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Cat and Thomas (Part 1-Armature)

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Another quick note: We sell everything I use here. So if you see something useful, get it from Morezmore.

Puppet Cat, Making of – step by step.

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So! I got my next assignment and reference images for the second puppet for the Murdoch’s film.
Cat Character Sheet:
Age: 14 years old
Height: 59” or 4ft 9”
Cat is a streetwise orphan living in a port town alongside many other young orphans. The port town has fallen on hard times; poverty and violence is high so she lives in a state of constant unease. She is a lone wolf because she can’t identify with the other orphans, except for her older brother who she greatly admires. He is her only family. The town they live in is grossly absorbed in maritime superstition and harmful traditions which they find to be laughable and absurd. This gives her an intelligent edge and she exploits it to her advantage.


Key Traits:
Intelligent
Witty
Athletic
Small/Thin (able to fit in tight spaces)
Distrust of authority
Crafty
Not superstitious
Practical

Also got some reference photos, here they are:
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Character Design Drawings

Next step – drawing the future puppet.
First sketch – general body proportions, then clothes, then hair.

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And these are the final, approved by the client, drawings:
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Armature
Tools and materials:
Humanly Posable parts

 

Next step to map out the armature parts for the puppet.
Here is the drawing printed full size, and the outline on the tracing paper.
How to go about making the map:
a) first – put the joints on the drawing where they belong
b) then – rods to connect the joints
c) then square brass tubes for the head, hands and feet
That’s it.

First consideration about how much of the armature I can fit inside Cat’s small frame outline (22 cm, 8.5″, slim figure). I think I can do all the usual joints. The plan B was to use wire instead of ball-socket joints in tight spots. If this works, and it appears it will, Cat will be the smallest Humanly Posable puppet I have built so far. Murdoch is 25 cm (10″).

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Here is Cat’s armature – not threadlocked yet.
As you can see she will be stuffed with metal, but everything seems to fit ok.
I am using those new 2mm reenforced compression plates in her hips, knees and waist. A small puppet like Cat should not really need them but I can’t wait to use them.
Anyway, I am glad I was able to cram all the joints into Cat and make the usual removable head, hands and feet. Let me know if you would like to see the the map of all the parts used for Cat’s armature.

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Parts List for Cat
Humanly Posable parts

So… I put on my OCD hat this morning and made a map and parts list for Cat’s armature.

Here are the hi-res images:

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Here is Cat’s armature – ready to assemble, from the human eye view – it does not look as confusing in person and without all the parts callouts.
And the wrist hinge! Can’t wait to try it.

Armature Assembly
Cat’s armature – threadlocked with JB Weld and curing

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Interlude.
Threadlocking – Strategies for success.

– before applying threadlock, clean all the thread with alcohol from machine oil, steel dust, finger oil. The tiny q-tips are called “g-tips”, they are used to clean guns, work great for cleaning thread.
– mix threadlock epoxy well

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– use 2 sets of pliers to tighten the connection, your hands are not strong enough. No, they are not.
– when securing a M3 rod in an 1/8″ tube, widen the hole with something sharp, like this ice pick

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– when securing a M3 rod in an 5/32″ tube, fill the tube hole with threadlock epoxy, insert M3 rod into the tube, “bite” on the tube 2-3 times with wire cutters to make the grip stronger.
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– after the components are threadlocked, leave them alone overnight (or at least 12 hours). No twisting, no testing, no touching, no “I am just looking” until next morning.

Hand Armature

aluminum wire
cut square brass tubes, telescoping, sizes 5/32″ and 1/8″, 15mm long
hinges (small)
sewing thread in flesh color
JB Weld threadlock epoxy

Mini Hand Armature for a Stop Motion Puppet in Eight (NOT SO) Easy Steps

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Foot Assembly

Poor man foot assembly for small feet, proudly featuring an ankle and toe joint and two tie-downs at the toe and and the heel.
My usual foot pads were just too huge for Cat’s feet.

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First assembly – all looks ok, not much to change – just file down the legs tubes, a few millimeters too long. Other than that – good to go, yey.
It’s a girl!

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Interlude – How to cut a square brass tube without a metal saw.

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After shortening the leg tubes, it is a perfect fit into the requested 8.5″ height!

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Cat’s twin brother Thomas will have the same armature with slightly wider shoulders. Teenage boys and girls look quite similar in body structure.

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I got a 3d pen as a present – thank you, my little sister!
Testing the 3d pen to add plastic motion range limiting shells to the joints.
Looks like it works!

Continued on Part 2

One comment on “Cat and Thomas (Part 1-Armature)

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