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Old 04-06-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
TVC21
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Default Original Scarlet Puppet Neck Mechanism

Hello peeps. I have been scratching my head trying to work out how to accurately replicate the original puppet neck mechs....essentially you have a 3/8" brass ball with a 3 mm hole through it attached somehow to a turned brass fitting, also with a 3mm hole running through it. The ball is clasped by 2 steel halves, held together together by 2 tiny nuts / bolts. Did they have them specially engineered, or where they recycled from somewhere. If anyone knows the answer I will love you forever!!





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Old 04-06-2013, 09:45 PM   #2
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Looks similar to some radio control aircraft joints mate.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:16 PM   #3
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I can make those without to much effort, you want me to reproduce one send me a drawing with parts measurements.

I can make cap mic's, epaulettes and spectrum guns too

A little research has turned up a few different types including an M8 version that would suit, the ball part is made from stainless steel, possibly a better material for this. The clamp can be made from a couple of repair washers again stainless steel.

Here is a link to the RS components versions, I'll keep looking for brass units.

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/c/?sra=o...+joint&x=0&y=0
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Sci-Fi View Post
I can make those without to much effort, you want me to reproduce one send me a drawing with parts measurements.

I can make cap mic's, epaulettes and spectrum guns too

A little research has turned up a few different types including an M8 version that would suit, the ball part is made from stainless steel, possibly a better material for this. The clamp can be made from a couple of repair washers again stainless steel.

Here is a link to the RS components versions, I'll keep looking for brass units.

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/c/?sra=o...+joint&x=0&y=0
Bernie, thanks for that. As I say my gut feeling is that these were `something else`, but accurate affordable replicas would be good news for myself and many others. I don`t want to be secret squirrel about it, so as a next stage I`ll take it too bits and post more pics against a ruler tonight.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
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My final thoughts are on some vintage cars, old Fords and Vauxhall, the accelerator and clutch cables had fittings like these where the ball end is held in a fork arrangement.

I have also seen a grease nipple from an industrial machine that looked like this including the threaded shaft. Once I confirm the sizes we should be able to find something. I know of one company that produces armature joints and other parts for Aardman Animation I'll make enquiries there.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:10 PM   #6
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My final thoughts are on some vintage cars, old Fords and Vauxhall, the accelerator and clutch cables had fittings like these where the ball end is held in a fork arrangement.

I have also seen a grease nipple from an industrial machine that looked like this including the threaded shaft. Once I confirm the sizes we should be able to find something. I know of one company that produces armature joints and other parts for Aardman Animation I'll make enquiries there.
If you can suss it the Captains store would do very nicely with these methinks, as indeed it would do with eye mechs.....
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:36 PM   #7
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I have my ball turning attachment standing by.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:40 PM   #8
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I'm scratching my head in wonder looking at that! Christine Glanville did say to me once that they used to use meccano bits and bobs, although This doesn't look like that to me!
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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I have my ball turning attachment standing by.
Ouch......
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:16 PM   #10
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I'm scratching my head in wonder looking at that! Christine Glanville did say to me once that they used to use meccano bits and bobs, although This doesn't look like that to me!
I looked at Meccano parts, closest I came was the handrail support like this one:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Meccaano-C...item56459718c0

But, there always is one....

This system uses clamping pressure from the washers to alter the friction on the ball. This will keep the head from flopping about or lock it in position so it can be posed. The problem comes when you try to fit the washer either side of the ball, the hole needs to allow the shaft to pass through but not the ball so if the collar is bigger than the ball it won't work.

I think the shaft and ball were made in one piece with the shaft actually half the diameter of the ball, then a collar was either soldered or brazed onto the shaft after the lower washer was fitted. Not a complex thing to make, just a bit fiddly.

I'll add an illustration to make it clear.
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File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 20.25.11.jpg (43.7 KB, 43 views)
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #11
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Ouch......
I guess it would be....
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Sci-Fi View Post
I looked at Meccano parts, closest I came was the handrail support like this one:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Meccaano-C...item56459718c0

But, there always is one....

This system uses clamping pressure from the washers to alter the friction on the ball. This will keep the head from flopping about or lock it in position so it can be posed. The problem comes when you try to fit the washer either side of the ball, the hole needs to allow the shaft to pass through but not the ball so if the collar is bigger than the ball it won't work.

I think the shaft and ball were made in one piece with the shaft actually half the diameter of the ball, then a collar was either soldered or brazed onto the shaft after the lower washer was fitted. Not a complex thing to make, just a bit fiddly.

I'll add an illustration to make it clear.
Like the illustration Bernie. I`ve taken a shed load of pics which I`ll add in a minute. The ball and upper shaft appear to be one piece, the collar and lower shaft are another. I cannot see how they are joined or indeed how to seperate them. The lower shaft is wider than the upper shaft, and seats snuggly into the solenoid mounting. The ball is 3/8 and the hole through both parts (to accomodate the wire which comes up from the solenoid to the lip trigger in the puppet head) is 3/16.

I have to say this is jolly fascinating stuff! They were clever buggers weren`t they?

Pic of ball and fitting with one washer still hanging on - you are right Bernie you can`t get the lower one back off.



Washer showing chamfered inner edge;



Assembled solenoid mechanism - the brass bar at the bottom is the locator which sits inside the puppet torso



And disassembled....


Last edited by TVC21; 05-06-2013 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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This is quality Chris, looking at this level of detail, love the dedication and respect for the subject matter
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVC21 View Post
Like the illustration Bernie. I`ve taken a shed load of pics which I`ll add in a minute. The ball and upper shaft appear to be one piece, the collar and lower shaft are another. I cannot see how they are joined or indeed how to seperate them. The lower shaft is wider than the upper shaft, and seats snuggly into the solenoid mounting. The ball is 3/8 and the hole through both parts (to accomodate the wire which comes up from the solenoid to the lip trigger in the puppet head) is 3/16.

I have to say this is jolly fascinating stuff! They were clever buggers weren`t they?

Pic of ball and fitting with one washer still hanging on - you are right Bernie you can`t get the lower one back off.

Ok, have it sussed, your pictures are excellent Chris. I will make a replacement and cost it accurately I think 15.00 would do it. For that I would provide the ball ended shaft, a collar and both washers. I can't see any threads cut anywhere but I think I see a grub screw hole in the collar in above image. I have BA dies and can supply grub screws. If you could inspect the hole at the 1/2" point and let me know if this passes right through as I suspect it locks this joint to the shaft.

I can certainly take a look at the eye mechs, nothing that I have seen looks hard to make so far. They were clever and inventive I am much in admiration of the puppet workshop crew as they were an amazing talented bunch in so many different trades.

I now know what to buy you for christmas Chris... a set of digital callipers..!
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:22 PM   #15
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I have just understood what you meant by a wire that passes through the centre of the shaft to operate the lip mech. This is not electrical but an actuator wire that pull to open the mouth, is this correct? If it is then there must be a spring to close it again...

I have just had a light bulb moment, thank you Chris.

So the solenoid you can see must be at the base of the neck, ok have that sorted in my mind, you do realise that I won't be happy until I have a double scale Scarlet model made from clear perspex with all this stuff working so you can see it, right?
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:31 PM   #16
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Ok, have it sussed, your pictures are excellent Chris. I will make a replacement and cost it accurately I think 15.00 would do it. For that I would provide the ball ended shaft, a collar and both washers. I can't see any threads cut anywhere but I think I see a grub screw hole in the collar in above image. I have BA dies and can supply grub screws. If you could inspect the hole at the 1/2" point and let me know if this passes right through as I suspect it locks this joint to the shaft.

I can certainly take a look at the eye mechs, nothing that I have seen looks hard to make so far. They were clever and inventive I am much in admiration of the puppet workshop crew as they were an amazing talented bunch in so many different trades.

I now know what to buy you for christmas Chris... a set of digital callipers..!
Hey Bernie, lets do this properly....I`ve pm`d you.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:39 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Captain Sci-Fi View Post
I have just understood what you meant by a wire that passes through the centre of the shaft to operate the lip mech. This is not electrical but an actuator wire that pull to open the mouth, is this correct? If it is then there must be a spring to close it again...

I have just had a light bulb moment, thank you Chris.

So the solenoid you can see must be at the base of the neck, ok have that sorted in my mind, you do realise that I won't be happy until I have a double scale Scarlet model made from clear perspex with all this stuff working so you can see it, right?
Hi Bernie, yes nylon cable which acts an actuator....here`s a few puppet head pics which show how the whole thing goes together;





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Old 12-06-2013, 06:48 AM   #18
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More reference pics;



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Old 12-06-2013, 01:23 PM   #19
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I have ordered some suitable replacement solenoids and will start with a custom made frame to hold it, I am sure the one pictured above had it's frame made at the studio. I did some intense research last evening to find out why they used this type of coil solenoid at the rather high 50 volt rating. As far as I can tell the long lengths of wire used to carry power the puppet was quite resistive and they had to use higher voltages to overcome this. For the purposes of a modern replacement I will go with 12V units. They have the form factor I am looking for to deal with all the mechanical requirements.

I have also made a good start with the CAD drawing and circuit diagram. I'll publish when it's further along. This is such an interesting subject and I am having great fun examining the work of the studio artisans, they were such clever people.

Thanks to Chris King for the loan of some of his studio original kit.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:16 AM   #20
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Parts have arrived, replacement solenoids suitable for under control use and some of the brass material to make parts have arrived also.

I have turned the brass rod into ball and drilled through to start the ball & socket gimbal. The last part I still need to source is the 1/2" brass bearing. I may need to make this from scratch.

The solenoid armature has been made from silver steel and is a direct replacement patterned from the original.

More to follow....
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