Monday, May 30, 2011

How I Made a Cable Operated Bird Puppet Part 3 - Wings

or how to make a Cable Puppet part 3

I liked the other bird puppet so much that I decided to make one with moveable wings.  At first I had very complex designs trying to get the wings to just move up and down.  Then I went for a walk.  As I was walking I worked on the problem, and a simple solution presented itself.  I already had the basic idea from the other bird's head, so I just used the same concept for the wings.

I had a few cables left over from the original bird puppet so I used them.  I am waiting for the push rods (which are what model airplane enthusiasts use to control various switches and such) to come in.

I borrowed one of my son's Mr Potato Head for the body.  (He has a bunch and I am going to buy him another one so don't get all high and mighty on me.)

I put a piece of twine through the top hole (I believe it is the ear hole.) and tied a large knot.  Then I hot glued the twine to a Popsicle stick.  This lets the stick move around but keeps it attached to the shoulder.

I fed the cable jacket through the bottom hole (arm hole) and then pushed the cable up through it.  I threaded a button on the cable and then bent the cable into a 90 degree angle.  I hot glued the button to the bend and at the same time glued the button to the stick.  I originally did it further down the stick but once again it didn't have the desired effect, so I repositioned it. 
I can turn the cable and the wing moves forward/backwards.

Push the cable in and the wings go out.

I didn't take a picture of the inside of the head last time so here it is.  I used the same button technique that I used on the wing and glued the button to the cable & the Easter egg that is used for a head.

Here he is so far.

This is a back view.

I am going to make a handle for the not shown ends of the cables. Mainly because I have a good bit of difficulty operating the cables without some kind of end. 

Continue on to part 4 - How to make a cable puppet control handle


Saturday, May 28, 2011

How I Made a Cable Operated Bird Puppet Part 2

or how to make a Cable Puppet part 2

I wasn't happy with the way the head turned.  I thought it was a little too heavy. So I went with an Easter egg instead.

I drilled a small hole in the pointy end of the egg and put the cable through. I thought I put enough hot glue on the end of the cable. but I didn't so after all of the feathers were put on the cable came loose and pulled right out of the bird and I had to start all over again.

Here I put a piece of string from the body to the head.  The only problem was this allowed the head to turn almost all the way around, which wasn't what I wanted.  I found out that if I put it closer to the cable it worked better.  

And the string kept breaking. ( I am rather rough with the testing I guess.) So I used some twine.  I put them real close together. (the cable and the twine I mean)  This gave the head a more normal turning radius, plus when I push on the cable the head looks up.

The Beak

For the beak I took a piece of yellow fun foam and cut out a square. 

I turned the foam so it was in the shape of a diamond. Next I put hot glue down the middle and folded the two corners in on each other and held them there till the glue cooled.

Then I folded up the edges again.  This gave it a very curved shape and plus only left the only raw edge at the very tip. 

 I did this twice.  A bigger one for the top and a smaller one for the bottom.

I glued these in place.  (you might or might not have noticed that the color of the tennis ball has now changed.  This is the second one.  The first one I forgot to take pictures of, and plus the cable pulled out.  I corrected that by hot gluing both the jacket to the body, and the cable end into the head. Massive amount of hot glue inside the head.)

When I push on the cable the head lifts up.

 Next I glued a few long feathers to his back.
Then I added a red feather boa starting on the base and going around and around.  Gluing about 2 inches at a time.  I did the head last (and separate from the body, because you know we want the head to turn.)

I also wet the feathers around his face and pulled them back so he could see.

Then I glued a black bead onto a white button twice and used these as the eyes.  Just a drop of hot glue on the back and stick them in place.
I put a few yellow and orange feathers onto his head to give him a little extra color and Ta-da he is done. All in all it took me about 3-4 hours from start to finish. I am going to try a different cable next time.  I think the bike cable was a little bit too heavy duty.  The head doesn't turn as smooth as I would like it to. But still for my first attempt I think he is pretty cool.

Continue to Part Three - How to make a cable puppet with moveable wings


Jump to How To Make a Cable Puppet Control Handle

Here is a short video clip of him in action.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How I Made a Cable Operated Bird Puppet

or How to make a Cable Puppet.

I have made a few puppets in the past, but I have always been fascinated with puppets too small for a hand to fit inside them.  There are different types of puppets like that.

Rod Puppet: It is basically a puppet on a stick.  The head turns side to side, and the mouth moves.  I have a mouse puppet in progress.  Maybe I will take some pictures and post them here.

Remote Control Puppet:  These are little robots that are controlled by a remote control.  Think of a remote controlled car. These are a little out of my league right now.  One day when I understand how remote controls work I will try this one out.

Cable Controlled Puppet: A puppet controlled by using a cable.  These puppets have the ability to look up, down, left and right.  They can also move their mouth.  I am not going to make his mouth move this time, I just want to work on getting the cable control to work.

I went to Walmart and got a bike brake cable repair kit.  Which consists of four cables and jackets.  Two long and two short.  I noticed that the diameter of the cables are different.  So you have 4 different cables. (One small diameter long, one small diameter short, one large diameter long, and one large diameter short. Did you get all of that or do I need to type slower?)

I also got a few tennis balls.  I found these in the pet department.  They were about $1 for two of the big ones, and $1 for 3 of the small ones. The large one is going to be the body and the small one the head.

First I stacked the smaller tennis ball on top of the large one and marked where they met.  Then on the body I marked where the cable would come out.  I used a drywall screw to make the two holes in the larger ball and one in the smaller one.

I then realized that i wouldn't be able to secure the one in the head without getting into it, so I cut out a section so I could reach the inside.

I put the cable up to my shoulder (where the bird is going to sit) and measured the cables. The little ones were too short, so I got one of the longer ones.  It was a little too long so I decided to cut it.

TIP:  If you are going to do this, learn from my mistakes.  I tried to cut the cable jacket without taking the cable out first.  I ended up nicking the cable and almost messing it up.  There are two ends on the cable (to keep them inside the jacket.) Cut one of them off then pull the cable out of the jacket before cutting it.  This makes it a lot easer to cut the jacket with a pair of wire cutters.

Then I pushed a section of cut jacket through the body.  I had a hard time trying to get the two ends of the jacket to line up,without spinning around. So I pulled this out and pushed the main cable jacket through the holes.