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June 27, 2011

hand paddles

by sven at 11:55 pm

Immediately after the Northwest Animation Festival ended, I got hired to do some armature work for a feature film. I was asked to fabricate 160 puppet hand paddles.

I made parts in two sizes, using 10mm and 8mm jump rings.

10mm jump ring

The 10mm rings are solid brass. The brazing process draws copper to the surface of the metal, making it reddish in color.

8mm jump ring

The 8mm ring appeared to be made of brass — but that burned away during brazing, revealing a steel core. I was initially worried that plating would interfere with getting a good bond. It didn't turn out to be a problem.

The balls are 1/8" diameter, the rods 1/16". We're talking SMALL. I constantly had to use needle-nosed electronics tweezers to pick things up.

Doing just about anything 160 times gets tedious. At least the tedium gets punctuated with panic when things go wrong!

Armatures are a love/hate thing. There's a very special misery when things aren't working out in the machine shop… But when things do work, perfect shiny metal is all kinds of sexy.

A couple weeks of living night and day with this project. Then? All those neatly laid out parts get dumped higglety pigglety into bags and I take them off to FedEx, never to be seen again. Good luck in your new life little hand paddles!

posted by sven | June 27, 2011 11:55 PM | categories: stopmo