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Inner Tube Tortoise – Armature

This post in part of a series where I try to make a Galapagos tortoise out of inner tubes. Find all the posts here.

This project is definitely not out of the woods yet, but the “Is This Possible?”-o-meter has swung back towards yes. At least in paper mache or clay.

To be perfectly honest, after my last post I procrastinated…a lot. Much of that was due to a deadline for a submission I was working on (more on that if I get selected). But mostly I wasn’t finding it fun.

Sometimes it takes a bit of a nudge to get me over the hump so I start and find something I enjoy. And in this case that nudge was the lady organising our entries getting in touch to say we had a meeting Tuesday the 6th to discuss our progress so far.

I felt like I needed SOMETHING to show besides five paper mache shells and a pinterest board.

So I decided to use the video I pinned in the last post as my method.

Measuring

I needed to translate my 2D screenshots into a 3D image. I decided to use maths.

I had the handy 360 view of Lonesome George from the AMNH to work from, and I’d taken screenshots and printed out Front, Side, and Back views. I took measurements but was finding it hard to visualise how to combine all those measurements to make sense.

In the end I used this method, hoping to find the distance between the two points:

Does that picture make sense? I ran it past my husband and he said he got what I was on about, so that’s probably good?

Basically I used my quilting ruler to made a grid on top of the screenshots, then measured Lengths and Heights from each applicable view. Then it was a matter of plugging into google’s hypotenuse calculator to get my measurements.

The paper mache shell was double the measurements on the screenshots, so I doubled all my final results. It’s all in this handy spreadsheet:

Which then translated into this diagram:

Assembly

I followed the instructions on the video, but added extra wires to support the angles of the legs and backbone, as they kept wanting to twist.

So instead of just Left legs / Spine / Right Legs, I also attached separate front legs and back legs wires, AND wires that went from each front leg up part of the neck.

But when I held on the shell…the armature looked a little too big. Still not sure why that happened TBH. I probably doubled at the wrong point.

If I held the back of the shell where I wanted it to be, the join of the front legs was about 3cm further forward than it should be. Proportionally it seemed alright, so I just shrunk everything down by 33% so my 130mm backbone measurement became 100mm.

Here are the updated spreadsheet and diagram.

You following so far? Good.

Assembly Try 2

I followed the same method as the first time, as it turned out really solid. And I’m pleased to say it looked MUCH better.

Funnily enough, if you looked at my last post’s horrible attempt at an armature, it’s basically the same size as my 2nd go. So that rough wire sketch didn’t end up being pointless after all.

I even added a little wire just to hold the shell on for the ladies at the WI meeting to see. I’ll add more wire to create a basic shape for the shell to rest on…and pad with newspaper.

Next Steps

Next up is to make a couple more of these – I’m thinking 2 more. This first one will be for paper mache, the second for (hopefully) inner tube, and the third as a backup…or to try with clay if the paper mache doesn’t go quite to plan.

This method was designed for clay, so it’s possible I could struggle getting the paper padding to stay put. But I think with enough masking tape anything is possible.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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