Craft & Design
DIY stop motion ball and socket joint

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Stop motion armatures require a model to hold poses without drifting, yet offer wide degrees of rotational freedom. Most professional armatures use precision machined ball and socket joints. This tutorial at Castlegardener’s blog shows how to make your own using threaded rod and pre-tapped balls from the hardware store.

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14 thoughts on “DIY stop motion ball and socket joint

  1. I didn’t know that you could find pre-tapped balls at a hardware store. That would have made it a lot easier to make my rigs.
    In order to make my own rigs I took existing ball and socket joints from cheap antenna mirrors you buy at an autoparts store. I just cut them off from the extension and epoxied them into standard tubing and it worked great. (http://frijolemagico.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-rig.html)

    Another way to attach the ball to the threaded rod
    A company out of England sells ball and socket armatures but rather than soldering the ball to the threads, they suggest using threadlock with the kit. The threadlock works great and you can avoid all the cutting and soldering.

  2. Funnily enough I made something similar to fix the mirror in the car I restored. That has a central spoke in the middle of the windscreen. Instead of a plate with a ball at each end it has a ball at one end and is bent at the other end to clamp around the spoke.

    I used a ball bearing from out of a spray can and soldered a length of brass tube to it to make the ball and rod part.

    The other end of the tube attaches to the back of the mirror (in another ball joint). This let you clamp the mirror to the spoke and still adjust the position of the mirror.

    It’s easy to cut the brass tube ends square then solder it to the ball bearings. I was worried the solder might not be strong enough but it’s held up attached to a vibrating mirror in a sports car for the last 6 months no problem.

      1. I never throw out an old spray can without first removing it’s ball bearing or glass marble! I have a jar full of them at home. I also have a biscuit tin full of old wheel balancing weights collected off the roads. You never know when this stuff might be useful :)

  3. I find, this is an original idea and there are still other ideas. Maybe one can try to fasten the mirror in the car with a chewing gum.

  4. Very interesting solution!

    I have a challenge for you; I want to build my own monitor stand (floor pole; not wall mount) for a 23″ touch screen monitor (19 lbs.) for a All In One PC.
    My challenge is that I want the stand to swivel/fold out from a collapsed position to over my lap while I sit in my recliner.

    So instead of a laptop on my lap I want the wireless keyboard in my lap and the monitor on a stand at eye-level over my legs. It is a 23″ touch screen using Windows 8.

    I’ve searched for joints – swivel, ball, bolt/wing nut, articulating arms etc. but really haven’t found anything.

    Does anyone have any design ideas? Or a source of joint parts?

    Thanks in advance!

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John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

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