Help Needed ON creating articulated Spider legs thank you!

Hello hope this is the right place to wright for help but yes I'm looking for assistants on how to create super articulated spider legs 4 to be exact I will post some pics of what im hoping to create with the help of the community of this lovely website thank you!.

((( IN THE PICTURES WHAT IM TRYING TO CREATE its sort of a spider backpack that has articulated legs ))))

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Hi Angel. You want articulated spider legs- as in something that can be tensioned because it is hinged? By definition, a hinge can only swing on one axis unless it has a pivot above or below it. If that's what you want, you can find or make hinges, build pivots... But since you're just starting out, you might just want to go with doubled up 1/16" aluminum armature wire coated with fabric adhesive and then covered in athletic foam underwrap before dipping in liquid latex, painting it once it dries with a mix of a small amount of liquid latex in a larger amount of acrylic paint. 

Something similar was done for the spider beast in this video and it's very effective. 

https://vimeo.com/28032904

  Ya that hinged idea sounds great but it cant just go up and down i would like it to swivel left and right for more possibility and perhaps a ball joint at the end that attaches to the back pack for even more articulation. I know im fairly new to armature building but im sure with the right ideas and instructions i believe i can make the legs if fairly guided of course.   

Donald Carlson said:

Hi Angel. You want articulated spider legs- as in something that can be tensioned because it is hinged? By definition, a hinge can only swing on one axis unless it has a pivot above or below it. If that's what you want, you can find or make hinges, build pivots... But since you're just starting out, you might just want to go with doubled up 1/16" aluminum armature wire coated with fabric adhesive and then covered in athletic foam underwrap before dipping in liquid latex, painting it once it dries with a mix of a small amount of liquid latex in a larger amount of acrylic paint. 

Something similar was done for the spider beast in this video and it's very effective. 

https://vimeo.com/28032904

The legs in your picture are skinny enough that Don's wire suggestion is a good choice. You can ensure the leg stays stiff on the long sections by slipping the wire inside a brass or plastic tube. Leave lots of room for bending, at least 1/2" - don't try to make a "tight" joint.  All the bending will be in that tiny area and the wire will break faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle".

Other joint types can be machined to fit in that space. Easy if you have the experience, not so easy if you're just starting out.

I made and animated 3 spiders for Lunatics: A Love Story.  Two had leg joints that were wire, and the third, larger, hero spider had ball joints at the body and hinge joints for all the others. The ball joints gave lots of flexibility where I needed it, and the hinges kept the legs in a straight line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM-M4ToMRzY

A crappy picture of one of the small wire spiders is here: http://www.hettmerfx.com/stopmo_lunatics.html

Sounds like a good plan but u said u had ball and socket joints on the larger spider u animated does that mean its harder to do that with a smaller figure like for example a 6" figure

I used wire in the small spiders because they were only in that one scene I linked to.  The other spider was used in several scenes and had to be more durable.

In general, making a ball joint is harder than making a wire joint. That's probably obvious. :-) I can make a simple ball joint with sandwich plates in an hour or a bit less, but can make a wire joint in under 5 minutes. There also comes a point where it's small enough that machined joints aren't practical or possible to make.  Fingers are a good example of that.

If the Spiderman figure is 6", and I'm assuming you're starting with a poseable action figure, then I would definitely go with wire.

You have received some great advice already:) I agree that if you are making a spider that is approximately 6 inches tall, and you are new to building/fabricating and armatures, wire will likely be your best bet for success. If you have a large budget, or money is no option, then I am sure you can find someone to build you something bespoke. The best armature makers and fabricators in the world can be found on this site or online somewhere if you wish to go that route.

It is also possible to find 3mm ball and socket joints and put it together yourself if you wish. One place I know of is here at Animation Toolkit, where you can buy many sizes of individual joints. The 3mm ones are around 16 pounds each so a whole set of spidey legs would cost a pretty penny. My wallet's spidey senses are tingling just thinking about it ha ha.

http://www.animationtoolkit.co.uk/john-wright-joints/

As mentioned by Don and Dave, aluminium wire is well suited for tiny or thin characters and appendages. Good luck with your project :)

 

I very much appreciate your time and excellent advice Dave thank you so much for the ideas Im definitely going to take your advice on the wire joints system for this project for it seems like you said more practical for this project considering its a small 6 inch figure. I have one more request can you perhaps list the supply's I could use to make this project a success, as in brand of wires what kind of metal what type of tools everything basically as if you where preparing to do this your self techniques and all. Im hoping all the stuff you decide to list can be found at my local Home Depo (Hardware store).

ya wow thats a very interesting website for ball joint system parts but man o man are they pricey and it seems the ball joint 3mm looks slim from the side but from above its real thick in width, the legs need to be real slim as shown in the picture ball joints seem to fat but ya the wire method seems like the better choice for it will be more accurate in how skinny the legs look in the picture and hopefully will be just at good in articulation. Now that I know what route I want to take I need to know what I will need other then Aluminum wire also what techniques do I use to make the wire look like the pictures shown like how do I make a frame for the wires and how to make them articulated at some points and not all some one said something about a metal tube you slip the wire throw to make a bone frame of some sort could still use some help on those things.

TEDCO Studios said:

You have received some great advice already:) I agree that if you are making a spider that is approximately 6 inches tall, and you are new to building/fabricating and armatures, wire will likely be your best bet for success. If you have a large budget, or money is no option, then I am sure you can find someone to build you something bespoke. The best armature makers and fabricators in the world can be found on this site or online somewhere if you wish to go that route.

It is also possible to find 3mm ball and socket joints and put it together yourself if you wish. One place I know of is here at Animation Toolkit, where you can buy many sizes of individual joints. The 3mm ones are around 16 pounds each so a whole set of spidey legs would cost a pretty penny. My wallet's spidey senses are tingling just thinking about it ha ha.

http://www.animationtoolkit.co.uk/john-wright-joints/

As mentioned by Don and Dave, aluminium wire is well suited for tiny or thin characters and appendages. Good luck with your project :)

 

Yes, those John Wright custom ball joints are very nice but you do pay for the quality. Sounds like your best bet is to search through the countless posts and threads on this site. Tutorials showing the basic skills you will need to learn to make your spider arms are on this site in various places. Even watching the wire and epoxy humanoid and latex build up tutorials can show you ideas to go from to modify in your own creative way for your project like using four short pieces of parallel K&S square brass tubing to plug your spider arms into. A great place to start is here; 

http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/page/an-introduction-newbies-ple...

It is always much easier to give helpful advice to very specific questions. You will likely have better success shopping at your local hobby store if your Home Depot is like our Home Depot.

Cheers,

Tim


One 2 last quick question for something as thin as spider legs how much wire would u use in a single leg? like I know you need to twist 2 wires together, does Aluminum wire come in one size thickness or many and if it does what is the recommended size thickness for something like what i'm doing?
TEDCO Studios said: 

Yes, those John Wright custom ball joints are very nice but you do pay for the quality. Sounds like your best bet is to search through the countless posts and threads on this site. Tutorials showing the basic skills you will need to learn to make your spider arms are on this site in various places. Even watching the wire and epoxy humanoid and latex build up tutorials can show you ideas to go from to modify in your own creative way for your project like using four short pieces of parallel K&S square brass tubing to plug your spider arms into. A great place to start is here; 

http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/page/an-introduction-newbies-ple...

It is always much easier to give helpful advice to very specific questions. You will likely have better success shopping at your local hobby store if your Home Depot is like our Home Depot.

Cheers,

Tim

Wire comes in many thicknesses. Generally you would buy it at a good art store, not at a hardware store. Hardware store aluminum wire isn't annealed.

Look at the Handbook links at the top of all pages at this web site for answers to your questions.

Another link is here: http://animation-tutorials.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-simple-wire-...

It's time to for you to do some research.  Your questions are basically "how do I do it all", and there's enough of that information already on the web that can be found via Google and in these handbooks an on stopmotionworks.com and other places that it makes more sense for you to find it that way rather than having us type it all in again here in this thread.

This spider has wire in the legs - 2 strands of 1.5mm (1/16th") aluminium armature wire in each leg if I remember correctly.  It is bigger than a real spider, but smaller than the legs you would make for your 6" figure, but I think 2 stands of wire that 1/16th" wire would still be about right.

To answer your question - 1.5mm (1/16th") and 3mm (1/8th") are the most common sizes of wire for stop motion armatures, but there are many sizes.  Heavier stuff can be good for supporting rigs, but not much use for puppet armatures.  I use a thinner 1mm wire twisted together for fingers.  If you can't get it at a local art supply store, one online supplier in the US is Whimsie, look at the Soft Round Aluminum Wire:  http://www.whimsie.com/aluminum%20craft%20wire.html?gclid=CJSi4bjR6...

1mm wire is also called 18 gauge.  Their 1.6mm, or 14 gauge, is about what I would use for these legs.  The 2mm or 12 gauge is also a really useful size once you get up to 9 or 10 inch tall puppets.  My adult human puppets are usually 10 to 12 inches tall and would have 2 strands of 3mm wire in each leg and up the spine.  For a 6 or 7 inch tall human I would use the 1.5mm wire.

I didn't put tubing on the legs, but I did paint some 5 minute epoxy glue on the wires, in between the joints, to slightly stiffen them. In your size, a little epoxy putty could be added to build up the "bones".  Like Dave said, try to leave a gap of half an inch if you can, so the wire isn't forced to bend in one tiny spot.  I twist my wires very loosely, overtwisting can make the wire more prone to breakage.  After the glue set, I dabbed on layers of latex to build up the shapes of the legs.

 This spider had to run across a wall, and on a spiderweb made of fishing line, and the two wires came in handy for that.  On the wall or a tabletop, one wire poked into a small hole to help locate the foot, the other wire stayed out and made a tip to the leg.  On the spiderweb, the two wires gripped it like tiny crab claws to hold it in place.  Not as secure on the wall or table as threaded tiedowns, but the there was no room to fit those into the skinny leg tips. 

Wire is much cheaper and quicker than making ball joints, and doesn't require much in the way of tools.  (Or experience with precision drilling hard metal, and silver soldering.)    The body had a small block of wood in it, so I drilled holes to glue the wire into, but if you don't have a drill or saw to cut the block you can leave out the wood block, just twist the wires together and squish some epoxy putty over it to bind it all together and make the body block.   I've used wire armatures for many professional film projects, and if you make good use of your frame grabber, you can get good results with it.  A well made baljoint armature is better, but a poorly made one is much worse than wire.

Obviously a spider backpack is a very different shape, but i would make it in much the same way as I do a human body like the one in this tutorial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbF6m3BeGUQ 

 

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