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Author Topic: Working towards a new season of festivals.  (Read 654 times)
bicyclebuilder
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« on: October 21, 2017, 10:31:01 pm »

I think I've been bitten by the festival bug.
Both my wife, our daughter and I have had a blast at the Elfia Fantacy Fair at Arcen, Netherlands.
For next season, we are looking for a full Steampunk attire.
I can wear my pants and vest from my photographer costume, but the jacket doesn't fit anymore.
I loved making and wearing my top hat, but I think I'm going for something else.

For now, my plan is to make a full size dog puppet. Something like the War Horse puppet, but operatable by just one person.
My wife wants to make/buy a corset, probably with lots of picture frames attached.
Daughter wants whatever mother has. She's a real mommy's girl. Cheesy

If I'm going for a dog puppet, I have a two step plan.
1 Make the puppet
2 Figuring out how to move the puppet in a realistic way.

As a backup plan, I'm going to make some Steampunk braces, gloves and weapons, so I have something to wear if the first plan doesn't work.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 10:40:39 pm »

For the puppet, I'm thinking about something like this, but bigger so I can stand up straight while operating:


or like this:


Most puppets I've seen have just dangling feet underneith the torso, just touching the ground.
I want mine to have walking feet, operatable from the spine area.
The head is operatable from a handle that sticks in the back of the dogs head.

I have a Pintrest page dedicated to it:
https://nl.pinterest.com/steven6773/puppet/
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Hez
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 09:01:45 pm »

I am looking forward to this.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 05:13:22 pm »

I am looking forward to this.

Me to!  Grin


Ergonomitry and comfort is a main key in this design.
I want to be able to walk around with it during most of a day.

I want my dog to be able to sit and walk like a regular dog.
Most dog puppets I've seen have the operator just drag or hop the legs around.
I think, the little dog in the first picture has operatable legs.
The dog in the first picture shows some of the strings and controller bar.
The way I see it, the controller bar is directly operating the dog's spine. Operating turning and pitching.
The body can't roll, because this operates the legs.
I don't know if the dog's legs are made to lift legs diagonally or two from the same side.

The head in the first picture is operated by a rod that is fixed to the back of the head.
I can't tell if the mouth and ears can also be operated by this rod, but I think it does.

Soon I'm going to make a fullsize sketch to see where goes what and how big my dog has to be, to walk comfortably.
Probably a Great Dane or Irish Wolfhound.

For now, my biggest concern is how to walk this dog.
I probably have to hold my hands like the young fellow with the gray dog.
And have the dog stand sideways in front of me, when I'm not walking.
This to make it a bit more comfortable for me.

More later...

#Edited#
Basically, this with the working legs of the little dog I've showed earlier.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=PPJtSBuFJMM
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 07:30:32 pm by bicyclebuilder » Logged
bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2017, 10:05:30 am »

First draft, full size.


The tape measure on the picture is set on 20cm.
The back handle is about 75cm above ground.
It's going to be a big big dog! Something like a Great Dane, but not "pure breed".

The lines on the neck represents flat disks, connected at the top op the spine with something flexible, like a hose or something like that.
The lines bitween the ribcage and hind also represents disks, but these are only allowed to move sideways. Probably connected with hinges of some sort.

Next, I'm going to make the parts out of cardboard for measure and tryout.
I might make the parts out of plywood later, but it might make the dog heavier.
I want to keep it as lightweight as possible, but sturdy enough not to break or bend.

To be continued...
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2017, 12:16:13 pm »


three cardboard boards, stacking together to nearly 2cm thick.

The ribcage part is also cut and glued together with PU construction-glue.
Working with cardboard doesn't make an acurate construction, but pound-for-pound rather strong.
I don't need acuraccy right now. Maybe later when shaping the head.
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Banfili
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2017, 02:42:13 pm »

Watching with interest!
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2017, 07:37:32 am »

concerning the way you hold and carry the dog puppet, maybe a back harness similar to those used on guide dogs for the blind so you don't have to bend down and a leash on the neck that looks like a drooping leather leash but is actually a stiff metal rod to control the head with (like those fake invisible dog leashes) as far as the legs go, secondary shin bones to scissor action the lower leg when the thigh moves forward and back (like the arm on a articulated lamp). control the thigh bones with rods similar to a child's pedal car and work those  by motor or maybe a squeeze grip at the leash. a full range of motion for a full squeeze and release (walking gate) and a half squeeze would hold the legs parallel for standing still.

the squeeze grip could pull a cable that activates crossed bars that connect front and back legs cross corner. the cable would attach to one cross bar then continue past to a pulley so it can fold back to pull the other cross bar and end at a spring to pull the cable tight to allow the grip to work. the stiff leash rod could even bend and lay up under your forearm and Velcro strap to the arm so that the hand itself is free to work the squeeze grip and the head is controlled by. your experience with bicycle cables will come in handy on this one!

with Halloween here its the time to find some faux fur to cover the dog with. a few years back I ran across some amazing fake fur that looked just like husky fur. it had both the short insulating hair and the longer hair and even the longer hair tips were slightly frosted to look very realistic. not the sort of thing you would see on a great dane though, perhaps something more like a velvet or jersey knit material sewn baggy for a more shar pei look.

growing up the neighborhood dog at my friends house was a st. Bernard /chow mix. the most beautiful dog I think I've ever seen. big Bernard head with a giant purple chow tongue (so big it stuck out the front), large Bernard body with a skinny chow butt, curly tail and long beautiful golden hair. everyone called him "bear". big mellow soul except if you started fighting in front of him, he would growl and let you know you better stop. his supposed owners were warned once by the police when one kid said the dog bit him. the dog probably did as we caught him beating the dog with a stick many times. the second time the kid got bit, the police told the kid's parents that they would haul him to jail if he ever hit the dog again! luckily they moved away and no more problems with their problem child.

even the police liked the dog! they would stop and pet him when driving by, it was easy as his chin was almost the same height as the window of the police cars, he would always come over for a rub and a pat down.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 10:31:04 pm »

Thank you for your input, Otto Von Pifka.
About the back harness: I've designed the size of the dog so the handle on it's back is at my normal standing position. The close position of that back handle also gives me a direct control to the entire body. Same goes for the operating of the head. As close as possible to have a more direct control.
For instance, if I had a longer leash, as you mentioned with a stiff metal rod, I would have to rotate my entire arm around to move it's head.

I have also thought about positioning the leach sideways, like the position as one was actually walking the dog. But also then, I could move the head up and down, but to make it rotate I have to wave my arm all around the leach's radius.

I have been thinking about a secondary shin bone to operate the leg action. I have to see what works best. On one hand, I do want control over the legs, but I also want to give it enough room to change it's pace. The idea I have right now is to pull the dog forward and lift one leg up. That leg would swing forward like a pendulum until it's not swinging. Then I place the foot back down and do the same with the other leg.
I want to make a controller inside the dog's back, right underneith the back handle. That controller would have to lift the front right and rear left leg at one position and the front left and rear right at the other position of the controller.
I will explane later with more pictures and perhaps a movie.

I think I'm going for a wire activated leg action as I only need to lift the legs. Gravity will put the legs back down when loosening the wires.
As for the head, I probably go for bicycle cables. This gives me the ability to open and close the mouth. The ears are going to be floppy, but also a little bit controlable. I haven't thought about moving the eyes and/or eyelids. I might even go for a lip curling action if that is possible. And maybe a controlable tongue.

At most festivals, people are allowed to bring their dog. I could bring our 2 year old Jack Russel, but she would be exhausted by the end of the day. And usually the festivals are weekends. My plan is to interact with some of the real dogs (at a safe distance of course). For that, I need to be able to control not only the body, but also the entire facial expression of the dog. Also, the more realistic I can operate the dog, the more real it's going to look.

That said, I don't think I would go for a real looking fur look. I'm thinking more towards Jute (you might call it Hessian or Burlap) with raffled edges. I don't like the smell of jute, but something similar to that fabric. Perhaps a coarse woven linnen. The way the fabric wrinkles and foulds is also something I have to look into. I need something loose fitting to keep the joints of the legs operatable, but not to loose as it is a Great Dane looking dog.
I love the look of this dog as for fabric:


Your neighbourhood dog seems like an awesome dog! I have a little Jack Russel that thinks she's as big as a Great Dane. Fearless, but gentle and carefull at first. She usually starts submissive but quickly plays along with the big dogs.
My neighbour has an Old English Bulldog with exactly the same character. When they meet, they both fall over on their backs. Cheesy
That reminds me, I have to go for a walk.

More on this build later...
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 11:11:35 pm »

This is shaping up to be a really ambitious build; please do keep us updated with the details as they evolve.

Yours,
Miranda.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 10:24:45 am »

The idea has been haunting in my head for quite a while now, Miranda.
There are a few more ideas like this build, but they are even more ambitious.
As in:
walking gorilla puppet;
dinosaur/dragon suit;
dragon sholder puppet;
centaur legs.

This build is going to be my testing ground for bigger builds.
I am new to puppet making so I'm learning as I go.

As for this dog, I think I have to reinforce the structure later in the build. Probably with fiberglass and polyester resin.
Cardboard is sturdy, but not durable enough to use as limbs.
The leg parts, the basic head shape, the basic torso and back shape are all cut and glued right now.
Next is to fill in the head, torso and back. Also figuring out how to connect the joints.
I have some tactical belt that flexes mainly one way. It has some sideway action, probably just enough to make the leg joints.
I'll post pictures later.
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Fairley B. Strange
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 01:54:13 pm »

An interesting project.

And just a few random ideas to throw into the mix.
As a young chap, one year at the local fete I bought an 'invisible dog' - a novelty device that was just a normal dog-collar attached to a plastic rod that looked like a semi-taut dog-leash. With a bit of puppetry, the invisible hound was able to genuinely terrify small children who 'saw' its presence.

An alternate method to motivate the legs of your hound might be to attach the inwards front paw to your own foot and cross-link the other front paw and the rear set, so the creature runs alongside you 'at heel'.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2017, 06:00:58 pm »

Thank you for your input, Fairley B.Strange. I have to look into that. It's good to have more than one option!

Today I added a few bits. The shoulders have a wider part to connect onto.



On both ends, I added circular plates. From here the flexible parts will be mounted.



I'm going to determen how far each joint is supposed to bend, then cut across this bend.
All the way through. Then I'm going to add the belts so the joints can bend, just far enough.



The back handle deninitly needs some reinforcement. It's not flymsy, but it's not exactly holding shape after some handling.
I do like the idea of adding fiberglass as for strenghtening the structure, but it probably needs a lot of fiberglass.
Just a coat of resin might also work. Or some kind of thick spray-on coating...
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2017, 08:59:28 pm »

Might crafting foam be an alternative to fibreglass? I'm just thinking this might keep the weight down a bit.

Yours,
Miranda.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2017, 07:25:40 pm »

That is a good idea, Miranda. But the cardboard has to many nooks and crannies to cover with any kind of flat material.
I was going for a more waterproof structure, but the additional materials are foam and fabric.
I have adjusted my standard and make a non waterproof dog puppet instead.
No fibreglass or resin.

Today I purchased a big sheet of 1cm thick furniture foam. Low dencity and lightweight.
I'm going to use this to fill in the gaps and round of the shapes.

I have seen this wonderfull brown fake fur fabric that would be perfect for this build.
It was on a big roll in the fabric store and from a distance, it looked like a big dog laying bitween the fabric rolls.  Cheesy
For now, I haven't bought it because I don't know how much I'm going to be needing.
I said earlier I was going for a more rugged, abstract fabric, but I think I fel in love with this new found fur.

#edited# bought the fake fur. I couldn't let it lay in the store, knowing that carnaval is coming soon and people want to make a new outfit.
(Well, that's my excuse. Wink)
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 09:45:21 pm by bicyclebuilder » Logged
Otto Von Pifka
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goggles? they're here somewhere.....


« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 06:20:28 pm »

Styrofoam wrapped in aluminum duct tape makes for a very sturdy and lightweight structure. the foam can be shaped and layered to make it even more strong. there are construction adhesives designed specifically for the foam that won't melt it too. you can add bushings to the foam for pivot points or even washers glued and taped in place to strengthen the joints. the tape gives it a sturdy surface and a sort of monocoque shell. I 've made fake tools and weapons using this method. the tape can also be primed and painted as long as there's no gaps exposing the foam to the paint solvents.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 09:35:02 pm »

Minor step back. The duct tape I've got is more like duck tape. Doesn't stick to the cardboard or itself.  Sad

Most joints are going to be similar to this:


It's a plastic belt, kind of like a safety belt in a car, but smaller.
This gives me a more flexible joint but mainly around one axis.
You can see the duct tape letting go of the cardboard.
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Otto Von Pifka
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goggles? they're here somewhere.....


« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2017, 02:36:17 am »

take a hot glue gun and force some glue into the flats of the strap where you want it to stick to the other parts. work it into the cloth with the hot tip of the gun then place some hot glue where you want it to be and stick the strap down then. working the hot glue into the matrix of the strap really helps hold it good.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2017, 10:30:27 pm »

take a hot glue gun and force some glue into the flats of the strap where you want it to stick to the other parts. work it into the cloth with the hot tip of the gun then place some hot glue where you want it to be and stick the strap down then. working the hot glue into the matrix of the strap really helps hold it good.

Thank you for this idea. I'll give it a try!
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polyphemus
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2017, 05:48:39 am »

Be aware that if it gets too hot, hot glue can fail. I live in Arizona and had an entire sculpture disassemble itself. If you are in a part of the country where humans don't spontaneously combust in summer you can probably disregard this.
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2017, 08:43:59 am »

Be aware that if it gets too hot, hot glue can fail. I live in Arizona and had an entire sculpture disassemble itself. If you are in a part of the country where humans don't spontaneously combust in summer you can probably disregard this.

What's the hottest temperature in summer in the Netherlands? Can't be anywhere close to Arizona, say Phoenix, Arizona =>  110 °F (43 °C), the maximum *average* in Summer according to Wiki. In contrast, Amsterdam's high average is => 71.8°F (22.1 °C), That's basically the same temperature for Austin, Texas in November!
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polyphemus
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2017, 07:19:46 am »

True. I should have noted this proposed dog's habitat.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2017, 09:36:16 am »

The hottest it gets in the Netherlands is about 35 C. In that case, I wouldn't let the dog out. Cheesy
But I'll keep the temperature into consideration.

Meanwhile, work has kept me from further building the dog. But thinking about a few problems along the way.
The dog's legs are going to be controlled like a marionette. Ropes going from the leg to a controller.
Only unlike a marionette, the controller is going to be mounted on the spine of the dog.
This way I can move the dog's body directly, like the handle on a suitcase.
And here comes the problem. I have to turn a about 30cm motion of the legs, into a 5-6 cm controlling motion.
Extra problem, I want to control the for joints each dog has, in a most realistic way.
Moving the top joint will make the bottom joints just dangle underneath it.
Using push/pull rods bitween the lower joints, will limit the flexibility of the walk. It might look more like a machine then a dog.
I think I'm going for using elastic band as tendants. Tentioning the band just enough to pull the leg up, but not to much so it stays tucked in.
Either that or a flexible push/pull rod.
Perhaps to complex of a problem I can express into words. I'll show a picture later in this build. After I've glued the legs and joints together.

A lot further into the future of this build: My wife knows a lady who trims dogs. She might be able to give this dog a decent haircut.
It might just add an extra dimension to the fur.

On Pintrest, I've found pictures of the anatomy of a dog. Showing the muscles. I can use this for reference when I'm building up the foam.
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2017, 09:42:41 pm »

Sorry, just caught up with this- it looks amazing!!
I shall certainly be keeping an eye on this with great interest; and you're making such progress!

My hat is off to you again Sir!  Cheesy

HP
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2017, 04:47:04 am »

I think a giant pet snail might be easier. or a pet opossum, just drag it laying on the ground and tell everyone he always plays dead in a crowd. Grin

do like the fake ostrich puppets (where the body is under your fake arm and your real arm is in the head) but pick some other creature like a kimodo dragon or a vulture or a venus flytrap plant or maybe a pet wyvern
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