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uglymug ventriloquist mask!!!  (Read 21430 times)
« on: November 10, 2010, 06:04:21 am »

Hey guys, i have been trying for years to make a ventriloquists mask, with many clay prototypes, i have made quite a few that i wasn't very happy with, but have now made a mask that i think looks alright, so I'm posting some pix up for you all to tell me what you think, and if i am on to a winner, i will cast it in fibreglass and put the mechanism in to enable the mouth to open via a cable control!!

                       Photo0756        Photo0757         Photo0758        Mask

i wanted to create a mask myself rather than buy one of the brilliant ones that already exist to purchase, only because i get a greater satisfaction from using something that i have made. i love to come up with the mechanisms myself and i always find it a great experience to learn and discover new ways of doing things and better my puppet building in the process, after all, this is why we come to p&s!! i also wanted it to look different from other masks.

so please tell me what you think.

Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2010, 06:25:19 am »

I think it looks great!  I say go for it! 
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2010, 07:23:45 am »

I agree - it looks great! Keep us posted with the progress.  Can't wait to see the final product.
Billy D. Fuller
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2010, 10:13:23 am »

Looks like most of the mechanical mask I have seen.

Donald Woodford
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 10:34:28 am »

It's a winner!!!
Show us more, as you progress.
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 02:28:24 pm »

The smooth aspect of your masks is really great! I also like the design of the smile

But the fiberglass is a NO-NO for me for healthy reasons.
The primary fiber in fiberglass is glass, but it also contains a resin binder that releases formaldehyde and dyes. In recent years, it has been found that contact, particularly inhalation of the small fibers and fumes, can cause health problems. The binding resin in fiberglass may inflame the soft tissues of your throat if you inhale it. This inflammation can cause a soreness in your nose and throat and may lead to a lot of coughing as you try and clear your throat of the irritation.
Inhaling fiberglass can aggravate other existing health conditions, like asthma and bronchitis. The irritation of the fiberglass in your throat can trigger an asthma attack or make breathing even harder if you have bronchitis.
And last but not least fiberglass is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

I suggest using something else. Leather for example or maybe you can try paper mache with wheat paste. It is strong, soft, very light and you're quite sure not to die using it.
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 06:16:26 am »

WOW!!! thanks for the info and warning, the only reason that in using fibreglass and polyesther resin is because of its strength and lightness, papermache will not do the same job unfortunately and neither will leather, there has to be a brass tube mechanism attached to it and the entire mask itself needs to be able to withstand quite alot of force and be strong enough to last. i have used these products before and actually have a workshop with a fantastic ventilation system in it, plus i always use the proper masks and safety measures.

i have looked into other products, but until i find something that can do the same job, fibreglass will have to be an option.

also, once the fibreglass, resin and gelcoat have cured, and the mask is properly sanded and treated, the whole fibreglass mask will be completely harmless, this is how Lou Hilario and wanlu lunaria do their masks, plus many ventriloquist doll makers!!

if anyone has any other products they could suggest, then I'm all ears.

thank you again for the insight Skand.

Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2010, 07:17:43 am »

See if you can find information on carbon fiber.... I think that is right.  It is what the makers and puppet builders for "Lion King" use now.  I may be off on the name.  I have not used it but have heard good things about it.
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2014, 12:25:50 am »

Just wanna ask how is uour mask now. I want to make one too
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2014, 04:44:06 am »

Hello, well the 'uglymug mask' was a bit of an experiment and a great learning experience and I'm sure I will get back to that design in the future, but since I have moved on to a different design and called 'the chatterbox mask' and have since sold quite a few. If I can remember how I will post up a picture of one for you to see!! it now has some goofy teeth, but that is the only change to the pictures you see, and obviously they are painted with skin tones, highlights and lowlights to the face and a few inner mouth details.

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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2014, 03:55:08 pm »

This mask looks great!  Does it work with a bicycle brake cable like Wanlu offered and Lou Hilaro builds or is it string operated.  Also, how much is this wonderful creation?  Looking forward to seeing more photos.
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 06:11:24 am »

I have already PM'd you, but for the threads sake I will answer here too!! the mask basically works on the same sort of cable system that wanlu's mask do, except I have modified the basic cable system and mechanism to be more efficient and silent. I do not currently have any of these to sell (it is very time consuming and I perform a lot!) but they normally sell for about £200-£250 depending on the paint finish and mechanism as one mask has a better mechanism and cable system installed, pus a more detailed and professional paint finish and the other has a simpler paint finish and simpler mechanism, but they both work brilliantly and its just a point of preference, however people do normally enjoy the added extras that the more expensive version takes advantage of.
Thank you for the compliments, I still use the first one I completely created (the newest design) and have a blast using it, they really are a riot to use and the audience are usually in tears of laughter!!
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 02:29:15 pm »

I love it!!
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2014, 09:51:59 am »

Not sure I understand how you use this as a ventriloquist.  Do you put this on an audience member and then you do the voice and movement to make them look like the "dummy"?  How do you hold it against the head?  The designs look really interesting and you did a great job.

EPA recently increased the toxicity factor for formaldehyde by a factor of 12. Keep your lungs safe. Could you use those printers that make plastic molds for safer products?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2014, 04:39:08 am »

Yes, you have understood its use exactly, you provide the voice and mouth movement, which is funny anyway, but that together with them squirming onstage and their eyes and eyebrows showing expression really adds to the hilarity of the act. mine are attached to the head via two soft elasticated straps, one that goes over the crown of the head and the other that goes around the back of the head at the top of the neck, so that it holds it onto the face and supports its minimal weight upwards. my masks are coated with a layer that seals in everything, so toxicity is not an issue, however the products I use to make these masks are not toxic anyway.

In answer to your question about viable other products being an option, you probably could 3d print these, but the weight would be a slight issue unless you printed it really thin, however you wouldn't get the smooth finish and detail, but I have in the past experimented with vacuum forming ventriloquists masks and re-enforcing the thin plastic, but you really cant beat the detail and strength to weight ratio that 'glass reinforced plastic/fibre-glassing' gives you as my masks are only a few milimeters thick, but very light and strong.
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