Friday, May 28, 2010


Woo hoo!
After 5 attempts we finally got the final cast of Chris Bot to work.
I had mentioned on a previous post that Chris Bot lacked the expression in his arms and so I moved his arms to the outside. Quite a simple fix but getting the foam latex to work was a nightmare!
So after speaking with Justin and Shel from Stop Motion Mission(Thanks!  You guys Rock) I got some good advice and basically baked the thing for 12 hours on really low heat.
I'm using a small oven, the kind you have on a counter top and so I believe what was happening was when I was baking it at the recommended temperatures the elements were causing uneven heating and causing steam pockets which pulled the casting from the mold.
By cooking it on lower heat for longer it prevented these pockets and viola, it worked.
So here's a photo of the finished cast along side the old one. BTW, I did a test paint on the old one and it looks pretty cool. I love the metallic paint. Rocks.
Chris Bot prior to being trimmed.
Chris Bot get's a trim

Monday, May 24, 2010

Christ Bot Take 2

Over the weekend I made a rig that would be more solid than the LEGO and clay rig I had set up before.  It consisted of drilling into a half inch thick piece of round stock steel, epoxying three strands of twisted aluminum armature wire, and then adding soldered square tubing with a counter balance to help keep Chris Bot up.
I then animated Chris Bot doing a quick walk and thinking about what he was going to shoot next.
The rig worked pretty well when walking but when I wanted to make Chris Bot jump he was too heavy to be picked up by the rig and so I had to hold him up with my hand in the shot.
Here's a video and a link to you tube of 5 seconds of Chris Bot.

One thing I noticed is that Chris Bot's arms are hard to use for expressions while he's walking since they stick out in front of him. And the fact he has no hands as of yet makes it even more difficult for him to do things. Chris Bot 2.0 (coming to a store near you) will have his arms shifted to the proper place, where his shoulders are at and will have the added advantages of hands and a remote control for this camera rigs.

This should help him as he takes photos and moves around.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chris Bot Lives!

So I couldn't wait to get the paint on Chris Bot and I just decided to start animating him.  After all, I mean, why not right?
So I made a rig out of LEGO and plasticine that kept Chris Bot standing and pulled out the web cam and started animating the guy.  The results can be seen on you tube and yes, I still have the trial version of Stop Mo pro but it's not that bad.  The rig wasn't removed because I think I can't do rig removal with the trial version, well at least export rig removal.
Anyhow, here's the embedded video and a link to the you tube video.  Once you viddie it, then drop me a line and tell me what you think!

At the end Chris Bot falls down but for some reason, you tube clipped the video.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Birth of Chri Bot

Okay, this video is pretty long (3.5 minutes) but it shows how I went about getting Chris-Bot out of his mold.
So the next time, I'll put prying wedges into the mold!

We'll see how the painting goes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Emo-Bot is my second attempt at casting a foam latex puppet. As seen in previous posts, the armature I created for Emo-Bot was originally thought to be for Chris Bot, after my friend Chris Schmuach, but unfortunately, I made the wrong robot. But Emo-Bot has two cameras like Chris although he's a little more shy about taking photos than Chris is.

The next step in the process is to paint Emo-Bot, a run down rusty old robot who goes around taking photos of things that don't quite work out. We'll see how it goes as I have a lot of cleaning up to do. If you have any tips on how to clean up the castings after they're done, I'd appreciate it!

Thanks and enjoy Emo-Bot!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Foam Latex Batch

Well today I made my first batch of foam latex for a puppet head I had made a couple of years ago of a coworker.
I had to do everything outside and I didn't have the proper temperature or humidity measuring equipment and the puppet head was small.
So what happened?
Well, I was outside, mixing the stuff with a hand blender (that is not recommended by the manufacturer) and as I was mixing, the instructions caught the wind and lifted up the cup of geling agent I had and it poured into the bowl and so my first batch was ruined.  It began to gel almost a minute later.  Of course, I was using a 50% ratio because my first mold was very small.
So I tried it a second time, this time careful not to have the gelling agent drop into the bowl and sort of winged the amount of time I was supposed to mix it.
I plopped the stuff into the mold as soon as possible cleaned it up and about a minute afterwards it began to set.
So now the mold is inside of a small toaster oven I have outside.  We'll see how that works out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chris Bot: Making the Armature and Mold

At work sometimes I get a little bored so I drew up a character named Chris bot after my good friend Chris Schmauch.  He's a photographer and usually carries around two cameras when he's shooting. Chris Bot is a little round robot that has two cameras on his head which take multiple photos at any time.  So in my insanity I decided to make a real life puppet out of Chris Bot. Making a puppet from scratch from a drawing you made on the whim is pretty cool.  I'm excited about Chris Bot and looking forward to animating him.  It will be an interesting story that so far I've storyboarded in my head and doesn't have the big cast of characters Tamalco has.
The First part of the process is to make a wire armature.
Second, you put plasticine over that armature and put in whatever details you want to show up.  In this case, I left out the rivets because I'll actually drill them into the mold.
Then, you put a base down of regular clay (thanks Justin) and mold it up to halfway around the body.  You press in a ball halfway up to create a key that will make the mold lock in together when you snap the parts together.  This is the tough part and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do this.  I thinking if I turn the clay into a thick slip that it may work better but will take longer to solidify.
After that you build up your walls, in this case I used LEGO because it allows for a perfect box.  I'm an engineer so I like square things.
Then you pour your plaster in and make one half.  After it dries, you pull out the clay, pour the other half and then you have a mold! 

This is a photo of the internal armature of Chris Bot.
This is a photo of the clay model of Chris Bot
The final puppet will have the two cameras mounted on itself and the appropriate rivets to hold him together.