Making Ball Joints for Bird Armature

Long time no post but hard work… I have been trying to figure out making ball&socket armatures. I wanted to post when I HAD something to show.

I first started with a wire armature for Kush but after couple of different wire tests, I decided to try ball joints for the bird armature. Kush will make a lot of things like flying, landing, shaking head, sitting,.. so she need to have a good bird armature. Shoulder joints are the ones who break easily. Now I am working on an bird armature mixed ball joints and wire/epoxy.

Here is my first ball joint. ( I will round the corners of plates around the ball)

ball joints for bird armature

Since I started stop motion I have learnt a lot of things but this has the been the hardest one for me. Working with metals is not the problem. Finding the right materials is the hardest thing.  I live in a small town not much alternatives here.

Anyways.. Kush’s bird armature will be mixed ball joints and wire with epoxy putty. I will post details later as I am still working on the bird armature.

making ball joints

I have DREMEL 300 to cut metals, Black &Decker drill (not  a drill mill..) and DREMEL VersaTip for welding. I use brass plates, steel balls and rods, silver wire for welding. I was not able to drill the balls so instead I cut the ball and placed rod inside for welding as it is shown on the first picture. It is now pretty strong after welding. There are many good articles, tutorials about making ball & socket armatures on the web and I will post URLs later with my tutorial.

And another thing… Hey I now have liquid latex. This might seem funny but I have been tring to find liquid latex for the last 8 months. Last week my sister came here with a bottle of liquid latex she bhought in Istanbul at Armagan Boya in Karakoy. Many thanks to my friend Niyazi who told me about this store and to my sister who went there and picked up a bottle to bring here. She also found some very nice eagle feathers. Very dark and shinny.. Those would look great on Kush.

Here is my first liquid latex covered hand:

As this is a test; two fingers are direct liquid latex over wire and others covered with pantyhose before latex. It works pretty good and I am soooooo happy to have liquid latex.

EDIT on 7th:

Yesterday I posted on asking for reviews of the bird armature drawing I made. Most of the people replied writing me about the metal thickness of the ball joint I made. They were telling me to use thicker ones. I have limited machinery and I was not sure if I could cut thicker metals. Today, I wanted to give it a try and bhought some thicker brass. And it worked! I can cut and shape thicker brass with Dremel tool. And the result after long dusty process:

ball joints for bird armature

This thing is really small.. I could not believe for a while that I did this. 12×8 mm
And another BIG BIG process for me… I was able to drill the ball !!!! (6mm) I applied a special treatment to the ball to make the steal softer and vaowww I was able to drill it. I will post about this unique information an old person gave me here, later with my tutorial post. So, thats all for now. Tomorrow is a big day,.. working on real joints… no more tests..

8 replies on “Making Ball Joints for Bird Armature”

Looks great! We live in a small town too and have a hard time finding some materials, though there are a lot of great thrift stores here to find lots of small props and set dressings. Aren’t Dremel’s fun?! DJ loves finding any excuse to dremel something! heheh
Jed xo

Jed, yeah Dremel is a lot of fun 🙂 I have already tried drawing over glass, cutting terra cotta,.. Ops, making stop motion here.. hehe.

Thank you for your comment Jed. I love living in this small town but sometimes having limited stores for the things I need make really tired. I ask for something and people look at me thinking I am crazy. I have been going to some people asking -hey I need to drill this 6mm ball 🙂 First reply is the same: -Why ??

Dremel more and have fun!

YAZ! You amaze me! I’m literally stunned at the bold progress you’ve made here! Vaowow!

Welding?! You cheeky chick! Rock on! Good gravy, this is incredible. GOGO GO!!!

Can’t wait for the details so I can copy you.

Hey, NICE safety goggles and mask! If there are fumes as well as particulates, do you need me to send you a cartridge respirator as a patron-of-the-arts gifts? (I didn’t know you couldn’t easily run over to the local Home Depot or something when I nagged you about getting one!)

Shelley, thank you so much!!! I have a cartridge respirator I got a while ago and I wear it when I weld. When I cut the metals, there are no fumes but some particules. You are very very kind of a person to offer me sending a respirator as a patron-of-the-arts gift!!!! Thank you again.

I have just updated the post with the picture of the new joint I made today. This one is a lot better than previous. I am so happy to be able to make this joint with the limited tools I have. No drill mill, not a big machine to cut and sand… Just Dremel 300, Dremel Versa and a regular drill. I will post all I know about making ball joints when I complete kush’s armature. There are very good tutorials out there and I have bookmarked all to send URLs with my post. I hope my process will help you when you start making yours.

Vaowow! AGAIN! That is a gorgeous joint, Yaz! Even more impressive with the tools you are making it with! Holy cow.

I’m laughing so hard because, I as say everywhere, my Dremel tool is so weak it is stopped cold when trying to drill balsa wood! HA!

Looking forward to your tutorial of course.

Stay safe for Zeynep and Olive kitty!

Oups! Your Dremel tool 🙂 You need to buy a new one maybe. This little thing is amazing. Drilling, cutting metals!
Staying safe:)

very BIG STEP!

and very nice work Yaz…My Plate has been too full to take on ball an socket construction but….I am very excited to someday.

Excellent work and coverage.


Justin, I was planning to work on ball joints for my next film but it seemed like there was no other way for me to make this bird armature without ball joints. I will have only 4 ball joints and other parts will be wire. Try when you have time. This is a lot of fun; shaping solid metal and getting joints.

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