Making a Mechanical Hand

Make a monster puppet mechanical hand using easy-to-find tools & materials

Description

In this mechanical character creation tutorial on making a monster puppet mechanical hand, you'll learn the basics of building a cable controlled character puppet hand using easily accessible tools & materials with special creature effects mechanical designer, Peter Weir Clarke.

WEBCOURSE HIGHLIGHTS

  • adapting available materials to your mechanical monster puppet project
  • the finger joint - tentacle mechanism basics
  • soldering, annealing & cable controlled mechanisms
  • how to start thinking like a special effects character mechanic

Approximate Runtime is: 02:56:47

View by Chapters

  1. Title & Introduction - 00:00:00
  2. Tools - 00:00:54
  3. Materials - 00:08:40
  4. How a Cable Mechanism Works - 00:18:33
  5. The Tentacle Mechanism - The Basic Principles - 00:24:57
  6. The Jointed Cable Mechanism - The Finger - 00:31:25
  7. The First Finger Joint - 00:33:06
  8. Elastic Return Assembly - 00:40:58
  9. Finger Assembly - 00:49:26
  10. Running Elastic Cord - 00:57:22
  11. Running Elastic Joint by Joint - 01:01:39
  12. Constructing the Hand - 01:10:56
  13. Soldering the Hand Together - 01:19:04
  14. Positioning the Fingers - 01:24:58
  15. Cable Routing - 01:33:30
  16. Threading the Cable - 01:41:52
  17. Annealing Steel Wire - 01:48:44
  18. Building the Controller - Drawing and Layout - 01:59:03
  19. The Controller Assembly - Cable Tensioners - 02:05:53
  20. Designing the Trigger Mechanism - 02:11:14
  21. Drilling Your Holes - 02:16:42
  22. The Controller Cable Guides - Seating and Soldering - 02:22:45
  23. The Controller Cable Guides - Trimming and Shaft Collars - 02:25:53
  24. Adding a Support Boom - 02:37:25
  25. Adjusting the Finger Loops - 02:40:54
  26. Crimping - 02:42:57
  27. Attaching the Hand to the Controller - 02:46:43
  28. Wrap Up - 02:55:49

Materials

CLICK on the links below to find the materials you need for this lesson. 

 

Some items might be harder to find, but a little internet scouring usually finds you everything you'll need.

 

Burman Industries

Naimie's Beauty Center

McMaster Carr

Reynolds Advanced Materials

Smooth-On Inc.

 

 

FOR YOUR WORK STATION

  • Vice

EPOXYS/GLUES

  • Propoxy20
  • Super Glue or Loctite
  • Super Glue Zip Kicker

PAINT/BRISTLE BRUSHES

  • Small Paintbrush

TOOLS

  • Bits and Indexes
    • Assorted Dremel Bits
    • Dremel Abrasive Cutoff Wheel Bit
    • Center Drill Bit
    • UniBit Drill Bit
    • Various Sized Drill Indexes
  • Crimping, Pliers and Gripping Tools
    • Felco Square Cutters for cables
    • Various Sized Pliers
    • Various Sized Crimpers
    • Various Sized Cutters
  • Cutting Tools
    • X-Acto Knife or Razorblade
    • Pipe Cutter
  • Files and Rasps
    • Various Sized Metal Files
  • Measuring Tools
    • Digital Calipers
  • Power Tools
    • Cordless Drill
    • Dremel
  • Punch and Press tools
    • Center Punch
  • Screwdrivers
    • Universal Screwdriver Set
  • Torches, Solder and Accessories
    • Bernzomatic Mapp Gas Torch
    • Hobby Propane Torch
    • Metal Work Solder
    • Oatey Water Soluble Tinning Flux
    • Plumbing Propane Gas Torch
    • Silver Solder
    • Soldering Iron
    • Sparking Tool
    • Stay-Clean Flux
  • Wrenches
    • Various Sized Allen Wrenches
  • Other Tools
    • Assorted Size & Shaped Metal Clamps

SUPPLIES

  • 4” 8-32 All-Thread Rods from McMaster Carr
  • 8-32 Weld Nuts from McMaster Carr
  • ½” Copper Plumbing Pipe
  • 1/16” Elastic
  • ¼” Nylon All-Thread
  • ¼-20 Weld Nuts from McMaster Carr
  • Assorted K&S Brass Stock Tubing
    • ¼” Wide x 1/16” Thick Flat
    • 3/16” Tube
  • Enkay 101 Assorted Springs
  • Bike Brake Caliper Mechanism
  • Cable Ties
  • 3/64” or  1/16” Copper Nicopress Sleeves
  • Drawing Paper
  • 3/16” Du-Bro Shaft Collars
  • Hinged Standoff from McMaster Carr Threaded for 8-32 Screws
  • Pre-made Cable Assemblies (braided steel cable in rubber housing)
    • Standard Bike Cable
    • Super Fine Cable
  • Rags
  • Scraps of 2x4 Wood
  • Sharpie Markers
  • ½” Copper Pipe Fittings  - 90 degree elbows, 45 degree bends, tee fittings
  • Velcro Straps

HEALTH/SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

When working with toxic and/or dangerous materials or tools:

ALWAYS read labels for appropriate use guidelines
ALWAYS wear a high-grade respirator
ALWAYS work in a well-ventilated area
ALWAYS protect your skin
ALWAYS wear eye protection

Artist Information

Photo_listing_portrait

Peter Weir Clarke

Aside from being a gifted Creature Effects Mechanic and Sculptor, Peter also teaches at The Art Institute.

Peter Weir Clarke is a maker of cool things. He is a congenital tinkerer and boot-strap engineer and is the builder...

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