Puppets and Stuff

Puppet Construction => Puppet Building => Topic started by: TygerMin on January 07, 2018, 11:38:54 am



Title: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on January 07, 2018, 11:38:54 am
I want to do a Big Bird type puppet with a cable controlled mouth so I don't have to walk around with my arm in the air.  In planning, there are two areas I am seeking help with.

First is the skeleton/armature.  This will be six piece puppet where I create the head, arms, legs, and tail with me wearing a lab coat and pants for the body.  The neck and head will rest on my shoulders, and maybe attach under my arms with straps.  Is there a good way to utilize flexible pvc for this?  I know I could create "hula hoop" type circles, but how would I add vertical support?

Second is with the head.  Ideally, I would like it to be separate from the neck and attached to a helmet so it moved when I moved my head.  Does this sound possible?  Would it be semi-easy to accomplish?

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35261) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35261)


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Floydaroo on January 07, 2018, 12:51:28 pm
For the head, just build it out of 1" foam and use some PVC pipe running up to the top of the head and onto the top of a helmet. For the armature of the body, use stainless steel boning. going horizontal and vertical in a grid like pattern.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Floydaroo on January 07, 2018, 12:53:37 pm
for the mouth mech, you could use some thin cable, around a pully in the top of the head, and down to a trigger of some sort. then use springs to open the mouth again. Just an idea


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on January 08, 2018, 09:05:39 am
Boning is a great idea, thanks!  I could use a backpack frame which would add stability to the neck, and maybe also add some back spikes/fins to that area.  Could also possibly put the tail on that getup as well. 


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Floydaroo on January 08, 2018, 11:27:48 am
when you finish, post a pic, and keep us updated!


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on January 15, 2018, 08:26:12 am
Will do!  Initial goal is to have it complete by May 5th, but I struggle with these builds so that is an initial goal.  I do enjoy having a white board at work to play around with though, need one at home :)

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35309) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35309)


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Floydaroo on January 15, 2018, 06:19:49 pm
Great! It's never good to dive in without sketching first. I have a little sketchbook that is with me at all times. I sketch mechanics and designs in it.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on January 19, 2018, 06:44:01 pm
Mocked it up with pvc and sip ties.  May keep this and secure it with liquid nails.  Used an old dragon head to see how it may look. 

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35312) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35312)(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35315) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35315)(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35318) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35318)(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35321) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35321)


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on January 22, 2018, 09:35:57 am
Used Liquid Nails Fuze It, so now have to let it sit a few days to cure and will see how well it will hold together.  The temptation is to cover the neck with foam, but I really need to work on the head and claw first.  For the head, thinking about using a foam head as a base, and building it similar to fur suit heads using plastic canvas and foam.  The mouth plate will be wood and foam, and I am using one of Pagestep's video as a guide.  Not sure yet how to attach a wood and PVC based mouth plate to a Styrofoam head.  Not sure what material to base the claw off of, as I want it to be able to hold a clip board, but the back will also have the triggers for both the mouth plate and the claw itself.  I will essentially be holding this piece the whole time, so need to keep it as lightweight as possible. 


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 04, 2018, 09:23:22 am
Took over a week off thanks to the flu, but now back at it.  Decided to go with the Punto pattern as the base for the head:

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35325) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35325)

And worked on the base for the cable controlled mouth plate.  

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35328) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35328)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35334) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35334)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35331) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35331)

And a quick test to see how it might look.  The head will be about 6 inches to a foot taller, as I will be putting a piece of plywood on the top pvc to screw the mouth plate mechanism into. I have abandoned the idea of the head moving separately.  While I don't like turning the head by turning the neck, I couldn't see a good way to pull it off.   

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35337) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35337)

Now I have to order the cables and work on the triggers.  Also going to start working on the left hand, which will be a cable controlled crab claw.  Gives me a place to hide the two triggers, while still being to use the hand as it will hold items such as a clipboard.  The cable for the mouth plate will run down the wood, down one of the pvc pipes, then into my left sleeve to the claw controller.  One of the reasons the character will be wearing a lab coat.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on February 04, 2018, 01:16:59 pm
Looking good!


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Floydaroo on February 04, 2018, 04:44:09 pm
Great!


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: pagestep007 on February 05, 2018, 07:34:03 pm
Yes, doing very well. Looking good!


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 12, 2018, 08:02:00 am
Thanks :)  Was having a lot of problems with the pvc being too..uhm...tense and not wanting to pull, so I switched to hinge and springs.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35340) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35340)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35346) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35346)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35343) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35343)

Still having issues with the lever, possibly due to length.  Working on that now, but about to attach the foam head and start working on the that.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on February 12, 2018, 10:03:02 am
That is a shame that the PVC would not work for this. Might have been more durable. Make sure that you can easily get access to those springs.  The times I've worked with springs I've had some issues with wear and tear.  In fairness to springs though I was dealing with lighter weight smaller springs.

What are you using for the lever? You might have to play with where the cable is attached to the lower jaw.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 12, 2018, 10:17:32 am
The current plan is to have the springs rest against the edges of the mouth, so I can access them through a flap of fabric if need be.  Probably smear some hot glue on the foam so the screws aren't constantly pushing against it directly.  

As for the lever, had it in my mind that I could use a bike brake lever.  But it doesn't seem to provide enough tension, and failed miserably on my first attempt of a handmade lever.  Since the trigger will be in a sleeved left arm, currently thinking of using a wheel for a pulley and just do a handled draw string.  Not sure how to explain it, but have it in my head.  Ideally, I want the mouth trigger and a claw trigger on a board that I am holding in that sleeve.  Allows me to move the left arm.  


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Floydaroo on February 13, 2018, 02:57:14 pm
Whoa! I had no idea if that would work! Looks Great!


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 15, 2018, 10:13:24 pm
Worked on the head a bit:

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35355) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35355)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35358) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35358)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35361) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35361)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35349) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35349)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35352) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35352)


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on February 16, 2018, 05:54:07 am
Looks like you got the mech to work! Looking good!


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 19, 2018, 10:53:27 am
Well, to be fair, that is me directly pulling on the cable.  Still working on the mech, though I have changed the idea up some.  Playing around with the pulley lever idea, though the claw will be more manually controlled, like a puppet.  Thumb will open and close the bottom claw, while the cable is pulled by pointer and index fingers in the stationary top claw.  Hope to test that part soon.  Currently covering the neck with foam. 


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 19, 2018, 06:23:04 pm
And that's not gonna work.  Guessing due to distance and materials, I need a good pull to open the mouth.  Was trying to not have a false arm, but looks like I will still need to do that.  I suppose an arm at my chest is better than above my head?  /sigh


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 21, 2018, 10:28:49 am
The current plan on visibility is through an amulet that will be tinted plastic.  Going to decorate it up, and add a chain around the neck.  Currently debating on whether to look for a diamond or circle, either way it is going to be a bit bigger than I had anticipated.  I have done several costumes, and always looking at finding better visibility options!

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35372) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35372)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35375) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35375)


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on February 21, 2018, 01:54:35 pm
Well I think the diamond may look less like a view port once completed. I recently worked a show http://danieltigerlive.com/ (http://danieltigerlive.com/) where most the characters had strips or a pattern in their "skin".  On the heads those where view ports which allowed for seeing even out the sides of heads.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 22, 2018, 09:15:29 am
First, that is awesome!  Must be interesting to work on shows like that.  Anyway, Googled the characters, that is an interesting idea.  In the past, I have utilized vents due to the angle of the metal, I could see out and you could only see me at certain angles.  I have wondered if that was doable with foam, would make some good gills on this character. 


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 27, 2018, 09:37:10 am
So...yeah, getting discouraged on the mouth mechanism.  Filmed this as part of a monthly update on the fish room, and starting to think he needs to be more mascot.  So brainstorming for other ideas.  Maybe LED lights around the amulet that brighten when I talk?  Is that even possible?  Thought about having him talk through a puppet even.  Not sure now. 

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35383) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35383)


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Snail on February 27, 2018, 01:12:19 pm
What is it that you are unhappy with the most?

It looks like you are pulling pretty hard to open the mouth pretty wide. I would not open my puppet's mouth that wide unless he was yelling. Most mouth movements are much smaller for talking. Also it would help if the neck swiveled some instead of being so stiff to make it look more alive. Because you cannot see the movements it will be hard for you to adjust to make them better, unless you video tape and study or have a screen feed back inside to see as you move.  If you added feathers or other wiggly bits to the head top or whiskers by nose that moved sympathetically with your movements it would also add to the alive look without much effort on your part. Not sure I understand what the amulet is and why you want to light it up.  I am impressed with what you have done so far.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on February 27, 2018, 01:35:02 pm
hmm...some very good points.  I need to do some more work with it, mostly a moment of frustration.  Now trying to figure out why I was so insistent on opening the mouth so wide....might be an issue with the springs...but I can probably make that work too.  Thank you!

The amulet will be my view port, a decorated piece of smoked acrylic.  Figured that would be the best way to incorporate vision without taking too much of the illusion away.   


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Snail on February 28, 2018, 08:42:31 am
Oh I get it, creative idea to use amulet as view point. Frustrations when solved are called inventions, you will get there.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on March 04, 2018, 01:21:02 pm
Two steps forward...three steps back.  My wife started skinning the character:

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35385) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35385)

And apparently, the screws I used to attach the mouth plate weren't long enough as the head started to bobble.  Screws popped right out, essentially breaking his neck.  Had to open him up for emergency surgery.  Had to open the front of the body up as well as the back of the head to diagnose the problem.  But three longer screws and wood glue later, was able to stitch him back up.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35391) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35391)

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35388) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35388)




Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on March 04, 2018, 03:27:45 pm
You are not alone in this.  I've had many builds that have gone this way. :)

Other then the set back he looks like he is coming along nicely.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on March 05, 2018, 10:28:53 am
Thanks :)  It is one of those that while I know it happens, this build continues to test my patience.  I am getting much better though, unlike some of my earlier builds that were destroyed a few years ago.  Though, it doesn't help seeing Peter Linz's posts on FaceBook, Snook the Sloth is amazing!  I have to remind myself that this is a step towards that in the future :D  

Anyway, while my wife worked on skinning, I pulled out the foam to work on some possible fish puppets.  Decided to see if I could adapt a few Project Puppet patterns.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35394) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35394)

This is my favorite so far.  It is the fabric pattern for Borsa turned on its side, and using the darts for the mouth.  I am thinking this will make a good generic fish, that I can easily add to.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35400) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35400)

This was my first take.  I think it is the Roly skull with parts of the Mostro fabric added for the fin and tail.  

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35397) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35397)

I am really thinking baby shark on this one, though might be more of a slender fish.  I cut out the Glorified Sock Puppet fabric pattern out of foam, then cut it in half.  Used the GSP mouth plate as well.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35403) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35403)

This one...I don't know where I am going.  It is the skull of a pinhead pattern, glued wrong to create a wider head.  Which had me doing a custom foam mouth plate.  I am seeing some sort of catfish, but not sure how far I will take it.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: TygerMin on March 05, 2018, 10:36:35 am
hmm..well, not sure why the pics are upside down....


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on March 06, 2018, 05:28:51 am
I just assumed you where holding them upside down. I'm not sure either. They are correct when viewed in the gallery.


Title: Re: Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet
Post by: Tioh on June 03, 2018, 12:48:12 pm
Here's a rolling telescope stand for a 15kg puppet. The telescope uses elastic bands to stay in place. It does not take much force to lift her.
http://youtu.be/8w6J8FXHr_A (http://youtu.be/8w6J8FXHr_A)