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Neck armature/skeleton for big puppet  (Read 1442 times)
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?


« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 11:41:29 am by TygerMin »
Floydaroo
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« Reply #1 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.
Floydaroo
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« Reply #2 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
TygerMin
« Reply #3 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. 
Floydaroo
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 11:27:48 am »

when you finish, post a pic, and keep us updated!
TygerMin
« Reply #5 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 Smiley

Floydaroo
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« Reply #6 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.
TygerMin
« Reply #7 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. 

TygerMin
« Reply #8 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. 
TygerMin
« Reply #9 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:



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





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.   



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.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 09:26:27 am by TygerMin »
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2018, 01:16:59 pm »

Looking good!
Floydaroo
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2018, 04:44:09 pm »

Great!
pagestep007
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2018, 07:34:03 pm »

Yes, doing very well. Looking good!
TygerMin
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 08:02:00 am »

Thanks Smiley  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.





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.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #14 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.
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