Does anyone use/know of a method to make very small joints for a ball and socket armature? I'm talking about knee joints in particular, so they can actually be hinge joints if that makes it any easier. Most of what I see (aside from feature film armatures) are tremendously bulky. I'm fairly inexperienced with ball and socket, so if it seems unlikely that I'm going to be able to pull it off, please let me know.
I would need these joints to be significantly narrower than 1cm.
Now that I'm sitting here writing this, I'm starting to think that I should just stick to wire. But I'd be very happy to hear what you guys think!
I use chain plates, from drive chains from motorcycles or machinery, when I need really thin thin ball joints. They are made from a hardened steel so can be thin but still strong. Not sure about bicycle chains, if they are strong enough but they might be. If you can get the loose plates that's ideal, otherwise you would have to drill out the round rod that links one side to the other. There are things that join the two ends of a chain, with one plate with two rods attached, and one loose plate for the other side, and a circlip thing to lock it on. I got a few, only to use the loose plate. The original holes are where the balls fit, but you also need to drill one or two additional holes for the tension screws. You need a cobalt steel bit.
Otherwise, wire fits inside thin legs very easily! Way back when I animated blind (on film with no frame grabber), there is a noticeable difference between the walk of an ostrich-like dinosaur with wire legs, and a ostrich-like flightless bird with ball joint legs. But later I could get good results with wire legs on another similar creature (a movie camera on emu legs) because I could see the moves on the framegrabber.
I can't find any photos of the joints tonight.
Have you looked at the 5mm ball and socket joints from Julian Clark?
They are 13mm x 8mm x 6mm. Or is that still too big?
Don't think I had ever visited the Stopmotionshop before! Some pretty nice stuff there!!
Perhaps the best thing is the threaded rods with integral balls - no threadlock or brazing necessary! Reasonable value too.
you could also check out the joints that are used in glasses, they can often be tightened and are tiny. or tim spring, who makes really small joints: http://www.stop-motion-armature-components.com/
I think I'll just end up using wire. It might make animating slightly more difficult, but I've got to get moving with this project.
I think the ones on the stop motion shop would still be too wide, anyway. In the future, I'll see what can be done with bike chains.
This is the camera with skinny emu legs, nothing but wire in there. I don't think I could have done joints that thin, even with thin chain plates, because the Allen key heads on the screws stick out on one side, and the nut sticks out the other side. So wire is probably the way to go - it is certainly faster to make. As long as you use your frame grabber, you can make wire work pretty well. I was happy with the way these legs animated.
hot needles into mardi gra beads with bigger ones hollowed out mealted and streached