Questions For Ted



  • Ted, if we are coating with latex, as it cures, won't it shrink about 15%? How do we keep it from cracking or tearing or whatnot? I noticed if my tinted latex is too much paint and too little latex (should just be a touch of tint) it will crack as it dries. Only had that happen in one spot, but as I'm doing the whole body, there are bound to be sections that shrink to the point of cracking, won't there?
  • I cannot find the paint tints anywhere but online and nothing with quick shipping. Can I just use thinned rubber cement without a tint as a bottom coat like I would with pax paint, and then color with acrylics and seal with the liquitex gloss like steve wangs lesson? Pax seems a little stiff to me so I'm hoping this is okay.
  •  I use to work for a Paint store and was able to get my hands on Universal Tint by the quarts. You could go in and ask a paint store- if you show them what your working on and tell them how desperate you are they would be jack asses not to give you some. When I worked for the store as a 18yr old they use to get tint by the skid and it takes them months to go through one quart of each color.
  • James, I know you are getting all your materials abroad. But I have never had latex shrink so much that it cracks. That to me suggests that it has a lot of fillers in it and drys' more rigid than stretchy. Latex should not crack that quickly. And yes it will shrink, a bit, but not enough to crack it. You may be adding too much tint to the latex and weakening it. That may cause it to crack. When I add tint to latex, it's in drops to quarts. Just enough to, TINT, the latex. Not completely color it. 
  • Peter, I am not sure how well the acrylics will stick to the ribber cement. The reason for using one method or an other, is to of course have continuity of chemicals. Using all PAX or all RCP is to ensure that each layer adheres to the next. Do an experiment first if you are going to attempt something new. Don't experiment on your finished piece.
     I did an experiment myself today as well. I called my very small town, that I grew up in WI, looking for paint tints. They of course didn't have any. Then I did what I did when I was a kid. I asked, if I brought in a two once bottle of my own, would they be willing to sell me just the tint that came out of their mixing machines. They, as they did when I was a kid, said yes when explained what I was doing. (I told them I was making Halloween masks) These where stores from, mom&pop paint stores, Sherwin Williams, Ace Hardware and even Home Depot. Now of course here in LA my Home Depot, Lowes, and all paint stores carry the tints in 2 or 8 oz bottles. I even found some tints at Michael's Art Supply stores.
     Don't be afraid to ask these stores to do something out of their ordinary. Thats how I got everything I needed when I was a teenager. I even took 1 quart glass jars to the local carpeting store, so that they could sell me latex rubber (that they use for glueing down carpets) for my masks and makeups. I also got all my alginate and dental supplies, from my dentist, when I was 14, to do life casts. People will help you out when they think what you are doing is interesting. They in some way are a part of it then. I always showed up later with pictures of how and what I was doing, with what they sold me.
  • I'm sorry, I just read Toms' comment and he's right on it. 
  • Oh my god, most people in Sacramento are not helpful. I finally got the last store on my list to help me out. Whew!
  • Yes, I had added too much paint. I just kept adding until I got a really dark black and it ended up being almost 50/50! Haha, waaaay too much. Problem solved. The next batch was great.
  • Peter and James... Experimentation and persistence!!!! Hurray!!!!!!!
  • i used my old batch of foam latex sludge for some test runs cause i'm gonna run short  i think on my arms. i ran normal time once and it gelled in the bowl, so  ran it again and cut the refine to 1 minute from 3 and 45 seconds for gel and it was very usable. This stuff was like paste so i'm very surprised.

    Experimentation and persistence :)

  • That's what it's all about Peter. The failures only show us how to do it the right way. And I've been shown the right way many times over many years doing this :)
  • Peter BondPeter Bond ✭✭✭
    edited October 2013

    Okay, final questions.

    I tried my mechs with teflon tube and nylon braided fishing line (play soup method) and realized after putting it all together that fishing line stretches (braided) or breaks under too much strain (power line). I should have used cables but was looking for something with less friction. I;ve had a lot of success with brake cables but they are heavy and not smooth. I've only used the cheap brands, so maybe a good brand with PTFE, maybe a smaller shift cable intead of brake cable.

    So the questions:


    1.What type of cables and housing should I be using? If you can be very specific it would help. Too many options.

    2. what type of triggers will work best and give you the most leverage with your fingers?

  • Motor bike brake cable and machined triggers are the preferred method I think. Check out the cable mech vids.
  • Peter, I'm going to reach out to a Legacy mechanic and get back to you with specifics.
  • That would be frickin awesome Ted. You the man!


    James, do you know if motor bike cables are thinner, or more flexible than bicycle? I would think the opposite, but never seen motorbike ones.

  • Dunno, I'm quoting from Richard Landon on his cable mechs tut.
  • Peter and all, This is a photo, with source and size info, that I received from Richard Landon. If you don't know him from his SWS tutorials, he has been a Stan Winston Studio/Lecacy Effects mechanic since and before the original Predator film. He knows his stuff!!! You can see that the company name that he orders cable from is, Hosmer Dorrence. He also included their phone number and sizes of cables. A huge thanks to Richard for the info!!!

    I hope this helps you all out.

  • Thanks a ton, Ted. I'll be ordering these for my next project. I was talking with Tom Stewart and we both think a mechanics course would be a great idea for a class. Maybe not just an animotronic course but something that covers different projects like moving parts for a suit, puppet, or servo controlled character. Hopefully Matt can put something like that together with Richard or Rick.

    When do you expect to have the grading done? Tom and I are both anxious to learn if we are masters or padawan :)

  • Also, the hero suit class or video would be great :)
  • It's limited though to a few movements. I want to know everything possible. I want to see how the pro's do an eye mech or ear movements with cables only. 
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