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Chocachoc Posted: Jul 26th 2008

How do you make armatures?

Are you able to use bionicles as ball and socket armatures? If you can would they work well?

thespazicat Posted: Jul 26th 2008

Yes, thats what i use for my armatures, though i had to cut them up, put them under a stove, glue them with arldyte, put hardening clay in them, tape them and so on. i'll be posting a video in the future in how to make them properly.

Chocachoc Posted: Jul 26th 2008

Can you just use the normal bionicle without doing all of that?

Animator Posted: Jul 26th 2008

i just use that wire you get fron gardening shops with the green spikey stuff around it. the green stuff acts like cloth tape and helps the plasticene stick to it. i think its called tie back wire

thespazicat Posted: Jul 26th 2008

yes you can use a normal bionicle, but it wont have good strengh on its own if yo are putting plastesine on it.

animation boy Posted: Jul 26th 2008

it isnt really nessecary to have an armature. Ive made a good few films including one that won COTM and ive never needed an armature. Unless your making a model over 6 inches it isnt that important.

Chocachoc Posted: Jul 26th 2008

Ok, Thanks!

Nofby Posted: Jul 26th 2008

Chocachoc, always important to have an armature, unless its a short bulky characters with thick limbs.

There are two routes you can go down....

1. A wire armature

2. A ball and socket armature

---------------A WIRE ARMATURE----------------

A stop motion puppet's armature all depends on your film, character, budget and skill.

A simple wire armature requires only annealed aluminium armature wire for the spine, arms, legs and neck, epoxy putty or similar, a drill and some pliers.

The next step up would be a B&S armature. Ball and socket armatures can be hard to make by your self, if you don't have the right equipment. Ball and socket armatures are more similar to a human skeleton with socket joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles etc. You can get a much smoother fluid movement with B&S armatures.

If you lack the equipment and time to make your own, there are many ready made armatures out there to buy. There are links at the end of this post, where you can buy them. These armatures are also more robust and easy to use, with no problems like breaking wires or wire un-twisting.

--------HOW TO MAKE A WIRE ARMATURE---------

A simple wire armature requires only annealed aluminium armature wire for the spine, arms, legs and neck, epoxy putty or similar, a drill and some pliers.

Firstly you need some alluminum wire. You can buy this at any decent art store or craft store.

Then you need some epoxy putty. This a clay like putty that dries ROCK hard after sculpting. The U.K type is called Milliput( google it)or if you can't get your hands on that just oven bake clay will be alright for a beginner.

If your puppet will have tie downs, you need nuts and screws. Tie downs are screws that come up from a hole in your set floor and screw into a nut in the puppet's feet. Then the screw is tightened against the floor with a wing nut.

To start off with you need to twist 2 strands of wire together. To do this quickly you can put 2 pieces side by side and screw the ends into the tip of the drill. Then you secure the other end with a vice or your foot and drill slowly, so they twist together.

The other way of doing this is getting one piece of wire, bending it in half, putting a pencil into the bent over area and wrapping the wire around so the pencil is secured in a loop. Then you would put the other end in pliers and hold the handles tight, or in a vice and then twist the pencil around.

You should make 4 pieces of twisted wire. One for the spine, one for the arms and one for the legs and one smaller looped piece for the head. Now you have to attatch them them together. You take the spine piece and unravel the two twisted wires untill you have two lengths of single wire coming from both ends. Then you bend the arm length in half like a U and wrap the pieces coming off the end of the spine around the bend. You do EXACTLY the same for the legs.

After that you could add epoxy putty or clay onto the chest and hip areas to build up those parts of the armature.

Type in STOPMOSHORTS in google and visit the first link. Go onto gallery at the top and then select tutorials in the options. There are a number of video tutorials there.

If you are not going down the route of making a ball and socket armature, make a well made wire armature.

A well made wire armature is better than an 'ok' ball and socket armature. Its easier than cutting up a jointed bionicle toy. The joints will most likely be bad for animation and 'pop'. Not moving smoothly.

thespazicat Posted: Jul 26th 2008

Not all the time if you do it correctly. BUT ANYWAY!! thanks for the tiedown sheet.;)

Chocachoc Posted: Jul 27th 2008

Thanks a lot Nofby! I used home made armatures in my sports video, but they arnt as detailed at all as that.

Nofby Posted: Jul 27th 2008

No problem guys!

Animator Posted: Jul 31st 2008

thats the logest message and most detaled i have ever seen on any forum

Animator Posted: Jul 31st 2008


Animator Posted: Jul 31st 2008

Nofby, Instead of using milliput for a wire armature can you use oven baked newplast cause it goes hard when you put it in the oven?

Nofby Posted: Aug 7th 2008

Newplast is plasticine that does not harden in the oven. So no. If you do, you will have toxic fumes coming out of your oven and a very nasty smell!

You really should use epoxy putty. Its actually cheaper than Fimo and works alot better. I use it for my puppets. Look here.... (called Milliput)

I've included a pic of a puppet who has a milliput and wire armature.

But if you want fimo....( It won't be as robust as putty)

You can use Fimo if its easier to get hold of! But its not AS good as milliput.

Animator Posted: Aug 8th 2008

o yeh lol i just rememberedanout the toxic fumes bit

Chocachoc Posted: Aug 8th 2008


Chocachoc Posted: Nov 1st 2008

I followed your instructions and made an armature. What do you think Nofby?

Nofby Posted: Nov 1st 2008

Great work Chocachoc! It looks fab! One tip:

For the spine, next time, be sure to make it longer than it is now, so it can bend in different places, not the same spot. If it bends in the same spot, it will fatigue more quickly.

Also, twist more pieces of wire together for the spine and legs, it will make it stable and stronger. About 4 or 5 for the spine, 3 or 4 for the legs, 2 for arms and neck.

Since you are using clay? It dosen't matter as much.

For a first try- very well done!!

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

I'm going to try and clothe this one.

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Great! Be sure to keep us notified on your progress. The method is a little tricky, but fun too!

Whats the character?

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Vince Noir from the Mighty Boosh. I'm going to do a remake of one of their entrances (1st series).

I've got the foam all ready to be stuck on. Could you add some more of the tutorial please?

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Nice! I sure will. Are you using that sponge? If it soaks up water and has quite big porous holes, its not the right stuff.

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Ow, can I try to use it anyway? Does it matter about the density?

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

It does really, especially if you try to glue it. Also, if its really porous like that its hard to animate because when you move an arm or leg you squish the foam really easily and its annoying.

Have you got an old mattress to rip foam out of?

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008


Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Mmmm, I'll try to find a supplier

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

I looked at a mattress I have that is thin and has an open bit so I could see the foam. The density isn't very different.

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Here is the cut up foam.

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

That looks alot like it


Try big fabric/sewing/craft shops for sheets of soft urethane foam.

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

It looks roundabout the same. What do you suggest?

I'm not sticking the foam on until I know how to do all of the steps so I might be able to find a craft shop by then.

Sorry, ill be back in a bit.

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

It looks very porous...

This is a supplier

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

However its american.

Ask around craft stores, fabric shops, sewing places

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Theres 3 specialist suppliers, but, I just checked. Ebay has got it.

I just use foam from an old urethane/upholstrey foam mattress, but I'm going to get some new stuff from

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

Ok. Ill probably look in craft shops and stuff. I dont want a large quantity.

I might just use the foam I have.

In what ways does it affect animation?

Nofby Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

If I were you I wouldn't use it. Just buy some from Ebay, or ask at fabric stores or clothes stores.

If looks way too porous, too many holes, meaning its not very dense and won't cut well into the body mass shape.

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

I was able to cut it quite easily into the strips I needed.

DancingShauny99 Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

They are both very cool!:)

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 2nd 2008

I'm not sure, but I might just use that stuff. I am pretty sure I can create the body mass and I don't think it will affect animating any more than the other foam. Its quite soft. If you have anything else to say about my foam, please say because I'm the beginner and you are the non-beginner.

conty Posted: Nov 4th 2008

chocachoc you could try tin foil scrunched up tight, ive done that before now;)

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 4th 2008

I think ill use the kitchin sponge I have, thanks for the suggestion though! I used it in my wendoline.

Harry Posted: Nov 4th 2008

I have an idea for an animation. Models made by Fimo/Sculpey, Newplast and Milliput.

Chocachoc Posted: Nov 4th 2008

Ok, good luck!

Nofby Posted: Nov 5th 2008

Chocachoc- its your call, not mine. But put bluntly, its the wrong material and won't be effective as a build-up foam. It needs to be quite dense and have a more closed cell structure.

iantimothy Posted: Nov 18th 2008

hey nofby, when you do tie downs, with the nut going thru the floor, how does that not make a hole in the set? or how do you cover it up.

cavor Posted: Nov 19th 2008

iantimothy holes can be filled with a similar coloured plasticene as your set

iantimothy Posted: Nov 19th 2008

what if the set is not made of plasticine

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