If you don't have rafters I would consider getting 4 c stands and some water pipe.
Here's a pic of some c stands just for reference:
If you check on Amazon for Cowboy Studio lighting stand or C stand they have pretty good prices on them, or check used on ebay. They will easily extend 7 or 8 feet high. Some c stands have a big thick arm that extends to the side, some have a lighter thinner one - I think the thick one would be called a boom arm and is meant to bear a heavier load - you would usually hang a sandbag on the other end to balance the weight of a heavy lighting unit. But I would instead run the boom arms across to the top of the opposite c stand so they're supported at both ends. Then use lengths of steel water pipe to create the grid if you need some more.
Here's my old page about my lighting grid - I was lucky enough to have rafters: Lighting Grid page @ Darkstrider.net
You can see how I used a pair of worm screws to attach the water pipe to the side bars - simple once you figure it out. Worm screws (also called hose clamps) are sold in hardware or automotive shops for clamping hoses onto metal flanges - like the radiator hoses in your car.
Important - set up the worm screws so the cross piece (length of water pipe) is sitting on top of the one that's already solidly attached to the c stands. Does that make sense? It needs to be on top so when there's weight hanging from it it's supported from underneath, not hanging under the other pipe with all the weight hanging from the worm screws. They're too flimsy for that - but they'll work for securing the pipes as long as you place them properly so everything is supported from underneath.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I'll be hanging stuff in the animation, (spaceships able to move around, etc.) Would this be good for that also, or would something else be advisable?
Strider, that's great information and terrifically useful. Thank you.
Have a look at this video.
at about 20:00 they show a rig for a bird, using little pulleys to allow vertical adjustments. Might be useful for the spaceships... but it won't hold much weight.
For heavy stuff scaffolding poles are excellent. You can clamp them using u bolts designed for car exhausts - much cheaper than the wall brackets sold for theatre use. If you use the connecting brackets for scaff poles, like these:
there are t junctions, corners etc etc, which would enable you to make up a very strong, rigid (and heavy...) grid.
Simon, that video (The Essential Principles of STOP MOTION in 24 minutes) is really great! Thanks for posting that link, it has a lot of useful behind the scenes information in it.
Here's another video of a fan-film, showing how they did the effects for the spaceship from Futurama using Dragonframe.
I use armature wire for a flying rig. Usually it is attached at the side of the puppet that is hidden from the camera. Sometimes it is attached to a piece of wood that can simply slide around the set floor, sometimes it comes in from the side or from above.
I have two wires poking into the puppet, so it won't spin around like it can with 1 wire. The wire is painted out afterwards - with green, if it's a green screen shot like this one, If it is shot in a set, I have a clean background shot with out the puppet, so I can put that on another layer underneath (in TV Paint, Photoshop, After Effects etc) and erase the wire to reveal the background. The only fiddly bit is erasing where the wire goes behind the puppet, especially if it's furry. But it was shrunk down a lot in frame, so I could get away with just a soft edge on the eraser.
Oops! I was going to put a photo here, but I don't see the photo and video icons at the top of the text box.
With heavier puppets I use a ball and socket rig.