It was just so hot here yesterday, that I never did get outside to do the latex work. I figured I would go ahead and answer some of the questions from yesterday in this blog post.
Rich asked about the tape loops, and how did I cut them …. They’re actually K&S brass tubes, the size is 1/8 x .014 round #127
The easiest way that I’ve found to cut them, is with a drywall knife and a new blade. I set the knife on top of the tube, and ‘roll it’ along a table while pushing down. If your knife is sharp it doesn’t take long to go through.
Rich also asked which is more durable, latex or silicone? … and the answer is silicone, it will last a lot longer. Latex will eventually harden and crumble, but that takes years.
The main reason I’m going with latex at this point (and this may change, cause not everything I try works) is because I’ve found a great way to paint it.
Since I’ve been an artist a lot longer than I've been an animator, I feel like the only thing I really have going for me in stop motion is my painting skills. I can put together a pair of boots from sculpey, fabric and glue, and they work and look ok … but once I paint them, they become part of the costume an really work.
Anyway I found this stuff called No-Tac Adhesive (from Monster Makers - Link) that makes painting latex really easy. I’m able to shoot it through an airbrush or just sponge it on, but I can easily paint as well with this stuff as I can with just straight acrylics, and that’s a huge plus for me.
Yesterday in the comments Shelley - Link brought up “if the wire can withstand the constant abrasion of the tube edges” … I had that exact problem with earlier experiments trying to bone out the fingers. I would make a finger with the segments, and because of the constant stress on such a specific point on the wire (and possibly the abrasion of the edges) fingers would break with just a few bends.
I eventually abandoned the idea of finger joints, but I always loved the way those hands looked because the movement was so natural.
The answer finally came to me when I started experimenting with wire and testing different types. I would basically take a piece of wire and a pair of pliers, start bending, and see how many times I could bend it without breaking it.
The first thing I noticed was aluminum wire (which is weird because its what most of the stop mo forums recommend) would break the quickest. I noticed steel wire was a little better, and eventually found a (steel) green gardening wire that seemed to last a lot longer.
With the aluminum wire I was getting a maximum of about twenty bends. With the gardening wire I was getting more like 70 bends (mind you, this was with a pair of pliers, basically trying to break it. Under normal circumstances inside a puppet, aluminum wire isn’t usually under that kind of stress)
So I made a finger from the gardening wire, with brass tube for joints, a little gauze wrap and dipped in latex. Then I just played with it for a while. The last few weeks, whenever I sat down at my computer I would bend on it. I’ve been trying to break it since I made it (almost a full month) and I haven’t been able to break it yet.
So I’m not 100% sure I’ve found the answer to making jointed fingers, but I’m very, very hopeful.
Thanks for all the questions and comments, and thanks for reading the blog guys.