Thursday, 18 December 2008

Every breath you take

Finally, something tangible to show!

I have completed the main section of the breathing mechanism for the Martian. At its heart is a threaded bolt which causes a wing-nut to move back and forth when the bolt is rotated. This wing-nut then pushes out two hinged arms on either side. An elastic band connecting the arms then pulls them back in when the direction of the wing-nut is reversed (by rotating the bolt the other way). In practise, I suspect the elastic sides of the animation puppet would push the arms back in without the elastic band, but it's there for the video demonstrations below.

The mechanism is incomplete, insofar as it would have to be attached to a pair of 'breast-plates' which will conform to the shape of the Martian's body. The basic mechanism as shown could also be used in puppets of quadruped creatures, such as certain herbivorous dinosaurs.

To give an idea of size, the threaded bolt is around three-inches (75mm) in length, and it was animated with one complete turn of the bolt per frame, at 25fps.

The basic mechanism is shown, as viewed from above, in the schematic diagram:

And this video shows the mechanism's action:

While this one reveals the inner part of the mechanism, with the arms hinged out of the way, just about showing the piece of square plastic epoxied to the wing-nut which prevents it from turning and losing contact with the hinged arms:


groovista said...


Came across your blog in a comment of yours at Excellent stuff, indeed!

Your Welles Martian is great! So is your commentary on the character. He evokes Uncle Ray's own 1949 "WotW" tests.

I myself am working on my own "Old Mars" stop-motion film, and your breathing mechanism gives me ideas for fleshing out my "thoat", or Martian riding beast. Could I hook a set of 'louvers' to the arms to make gills open and close?

McTodd said...

Thank you for your kind words!

I like the sound of your project, it's nice to get back to the early roots of science fiction and fantasy, and I hopr you can publish pictures of your thoat somewhere at some point.

I can't imagine that my mechanism in its current form could be used to make gills open and close, but possibly the core of it (that is, the frame and nut-&-bolt) could be used to actuate a different mechanism for gills.

How big is your thoat model and how big would the gills be?

BTW, I'm now not going to be on the interweb to any great extent for several days at least, but if you can give me an idea of details of your thoat model, I can have a think about it.

groovista said...

Happy New Year!

Back in the saddle, so to speak...
I'm designing the "vork" right now and will have a sketch posted soon.

In the meantime, here's the inspiration (apart from Edgar Rice Burroughs himself):

And a wee dram o' news about the project:

I can send you a password for the project website if you like.