I have been doing a lot of research on different tie down methods but I am still confused about what kind of material is best for the floor of the set for a simple drill hole in floor and rod and bolt tie down puppet support. I have seen particleboard, plywood, and foam board for set floor material. Are all of these good options or are they better for certain situations and puppet weight?

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Foam board is maybe ok for very light puppets that can be held in place with a pin through the foor, but is too soft for screw type tiedowns. it will compress as you tighten the wingnut underneath, and as you animate the puppet it is likely to become loose and need re-tightening.
I use 12 mm (1/2") particle board, which is hard and fairly cheap. You can go thicker, but 12 mm is just enough. Plywood is ok too, although you can get some splintering when you drill the holes. MDF works as well. I have also used the masonite sheets that come pre-drilled with holes, used for hanfing tools on, but found that you need to use two layers to make it stiff enough. I even used perforated sheet metal once, but it needed a lot more framing, like a frame every 300 mm (1 ft) to stop it sagging or flexing. And the framing often turned out to be exactly where you wanted to put a tiedown. The metal with a grid of square holes suited the look of the set - a spaceship interior - but I never used it again except with a sheet of particle board underneath to support it.

Thank you very much. I didn't even think about ply wood splintering. I'm going to try particle board and MDF. On an unrelated note I found your tutorial on making latex build up puppets very informative!


StopmoNick said:

Foam board is maybe ok for very light puppets that can be held in place with a pin through the foor, but is too soft for screw type tiedowns. it will compress as you tighten the wingnut underneath, and as you animate the puppet it is likely to become loose and need re-tightening.
I use 12 mm (1/2") particle board, which is hard and fairly cheap. You can go thicker, but 12 mm is just enough. Plywood is ok too, although you can get some splintering when you drill the holes. MDF works as well. I have also used the masonite sheets that come pre-drilled with holes, used for hanfing tools on, but found that you need to use two layers to make it stiff enough. I even used perforated sheet metal once, but it needed a lot more framing, like a frame every 300 mm (1 ft) to stop it sagging or flexing. And the framing often turned out to be exactly where you wanted to put a tiedown. The metal with a grid of square holes suited the look of the set - a spaceship interior - but I never used it again except with a sheet of particle board underneath to support it.

I use thick cardboard. That can work if you reinforce it with wood beams underneath. Probably best for fairly small sets, though. Just like wire, cardboard becomes flimsier the bigger it is in relation to its thickness. That's pretty obvious of course, but another example of "The Inverse Square Law".

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