So we want to make a stop motion film. After some research about how they do it at Laika studio's for movies like Boxtrolls and Coraline, I figured I should start by making an armature for the stop motion puppet.
You can also buy armatures, but they are very expensive and it is also a lot more fun to make them yourself.
Step 1: You Will Need
- Ball head screws (M2.5)
- Brass pipes with an inner diameter that is just smaller than the thread of the ball head screws (2x4)
- Small screws (M3)
- Brass plate (strips 2mm thick)
- M2.5 thread tap
- M3 thread tap
- 2 mm, 2.5 mm, 3 mm drills
- Drill press
- Power sander
Step 2: Make the Bones
I used a drawing from internet to figure uit the dimensions of the skeleton.
- Mark the length of the "bone" on the brass tube.
- Cut tube to length.
- Sand (or file) it square.
- Use the tap to cut thread in both sides of the tube.
- Screw the ball head screws in the brass tube.
Do this for all the "bones" you need.
Step 3: Drilling the Hinges
To make the plates for the hinges is something to do in series and not one by one.
- Drill 2.5 mm holes on both sides of the brass strip.
- Drill 2.5 mm holes between half of the holes you drilled.
- Drill 3 mm holes between the other 2.5 mm holes.
Step 4: Tread the Strip
- Use the 3 mm drill (or even bigger) to create some kind of "cup" on the 2.5 mm holes on the sides. Do this by just drill in the material a little bit.
- Cut thread in the 2.5 mm holes in the middle with the 3 mm tap.
Step 5: Cut the Plates
- Sand the end of the strip with all the holes as close to the first 3 holes as you dare, without damaging the holes.
- Cut the part with the first 3 holes from the strip.
- Use pliers to sand the other side also as close to the holes as you dare.
Be careful while sanding: this will get very hot!
Step 6: Put the Parts Together
For a hinge you need two "bones", a plate with a 3 mm hole in the middle, a plate with a M3 tread in the middle and a M3 bolt.
- Push the M3 bolt through the 3 mm hole.
- Screw the bolt just slightly in the M3 threaded hole in the other plate.
- Make sure that the "cup" on the outer holes of the two plates is towards each other.
- Hold the ball heads on both sides in between the two plates.
- Tighten the bolt to hold the "bones".
Step 7: The Torso
- Clamp two strips of brass together.
- Cut a line of four 2.5 mm holes through both strips.
- Make with the 3 mm drill a cup on the two outer holes on both strips.
- Drill one of the middle holes bigger with the 3 mm drill.
- Cut M3 tread in the same hole on the other strip.
- Also cut M3 tread in the other middle hole on both strips.
Step 8: Cutting the Torso
- File a gutter over one of the middle 2.5 mm holes that is not opposite the 3 mm hole.
- Cut both strips to size.
- Sand the torso pieces a bit smaller, but be sure to keep the width of the gutter.
- Use one M3 screw through the M3 hole to keep the ball heads in place.
- Use an other M3 screw to hold the brass tube that goes through the gutter in place.
Step 9: The Feet
- Drill a 2.5 mm hole in the middle of the feet.
- Drill a 2 mm hole where the heel comes.
- Cut M2.5 thread in the 2 mm holes.
- Cut M3 thread in the 2.5 mm holes. (this is to attach the model to the table while shooting)
- Cut the feet to size.
- Sand off the sharp corners.
Step 10: Lock It Tight
When your armature is how you like it, you will need to fix the ball head screws in place.
- Unscrew all the ball head screws until they are almost out of the tubes.
- Put a small drop of thread fixator (Loctite) on all the threads of the ball head screws.
- Screw the ball head screws back in.
- Wait at least one hour before playing, but wait one day to be sure.
Step 11: Start Animating
You can tighten or loosen the screws according to your wishes.
Step one of our movie is finished.
Now we just need a story, character design, background, music, voice actors, wardrobe, more armatures, camera, software.....
So, we are almost finished! :P