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How to build an "endoskeleton" frame for a lifesize figure (without mannequins)

Anyone have any ideas or know-how on how to build a frame/skeleton for a lifesize body? I'm looking to build some lifesize human replicas, and would even like to articulate some of the major joints, like waist (rotation) and shoulders.

And preferably without having to buy a mannequin, as the darned things are pretty expensive! (and probably wouldn't adhere well to an articulation implementation).

Picture of How to build an
imdomi5 years ago
If money and time weren't an issue I think a metal skeleton would look cool, basically using pipes or aluminum hollow rods and a variety of bearings and such. I'm guessing that could get you up to about $300 for parts. From your post it seems there's a budget, so PVC piping could lower the costs. For example for a leg I would probably use two sizes of pipe. A smaller diameter for the bottom portion, nested just inside the larger upper leg. Drill a hole straight through both pipes at the joint and hammer a wooden dowel in. The pipe ends would need to be shaped a bit to get the correct movement. Instead of a dowel you might want to use a bolt and a butterfly nut so that you can tighten him in position; but there will be a bunch of joints so bolt prices may add up quick.

If you want it to really look like a skeleton I'm seeing a "Full Disarticulated Budget Skeleton With Skull" on Amazon for about $130 including shipping. That seems like a good price for such perfect parts so that may be your best bet.
Thrasym5 years ago
There are lots of claymation character skeleton tutorials and videos online. I think I saw a few on the site here too. But anyway, they start off with a skeleton that can articulate. I think many of the designs could scale up to human size easily enough. Others obviously won't since they're nothing more than rubber fingers on pipe cleaners, for example. It's not something I'm very familiar with though, so I can't give any actual advice.