Hi

I recently bought a beautiful looking ball and socket H1 Pro armature from Malvern Armatures. I also bought a pair of hands with it, and the fingers are made up with twisted copper wire. I've never used copper wire for fingers, only aluminium, but how do I make these more poseable?

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Looks like you could just have gotten some copper wire and make some hand armatures like that yourself. :)
Copper is sometimes used because it lasts longer than aluminium wire, it's still bendable but a bit tougher. That wire looks a bit thick for hands, as you noticed, mentioning that it is not quite poseable enough. I Sometimes combine aluminium and copper wire. I'm not sure I would use copper wire for hands. The good thing about making replacable hands is that you know they may eventually break and it is often easy enough to make an extra pair. I personally rather use quite thin wire for hands because it makes it so easy to animate them nicely. It means they will break, but as I mentioned that's not the end of the world. If you'd like to experiment with combining copper and aluminium I would get some thinner copper wire and twist some together with aluminium and on its own and see what you prefer...

How will you be making your hands?  Cast in silicone?  That would be fine.   

I usually build up my hands by painting layers of liquid latex over the aluminium wire, and copper or brass will degrade the latex, so not so good.  I choose the thicknesses of soft aluminium wire to get them so they aren't too hard to bend.  A single strand of 1.5mm aluminium wire is usable but  bit hard to bend, 2 or 3 strands of 1mm wire are much easier and can still bend the latex into any pose.   I don't know how this copper wire compares, but it should be ok for that size hand or they wouldn't supply it.

Thanks guys. R

oos, hi, I have used aluminium for hands and they have worked well I was just wondering if copper is a good substitute. Nick, I intend to try and cast these hands in silicone. I used your hand build up method and the results were great!

I might get rid of the copper wire and replace them with aluminium as I have used it before.

StopmoNick said:

How will you be making your hands?  Cast in silicone?  That would be fine.   

I usually build up my hands by painting layers of liquid latex over the aluminium wire, and copper or brass will degrade the latex, so not so good.  I choose the thicknesses of soft aluminium wire to get them so they aren't too hard to bend.  A single strand of 1.5mm aluminium wire is usable but  bit hard to bend, 2 or 3 strands of 1mm wire are much easier and can still bend the latex into any pose.   I don't know how this copper wire compares, but it should be ok for that size hand or they wouldn't supply it.

I used to use just aluminium wire, now I sometimes experiment combining with copper. All can work well depending on the purpose. Aluminium on its own should be fine for hands.

Ah good thing to remember about copper/brass and latex not going well together...

Hi there,

As mentioned, copper will typically work-harden a bit slower than aluminum, thereby giving you more working life.  You can extend the working life and make the copper more pliable (poseable) as well by annealing it gently with a propane torch after you twist the wires.  If you need to use latex, simply spray a coat of Sprayon 322 Silver Vinyl Coating on them; 

http://www.sprayon.com/product-categories/industrial-specialty-prod...   

For around $7 this stuff eliminates the latex contamination issues with ferrous metals and copper/bronze without any other considerations or movement restrictions/degredation...

Have fun!

Trikfx

that's cool method trijfx

Hey Ted, good to see you in here! I wonder if it's important to make sure you're using the right kind of copper, like it is with aluminum wire? Aluminum comes in either annealed (softened) or anodized (hardened). The anodized is what they sell in hardware stores, it's harder but brittle so not good for stopmo. You need to buy instead from a hobby shop or jewelry supplier and make sure it says either annealed or soft. I'll bet the same is true for copper. I've heard copper wire for bonsai trees is good and flexible.

Hi Strider, you'll still catch me lurking from time to time... ;)

I either recycled copper wire from whatever wire leads I had lying around or ordered pure copper spools from McMaster-Carr. Because it's so easy to anneal (aluminum will melt on you in a heartbeat if you blink) I never worried about it too much. If it felt stiff, a second with the torch would have it soft again and ready to go. Add the fact that I could solder it easily as well meant I haven't used aluminum since 1992 when I first figured all this out. BTW, if you do solder copper wire (say, to attach to an armature) make sure to use anti-flux where you need to retain flexibility and keep the solder from migrating or "snap"; you will be cursing... ;)

Best,

Trikfx

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