I wonder if I can tap the collected SMA brains on the subject of eyebrow paddles, which I am not doing too successfully just now.

I have used T shaped paddles with a little bit of epoxy putty on the end but have found that they are not always able to resist the spring back of the silicone. I used a single strand of 1.5mm wire, glued in with epoxy, and also found that it was not easy stopping the wire from eventually rotating in its hole. Some were quite short and broke where they came out of the skull armature, which I do in wood or lightweight Fimo.

What tips does anyone have? Should I try a U shape, so using two fixing points? This makes it harder to place the wires in the exact position. Also, is it better to cut back the skull armature so the wire is a bit longer? And what about using a B&S joint to attach the paddles to? (I am thinking this will introduce a whole new level of complexity that I don't really need!)

I have been trying to place the eyebrow wires accurately in the mould by drilling holes right through the armature, so I can push them to the correct position. Is this how you get them in the right place?

Any advice for getting this right would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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I make a loop of the wire, so it is twisted together where it goes into the skull block.  That seems to help the epoxy glue grip it better, I haven't ever had it loosen in the hole.  A loop allows me to open or close the loop to adjust how far it sticks out.  I think I also used 1.5mm wire for silicone puppets.  I've used thinner 1mm for bare exposed eyebrows where they aren't buried in flesh, but the 1mm wouldn't overcome the resistance of silicone.

Two holes would stop it rotating I guess, But I haven't needed to.  I have had 2 separate wires loosen up and start rotating in 2 holes in a metal hip block, but that was making replacement legs for a small pterosaur puppet that Peter Montgomery made. Because it was such a small puppet there was only room for a 3mm wide block.  The wires went through from side to side, and the puppet started sagging in the middle of a shot as the glue lost its grip. 3mm didn't give enough width of hole for the wires to grip. Possibly the 2 single smooth wires didn't leave spaces for the epoxy glue to get in, pushing them through just pushed all the glue through as well.  It could be 2 holes were worse than one hole with 2 wires twisted together, which would have grooves where the glue could collect.  

 I hadn't ever thought of pushing it through from the back to be able to adjust the depth with it sitting in the mould, sounds like an ingenious solution!

I always had trouble accurately positioning face wires with foam latex heads, where you have to put foam in the face and then sink the armature into it.  But with silicone I use a temporary block below the neck that fits the mould, so I can get the position just right with an empty mould.  Or with a couple of layers of skin painted on. Then I pour some silicone in the face,  enough to grip the mouth and eyebrow wires.  Once it is set in place I can remove the temporary block from the neck wire, and close up the mould and pour the rest of the silicone in.  (Shown here in my silicone head tute that you have probably seen:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fWdZnQRzB0&t=38s )

Thanks, Nick. I think you have put your finger on where I have gone wrong. My paddles just had a single wire going into the head, and had quite a short exposed length, thus stressing it at a single point. Two wires will solve this and the rotating issue. Many thanks!

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