A lot has been going on recently and everything has been very hectic. Last week I made my first ball and socket armature so I thought I'd show a few behind the scenes photos and not really a tutorial but a bit of a ramble about it :)
So when I say "I made my first ball and socket armature" I kind of didn't make it all myself in that I used various pre made joints and soldered everything together. I dont have the equipment to make my own joints and why worry when there are some fantastic joints out there already for the taking, albeit a pricey taking in some respects.
The knee and elbow joints are from the amazing John Wright http://www.jwmm.co.uk/
John Wright's supplies Aardman with a lot of their joints and also a lot of other people in the UK and Europe. They are pricey but most definitely worth it as the quality is outstanding! He also gives you a length of steel rod for each joint making it even easier to put the parts of your armature together.
All the other joints are from a shop that just gets better and better all of the time. The joints can be bought separately or as part of the fantastic armature kit 'Armacreature'
It's hard not to sound like a sales pitch but this is the best armature kit I have ever used and I have used a lot of them! http://www.animationtoolkit.co.uk/armacreature-professional-armature-kit/
With all of the rods, K & S and steel plates cut to size, it was time to get messy.
Most of the components
My dirty colourful soldering block
All of the parts soldered together They almost look like I've gone into the piercing business
Now, for the leg and arm sections I needed to solder a nut on to the ends so that I can slot hands & feet in and lock them of to stop them slipping out while the puppet is being move around or even while it holds its position. I drilled a whole through the K&S to the correct size then to keep the nut in place while soldering I just used some old screws to keep it weighed down and to also stop any rogue bits of silver solder getting into the thread of the nut. A tiny 3mm grub screw is what pops inside when done and tightens up with a wee allen key.
As I'm fairly new to silver soldering I did find that I ended up charring most of the components but
that's ok as a little bit of elbow grease some jewelers pickle and some sanding got all of the marks off. I also managed to mutilate myself with various burns and cuts and a good old poke in the eye but hey its not a proper job unless you injure yourself, right?
All the soldering done but very charred!
After all of the soldering was finished I needed to then grind down the joints as even though they are small they were not small enough. This was a tough job as I need to make sure they stay strong enough for the job. But with a bit of TLC and mini bench grinder, all went well.
And here he is all finished. He stands at just over 11" tall
I actually really, really enjoyed making this and can happily say it has been my favourite part so far of this puppet build. I cant wait to make another one!
I'm currently working on casting his body in silicone. Hopefully I'll have a spare few moments to document how that goes.
Anyway, back to work! I hope you are all doing great!