Delrin Eye Balls for Stop Motion Puppets

A new mini eye hole drilling vise is now available

Step by step:
1. Put a delrin ball into the vise, tighten.
2. Start a hole with a knife
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3. Drill with a small 1mm drill bit (it is just easier to start with a thin one first)

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4. Drill with a 2mm drill bit.

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5. Put into clay so they do not roll.
6. Paint with enamel (I am using Testor’s black)

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7. Let it dry.

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Original Post:

I spent the day testing the new arrival – making eyeballs out of delrin ball bearings.

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We got them in different sizes: 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm and 10mm (quantities of 20 or 100), plus a trial mix pack.

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They are basically very smooth plastic balls which can be used for making eyeballs in stop motion puppets. What makes them special is that they are made out of Delrin.

Wikipedia: Delrin is a crystalline plastic which offers an excellent balance of properties that bridge the gap between metals and plastics. Delrin is used in precision parts requiring high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability.

Today I have put them to the test.

What I wanted to check:

1. How easy it is to drill them – to make the holes for positioning the eyeballs.
2. Can they be baked – if the puppet head is made out of polymer clay.
3. How do they look in stop motion animation.

The results:

I used a 1 mm drill bits, but any small size of drill bit will do. We have a variety and also mini drill vises.

Drilling was not a problem at all, the problem was holding the ball. I tried this and that and, eventually, found the best, in my opinion, way – a holding vise made out of 2 joint plates, an M2 screw, and a hex nut. This little contraption allowed me to easily drill the holes.

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After drilling, I just colored the pupil with a marker, but next time I will try something more fancy for the irises. By the way, making the holes with heated needle is also possible (in case there are no drill bits available).

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The melting temperature of Delrin is 375 degrees F (157 degrees C). Polymer clay baking temperature is 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). So I expected the balls to sustain the temperature without problems. And they did – no problem at all.
What is nice is that they perfectly rotate inside the sockets.

After the puppet head cooled off, I tried to move and the first rotation was sort of tight (they got stuck to the clay), but after that first movement they started to rotate just fine.

I also found out that I sculpted the sockets differently and I could remove one of the eyes from the socket and the second eye was not removable. But either way – they both rotate nicely inside the sockets. Therefore, it is nice option to have – make the eyeballs removable, if needed, or just let them rotate inside the sockets.

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4 comments on “Delrin Eye Balls for Stop Motion Puppets

  1. […] . . . Delrin Ball Bearings for eyes, drilled. For details how to make eyes out of delrin bearings, please read here. […]


  2. […] The faces are made out of Living Doll Polymer Clay (Beige) The eyes are 5mm delrin ball bearings, made as described HERE. […]


  3. […] a hole, round. Also I did not want to paint 3mm irises. So, here is what I came up with: Use 5mm delrin balls and insert a 3mm bead to make a colored […]


  4. […] face. Pull out gently the eyes, smooth out the eye sockets and put the eyes back. Eyes – drilled delrin balls, 7mm dia. Brush – cat tongue smoothing […]


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