How Do I Set Tension For a Ball And Socket Armature? Should I Grease The Joints?

  Anyone have any tips on setting the tension for the joints on my ball and socket joints? I know the legs and hip joints should be somewhat stiff, and also that the silicone will fight the motion to some degree...But for the more delicate movements such as wrist and elbow, as well as tiny 3mm face armature joints... is it a matter of preference? My puppet is a standard human form, 1:6 scale and will be cast in ecoflex 30 silicone. 

  Also, these tiny 3mm joints I bought from Animation Toolkit  have a "Grease Hole" ( http://www.animationtoolkit.co.uk/3mm-pro-single-ball-joint/ ).

  The joints have pretty rough movement, and im wondering what kind of grease could be applied without inhibiting my Platinum silicone cure. Is greasing a ball and socket armature common? Should I apply grease to all of my (larger) joints before casting, or just these tiny ones I'm having trouble with?

Thanks!

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That hole is not for grease or oil, it is just where they drilled through the metal all the way. What you'd want to do is clean it with some dish detergent and water until all that oil is completely off the parts - as well as any tiny metal shavings. Then make sure to dry it as much as you can with a hair dryer or put your parts in an oven on low for 10 minutes or so.

After that put your joint together and then tighten it down as much as you can to where you can still move the ball - but to where it's not easy to do. Then move your ball back and forth and side to side. The steel ball will seat itself that way a little better and give you slightly better movement.

Lastly - you'll want to cover the joint with teflon tape used in plumbing before pouring silicone around them. It's not 100% necessary but will help those parts move without binding as much.

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