Creaturiste's Laboratory

Techniques, works in progress, and everything that doesn't fit in the portfolio. Comments and questions are encouraged, custom orders are welcome!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Simple rod marionette control

I made up this control really fast, to replace the fragile (and broken), overly complex control that came with a rod marionette my customer brought from Belgium.
The marionette itself was well built.

I had to simplify the system so that amateurs could make it move really well, at first. So I made it in one piece, no movable parts on the control.

The handle is a piece of pine.
The horizontal extension is made of two pieces of hardwood, which I cut from the bigger paint stirring sticks I found at the hardware store. I love those! The are pre-pierced to prevent splitting, glued in place, and screwed as well. The screw eyes are inserted with a bit of glue, until their base sinks a bit into the wood, to make sure the strings will never grab or escape. Their ends that poke through are cut flush with the surface. All the screw heads are covered with epoxy putty.
The control parts are filed and sanded smooth while still separate.
Another step of sanding and filing is done on the assembled control.

Only two strings operate the arms and legs.

The leg string goes through both screw eyes at the top.
The arm string goes through the single screw eye.

Because I didn't have the time to replace the rod, I had to break the old control off of the rod, and build my new control over the existing, already-bent rod.
this meant I had to carve a channel into my wooden handle to snugly hold the rod in place.
I then filled it with epoxy putty (plumbing grade). I like the one from PC products (USA), because it is very strong, and cures well within 20 minutes.
Once applied, you can smooth epoxy putty with a bit of rubbing alcohol on your gloved finger.
When cured, a filing and sanding can be done to achieve a seamless result.

I painted the whole control with a glue-based black paint of my own composition.

Neat feature:
Grab leg string, and the opposite side of the arm string, then activate the legs.

This makes the rod marionette walk with the natural opposition of arms and legs (left arm raises as the right leg does same).

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