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Bespoke Armature Designs

At Malvern Armatures we would like to help you build your special character so we provide a full armature design and manufacture service. Just e-mail a "Turn Around" sketch of your character, together with any critical dimensions, and we will endeavour to design and manufacture your armature to your specific requirements.

What is the Bespoke Design and Manufacturing Process?

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armatures - Bespoke Armature Designs
Meet "Arthur the Fisherman" © James Carlisle Animation
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs

Sketches

Design your character and provide us with a "Turn Around" sketch including a front and a side view showing important dimensions overlayed with the basic outline of how you envisage your armature fitting into your design.

The armature required for Arthur has a standard layout with steel feet, knee and hip joints, single back joint up to the shoulder block. The shoulder block has the additional upper shoulder joint allowing more realistic movement of the arms with two joints making the arm assembly.

In the side view you can see that the head assembly has been drawn positioned forward of the shoulders so requires a more complex neck design.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs

Armature Designs

Arthur stands 205mm from the ground to the top of his head. Using Adobe Illustrator we scale the sketches to the correct size and overlay our standard components onto the sketch providing the basic armature structure. We provide 2 different joint assemblies, INDY & Professional, and Arthur has been designed using the Professional nickel plated steel ball joints.

The biggest problem we had with Arthur was designing the head assembly to provide the forward head position. After evaluating several different ideas a simple curved neck joint was designed and manufactured. This was achieved by bending the upper back/head stud to an angle of 30 degrees and the design worked very well.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs - Full Engineering Drawing

Final Design Drawings

After about 10 drafts the final design for Arthur was baselined and manufacturing could begin. Why so many drafts? We were evaluating different designs for the shoulder and neck assembly and also trying to provide an engineering solution to allow the beard to pivot around the jaw line. Finally to obtain the correct height of the shoulders the upper back stud was extended as was the curved neck.

From agreeing the final design to completing the manufacture and assembly usually takes about 1 day.

Footnote: This armature was supplied as a kit and was assembled by James Carlisle as part of his University Year 2 Major Project.

You can watch "Arthur" in action - Just visit our Gallery Page

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs

Other Bespoke Armatures

Meet "Richard Hotham & Roy Beard" © James Carlisle Animation

The requirement for Richard Hotham and Roy Beard came from a 3rd Year Student at the University of South Wales and was James' major project towards his Animation Degree.

Richard Hotham
The design requirement for Richard Hotham was for an overall height to the shoulders of 185mm. After producing many drafts the design was baselined and the armature manufactured.

General requirements for Richard Hotham: Richard is a Professional H2 Armature that has been modified to meet the specific requirements. The hips were modified by making the Standard Hip Block 6mm shorter. This allowed use of the M3 rigging point for placement of the hip assembly resulting in the armature not having a rigging point. The armature was supplied with two Standard Tie Down Assemblies, two M3x12mm Tie Down Screws & one 2mm Allen Key.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs - Full Engineering Drawing

Roy Beard
The design requirement for Roy Beard was for an overall height of 140mm to the top of the shoulder. After producing 4 drafts the design was baselined and the armature manufactured.

General requirement for Roy Beard: Roy is a Professional H2 Armature that has been modified to meet the specified requirements. The shoulders were modified by making a bespoke wider block. The arms and legs were shortened as required. The armature was supplied with two Standard Tie Down Assemblies, two M3x12mm Tie Down Screws & one 2mm Allen Key.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs - Full Engineering Drawing

Meet "Theodor & The Alien" © George Carman Animation

The requirement for Theodor & The Alien came from a 3rd Year Student at the University of South Wales. This was George's major project towards his Animation Degree and the design required an shoulder height of 190mm for the man and 112mm to the shoulders for The Alien. After producing 4 drafts the design was baselined and the armature manufactured.

General requirements: Theodor is a Professional H2 Armature that has been modified to meet the specific requirements. The Alien's specification was changed as the design progressed and the need for a shoulder block and arms was removed. This allowed George to glue wire arms to the backbone so an additional 10mm Connector was included to give a better glueing surface. The hips used on both armatures were standard component and no modification was required. Each armature was supplied with two Standard Tie Down Assemblies, two M3x12mm Tie Down Screws & one 2mm Allen Key.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs - Full Engineering Drawings

Meet "The Tortoise" © Sean Gregory Animation

The requirement for a Tortoise came from a 3rd Year Student at the University of South Wales. This was Sean's major project towards his Animation Degree and the design required an overall height of 215mm to the top of the head of the tortoise. After producing 3 drafts the design was baselined and the armature manufactured.

Working from the top down:

  • The head required a double neck joint.
  • The backbone/neck above the shoulders was bent forward by 20 degrees.
  • The shoulders were manufacture from aluminium bar as they were a lot narrower than the Complex Shoulder Block normally used on the human armatures.
  • The Standard Hip Block was positioned within the tortoise shell allowing for free movement of the legs.
  • The feet were pivoted from above, the same as the dog armature, and 2 spare standard feet assemblies were supplied as part of the design requirement.
  • The armature was supplied with two Standard Tie Down Assemblies, one 75mm Rigging Stud, two M3x12mm Tie Down Screws & one 2mm Allen Key.
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs - Full Engineering Drawing

Meet "The Mermaids" © James Stafford Animation

The requirement for the Mermaids, Layla and Lorelei, came from a 2nd Year Student at the University of South Wales. This was James' major 2 Year animation project and the design required an overall height of 280mm from the tail to the top of the head for both Mermaids. After producing 2 drafts the design was baselined and the armatures manufactured.

Working from the top down:

  • The head required a single extended neck joint.
  • The narrow shoulders were manufacture from aluminium bar allowing for the narrow shoulder uplifts.
  • The Hip Block was a rotated Standard Shoulder Block positioned within the body allowing for free movement of the tail and providing a single M3 tapped rigging point.
  • Each armature was supplied with two Standard Tie Down Assemblies, one 75mm Rigging Stud, two M3x12mm Tie Down Screws & one 2mm Allen Key.
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature Designs - Full Engineering Drawing

The Raccoon © Heather DuValle

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Raccoon Armature
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Raccoon Armature

The Raccoon was drawn by Heather as part of her studies at Bournemouth University and stands approximately 150mm tall. It must have worked well as she order another armature a few months later.


Top Hat © Jessica Montgomery

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Armature

This armature was designed with a Shoulder Rigging point and the arms would be attached using K&S Brass Tube and made from twisted wire. After many draft designs the armature was finally baselined and manufacture could begin.


Meet "Edgar the Psychiatrist" © James Carlisle Animation

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Designs
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Designs
Basic Layout

This armature was designed and constructed using our Standard Steel Ball Joints. The requirement was for steel feet, shorter legs, narrow hips, single back joint but with a complex shoulder design. You can watch "Edgar" in action - Just visit our Gallery Page

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Designs
Final Armature

Meet "Keith Johnson" © Hannah Queux-Johnson Animation

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Designs
Basic Layout

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke DesignsThis armature was designed and constructed using our Standard Steel Ball Joints. The requirement was for steel feet, standard legs, wide hips, single back joint positioned quite low down, a very wide shoulder design with a forward projecting neck assembly.

The head assembly was designed just above the shoulder line to give maximum strength to both neck and shoulders.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Foxcub DesignsThe original sketch required a metal support plate to strengthen the wide shoulders but this was not included as part of our design brief at the request of the animator.

Hannah also purchased a Dog Kit that she assembled herself. If you check her Blog (See Links Page) you will see a mischievous fox cub playing with the golfer's ball on her Sound Pitch Video.

Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Designs
Final Armature
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Standard Dog Armature
Fox Cub
Malvern Armatures - Stop Motion Animation Armature - Bespoke Designs
Neck Assembly