My dad has been a mechanical engineer for over 25 years and owns his own small engineering business. However, due to medical reasons, he needs to move away from heavy work and wants to do more precision stuff. I suggested he get into armature making, and he got pretty excited.
I'm probably gonna order him Tom Brierton's armature machining book.
Are there any other definitive texts he should look at?
He is an excellent machinist, so I would prefer things to be armature specific, discussing different joints in detail, armature design, etc. More high end stuff.
I think Jeff Taylor - The Armature Guy - might have done an eBook, but as I half-remember, it was pricey. Go with Tom Brierton's book. It covers the kinds of joints you would need.
Tom Brierton books cover the topic very well in my opinion. I am not a machinist but found the books very helpful.
Thanks guys! Will order that for him then.
Hopefully, between my dad and I, we will be able to offer some high end custom armatures to the public at a competitive price within a few months!
Hi Hendrikus, Great to hear your dad is interested in ball and socket armature making.
When I tried to get my head around armature making first time I didn't buy any books but found a lot of very useful info online via people's blogs, etc. I can try to dig up the resources I found most useful if that is helpful... I made my own joints for my first armature, I didn't have any mechanical engineering experience and very limited metal work experience then though!
I think it would be great if your dad could get in touch with animators who have animated much with ball and socket armatures to understand the importance of things like the range of movement of a joint, weight of the armature, which bits tend to break most, best place for rigging points, etc. And perhaps with other model makers to understand the other materials and processes that may be involved with finishing the puppet, how it can affect each other, etc.
If he has any specific questions I'm happy to try if I can help. Recently I've just had some experience working in the armature department at Mackinnon and Saunders and currently working on armatures for Aardman at John Wright Modelmaking. Learning a lot from the masters. :)
(PS: are you Dutch by any chance? Just judging from your name.. I am Dutch myself)
My Dad and I are both Dutch. We're both bi-lingual too.
I think the things with online resources is, I'd have to consolidate and print them for him. Which is not a problem, but time consuming. Still, I'd be interested in looking at them!
In terms of talking to animators - I think it would be good for him to make one or two first, and familiarize himself with different joint types (and even what rigging is). Then go from there.
He's a fantastic engineer, but knows little about animation. Figuring between us, with a "little help from my friends (such as you", we should be able to make some pretty nice stuff.
I think the initial focus is to hit that tricky spot in the market between kit-set and pro-level.
Basically, things like single-axis joints where they need to be etc.
I want him to read up on anatomy. I think if he can make lightweight but strong armatures, with the same range of motion as the human body (or thereabouts) it should be a pretty good start!
Will keep people here posted on his progress. I'm pretty damn excited myself that my new studio will have an in-house engineer