pinch the larger tube with wire cutters.

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Next – “freezing” the parts which should not move, with JB-Weld, in effect making single joints out of double-joints.

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Next step – cover with Ultra light polymer clay to make “bones” and bake.
Ultra Light gives the puppet structure and the bones give you something to hold on to.

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Don’t worry about covering the joints – Ultra Light clay is very malleable, mistakes are easily carved away.

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Here is what I have. I have to tell you that I am extremely pleased with the way it is going – something I don’t say very often.
Puppet Joe next to Maquette Joe.

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Size compared to my hand.
And flexibility show-off shots.

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Future chinos (stretch chinos – cheapest I could find on ebay, size does not matter) and future sweater (new socks).
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Continues on Part 4

One comment on “Joe Blow (Part 3 – Ball-Socket Armature)

  1. […] Continues from Joe Blow (Part 3 – Ball-Socket Armature) […]

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