Saturday, May 13, 2006

UPDATED!! Rave Reviews!!!

Sorenson 3 Curtain Call on Vimeo
(This here is the higher quality Sorenson 3 clip as further converted by Flash. (Mike, fyi this IS the best I can focus the Uni.) At least you can see what I'm doing better.

This is/was quite possibly one of the most exciting 15 second experiences of my life.

Uh, Strider dude, you were so right. Mmmmmmm, Tiedowns. I am SOLD. I'm going to drill holes ALL over my beautiful set now, who cares, wood patch--wood patch!

Uh, Sven doodster, you are an artist! This armature is a dream!!! I have rarely had such a thrill. Actually I get excited a lot, but seeing this puppet dance is like my future saying, "This will work, all is well." and THAT doesn't happen everyday.

My only other lesson was to discover that I'll have to use a non-lead tin/silver alloy solder in my version as I am in an awful neurotic, OCD kind of fit over the lead in my new friend. I used the gloves of course, but the whole time, and even now, I feel contaminated. I'm all over my studio and computer while animating and touching my radio which then rests against my bare skin, etc. I feel as though the whole place is dusted with toxic poison. I wiped everything down afterwards with moist wipes but I feel dizzy and weirded out by it nonetheless. It's all in my head, but there's no way around that for me, short of dressing like Karen Silkwood on a rough day.

And taa daa... guess who rang ME today?! Clare. Yep, he saw the post about Sven's armature being here and he asked to come up and see it. And after looking at it for two seconds he knew exactly how we could make one here. He knew where to get the materials. He knew what equipment would be needed and confirmed that it all was already set up down there. He explained in detail the steps and fine points of constructing one. It seems to me to be a daunting amount of work. An huge amount of additional time and learning curve that I hadn't bargained for. However, today's test proved that indeed a ball joint is far superior control and performance potential.

I have two additional things to test before I fully commit to making these myself:

TEST 1: Tiedowns on Mach III (wire and block) armature being finished in the next few days for practice animation. If the wire can give me decent position control I may chicken out of fabricating a ball/joint. (Who am I kidding?--shhhh.)

TEST 2: A Pojo with Tiedowns (capitalized as Divine things are). If I can replicate something close to Sven's creation with my little fiddle bits then that may do for a while?


  1. Anonymous10:45 PM

    Oh, Shelley! I am so glad you like!!

    The clip is very exciting -- I hadn't animated with "the ambassador" yet -- so this is my first time seeing him in motion, too.

    If Clare Zero makes armatures for you based off of my design, two things to be aware of:

    1) Silver Solder frequently has Cadmium or Antimony in it -- which are also pretty nasty things. I'm still trying to learn more, but at present the best I can tell you is that you'll probably want to look at the specific brands of solder fairly closely. Reading the MSDS is probably the only way to be sure -- I doubt that Cadmium or Antimony will be mentioned just on the packaging.

    2) For my first armature, I wanted to mass produce a generic joint. I now think there's a better way to do the arms and legs. Take a look at the work of master armature fabricator Edmund Sydor (AKA Trikfx):

    The following two examples of his work required a lathe to make -- which is beyond me at this point -- but examine what he's doing with the legs...

    ...You may also want to have your armatures made out of steel, rather than brass -- which reacts badly with latex. Brass was easily available for me at the corner hardware store; I'm thinking I may do some shopping at to get steel for my next model.

    Anyway -- congratulations!

  2. Yes. Definitely get steel. In fact, I almost cried when you reported that you had showed Clare ball and socket joints without showing him LIO's quick&easy Open Hole Ball Joints tutorials, the way all of us get started in making armatures. It's also Ted's (Edmund, but he prefers to go by Ted) preferred method, though he does use a lathe and mill where as LIO's tutorials only require a drill press.

    Please, I beg you... print these pages out and show them to Clare:




    ...And last but not least my own
    Ball Drilling Jig

    LIO mentions in the tuts that you should get the lead-free silver solder. I bought exactly the materials he recommended and had no problems at all.

  3. Also, here's a recent thread where a guy names Flux gives some good advice about silver soldering. It starts off being about glues buyt a little ways down it turns good... look for the posts by Flux (AKA Jeremy Spake, who made a couple of armatures that kick-started my efforts back in the dim beginnings of time):

    Super glue ?

    Oh, and hey... really sweet dancimation there Shelley!

  4. Anonymous11:28 PM


    Sven's 'ture uses double ball joints for all the joints, which I'm sure he realizes is a bit problematic. At elbows and knees there should only be a single joint for more efficient and humanlike movement.

    It's a bit hard to see, but check out my Ahabature. This is probably the easiest way to make a balljoint armature (you can't accurately call them ball and socket joints... they're open hole balljoints).

  5. Sven, I had no idea you sent THE AMBASSADOR (Perfect!) out into the world without even seeing how it performed for you?! I was wondering about that but thought you would have had to take him out for a spin! Again THANK YOU! I don't just like him; I l-o-v-e him. There's no going back now. Thank you for the additional ideas and cautions (I will definitely look into the solder composition as closely as possible) but I have to say that Bassy operates utterly fine for me as he is.

    And Mike! Hi, I read all the wonderful links you give here BUT?????? excuse this grasshopper, but I see no difference between LIO's method and Sven's? Could you specify what your seeing as different between them? I will of course print out the works for Clare. He's got a drill press, metal scroll saw, acetylene torch, files, and the extensive experience wit fabricating scale (working!) steam locomotives.

    I just saw your add'l link, thank you! Great stuff. And thank you for your compliment. It makes my day.

  6. Woo. Now I see, Open Hole Balljoints. Is it just that LIO's uses singles at the joints?

    Very cool Ahabture, by the way. I had no idea you fab'd your own! What else you holding out on us? I guess if I read the boards more I would find out, huh?

  7. Wow, Sven, those Trikfx armatures are outta this world. Huwee.

  8. Anonymous12:35 AM

    Hey Mike --

    You're correct -- they're "open-hole double-ball" joints on the Ambassador. Folks seem to refer to these as B&S joints in the same way that jewelers incorrectly refer to brazing as "soldering"... I've felt a little embarrassed when I've gotten fussy about the nomenclature; so I was just being sloppy when I called them "ball and socket".

    The 'ture only looks double-jointed. For each of the elbows and knees, I froze one of the balls in place, so there's actually only one point of rotation.

    You mentioned your ball drilling jig. I'm wondering if you've seen the one over at I've only just discovered it, but I believe it has advantages over both yours and LIO's jigs. In the menu, look under "ARTICLES/RESOURCES" and then click on "Drilling Steel Spheres". (If it allowed me to link you there directly, I would.)

    Oh -- and thanks for explaining Sydor's name. I'd heard him referred to as Ted, and couldn't quite figure out what the name "Edmund" was about.

  9. Anonymous3:11 AM


    "The 'ture only looks double-jointed. For each of the elbows and knees, I froze one of the balls in place, so there's actually only one point of rotation."

    That's right, I had forgotten you froze the joints like that on the Ambassature. So essentially the elbows and knees are single ball joints, and work in humanlike fashion. And I understand that you wanted to automate the process by making a lot of identical plates. I just wanted to draw Shelley's attention to the method I used with the entire forearm being a pair of long plates (same for the thighs) because it takes a lot less work to make this way. Far less cutting, drilling and brazing. And if you notice the way I bent the upper arm rods near the shoulders, that was a cheap & dirty fix because the way I originally had it (the same but wth the rod straight) I couldn't get a full range of movement out of the arms. I racked my brain for a while and hit on the idea of bending the rods, and it worked out far better than I thought it would... in fact I would recommend it.

    The same goes for the way the rods are bent down at the hips.... my design was poor and the legs wouldn't move right. The bending there worked beautifully as well, but made his hips really slim. Kind of weird looking, but it's acceptible to me. Again, I recommend the design (with the bent-down hip rods) if you account for the reduction in width that comes from bending.

    Shelley, I hope this answered your question as well.

  10. Anonymous3:22 AM

    Oh, forgot to mention...

    Yes, I had seen Lima's ball drilling jig before. It looks like another nice solution. Problems I can anticipate with it are the balls wanting to spin with the drill bit, and the fact that you have to keep fiddling with it to load new balls, then you don't know if they're aligned perfectly when you drill, so you end up with a lot of crooked balls (like I did for ahab). I came up with my jig (from a suggestion by Trikfx himself) after making Ahab, and now I have a big jar full of perfectly drilled balls. The thing that makes my jig so good is that there's only one hole, and it's very easy to pop the vise open and drop a new ball in without having to move the vise, so once you get perfect alignment you keep the vise locked in that position, and it's a simple matter to then crank out a ball every minute or so all perfectly centered. It might take three or four test balls to find perfect alignment for the vice... you just tweak it slightly each time until the holes are right in the center.

    It's really a marvel of simplicity.

  11. Cool! A Shelley/Sven crossover event! Lookin' goooood! Got some great moves there. I plan to eventually wrap my brain around a more complex armature, but I want to perfect my 'wire-atures' first. (I'm sure the second a wire puppet breaks in mid-animation, I'll be ready to move on :P) Thanks for all the links Darkstrider!

  12. Thanks Jeffery!!! Don't worry about the armmies being one thing or 'nother, Darkly Stridding said that each has it's merits. Let's use 'em all!

  13. Like I said in another thread, there is no use trying to work these things out when Strider has literally already been there, absorbed it, applied his mind/hand to it, and generously shared it! I keep trying to chip away at my stone wheel in my dark cave whilst(!) Mike rolls on his neoprene board in the sunlight.

    You know what I'd really like, Mike? If you have one out, or perhaps next time you build one before it gets fleshed, would you be able to take several full length photos of one of your armmies' designs and post them?

    I'd like to see what you've worked out before I attempt to design one for Rana. I think Rana is the only Halflander that would benefit from an open hole balljoint bent-rod works.

  14. ok, no.

    I think I understood your explanation about the difference in armature design. But right now I'm mostly going, "blughhm".

    Long pressure plates instead of rods. I'd need more photos of pre-flesh Ahab to understand the bent-rod shoulder and the rest. I guess what you know is over my head right now.


  15. Anonymous7:25 PM

    Go Shelley go! 8-) I liked your previous clip where the character was sweeping and now you have this really great clip with Sven's armature. I don't remember seeing Strider's Ahab armature before - thanks for posting your pic and armature instruction links Strider.

  16. I can certainly understand your not understanding Shelley, because obviously I failed to understand the problems with my armmy design until after I had built it and discovered it wouldn't work the way I wanted. All those joints working in unison to create a (hopefully) functional human form add up to a lot of calculus that's difficult to wrap your head around until you actually make one or see good pics with descriptions of some that don't work right.

    I'll tell ya what I'll do... I'm gonna strip ol Ahab down to the bone (though I suspect if you'd strip the real captain down you'd find not bone but whale ivory underneath that leathery flesh). Then I'll document his 'ture from all possible angles.

    I always planned on making more, but around that time I used my drill press to build the camerajack on and haven't wanted to dissassemble that since.

  17. HANDS OFF!

    Don't you dare destroy Ahab!! No way!

    What would do VERY well is to draw me (and everyone) a stick figure diagram. We won't look at it in terms of a finished technical rendering, but as a rough explaination of what you've come to understand about movement and mechanics. How long to make sandwich plates and where to put what kind of joints, in general. Then we could check our plans, made from what we'd learned, with you once before we cut up any steel.

    I'm sure we'd all be very grateful to you for that!

  18. Thanks DG!!! Woo hoo, Did I mention how much I love animation?

  19. Ambassature arm
    Ahabature arm

    Here's a quick photoshop comparison showing # of balls and plates in each arm to get across an idea of the amount of work involved for each type of armature. You can drag them onto your desktop and look at them side by side. Bear in mind also that brazing a joint or a ball very close to an existing braze can heat up and melt the original braze, so it's tricky to do things like freeze a ball into a joint the way Sven did for all these jonts. More brazed joins means more places where the armature can possibly break in the middle of a shot.

    I'm not saying that "my way is best" , Sven has made quite a nice armature obviously. I just want to point out two different approaches. I tend to go for the simplest way and keep things as sturdy/least amount of pieces as possible. And don't worry Shell... removing the few tattered scraps of foam remaining on Ahab's 'ture will hardly destroy him. There's not much of it left! In fact I'd like the chance to re-foam him and flesh him out a little better. He was my first attempt at puppetsmithing and I've learned a bunch since.

    The thing I'm more concerned about is that I won't be able to clean the Barge cement off very well, so it will be hard to see the 'ture clearly. I might be able to locate pics of some similarly made armatures on the web somewhere.

  20. You're welcome DG! The Ahabature pic is on my Gallery page... I wish I had more, but this is the only one that survived a computer crash a while back wherein I lost lots of pics and cool stuff.

    And Shelley, a drawing (or a few of them) is a good idea. Possibly also a little Quicktime demo of shoulder/arm movement that can help explain things quickly and easily. Hey, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many is a film clip worth? I'll see what I can whip up.

  21. "herself said...
    Like I said in another thread, there is no use trying to work these things out when Strider has literally already been there, absorbed it, applied his mind/hand to it, and generously shared it! I keep trying to chip away at my stone wheel in my dark cave whilst(!) Mike rolls on his neoprene board in the sunlight."

    Hah! Well, thanks for the vote of confidence! Actually I've worked out certain things that I know will work for me, and I'm glad to share my findings with others when they're setting off down those same roads. But different strokes for different folks as they say. I'm sure in some cases what works for me will be anathema to you, or Sven might be able to work wonders with something that i find frustrating.

    And I just now 'got' that Me Go reference! Too cool! : )

  22. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Mike didn't mention, but I feel it bears saying: you can see the original picture of the naked Ahabature on the "gallery" page over at

    Mike's right about how it can be tricky to freeze a ball in place without re-melting the solder somewhere else on the 'ture... Although, actually: it was putting a second ball on a rod that gave me more problems than freezing balls in place. I sort of understand why, but it would be difficult to explain.

    With regards to drilling holes in the balls... For me, drilling the balls was the easiest and most fun part of the armature -- because I used beads, rather than bearings. They're hollow and already have a hole that goes through them. All I had to do was enlarge that hole with a hand-held power drill. Since the bead was hollow, I could slip little pieces of solder inside of the bead with the rod.

    I've said this over at my blog, and I said it to Shelley in private... The "ambassature" (LOL!) is NOT a pro armature. I wanted to come up with an INTERMEDIATE design, something that folks could do without ordering metals online, or needing big table-hogging bench tools. It's kinda a big leap from wire armatures to machined steel armatures -- I wanted to create a stepping stone, both for myself and to share with the community.

  23. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Oops. Mike did mention the gallery -- exactly while I was composing my message. Freaky.

  24. Great minds and all, don't ya know! ;)

  25. Also, a self-correction. Aways back up there I said something about using LEAD-FREE silver solder. D-OH!!

    I meant to say CADMIUM-free silver solder. I got all my materials online and was able to find exactly what LIo reccommended. My suppliers were mostly and I got the Safety-Silv 56 wire in a very tiny diameter, and I don't recall any more but it seems like I had to seek out an online jewelry supplier for that... possibly the only component I wasn't able to get through the above-mentioned sites.

  26. Hi, This is Shell reply to the last flurry, Setting aside the Sven has more balls jokes, I want to say that this dialog is really helping me understand how to make a 'ture.

    -Nitrile™, right, I realized that too, post post.

    -Safety Silv, right. Things that appear on the Periodic Table on our work tables: bad.

    -beads seeming gooder than bearings?

    -long plates seem easier than small, in certain bendy places.

    -mates like you...priceless

  27. Oh and Sven, Scarlet Star's offical 1/2L. button went out with the others on Friday. If you don't see it in a couple days, please let me know. Thanks!!!

  28. Here's an online supplier that carries what I believe is a suitable silver solder: Santa Fe Jewelry Supplier

    You'd want the HARD 75% silver cadmium-free wire, located at the very bottom of the list.

  29. Aw Shelley, you had to go there, didn't you?!! Not to mention he has balls of brass!

    The bead trick is pretty cool... I hadn't seen that one before. Fantastic for brass 'tures. If you do use steel, then you'd go with the 302 stainless balls that drill out so sweetly.

    I just located my supply of Safety-Silv, and it's only 1/32" diameter. As I recall, LIO recommends the really thin stuff like this. So maybe forget that last supplier I posted and I'll keep looking. I remember I ended up getting my Safety-Silv from a lapidary supplier.

  30. It's weird how joke-laden this whole endeavor is... balls, holes, rods.... too many opportunities for hilarity! Crooked rods, scratched balls..... it goes on and on. And all those screws.....

    Ahem. Ok, all better now.

    I wanted to share something that might help to reassure anyone (Shellster etc) ponmdering entering into the metalworking arena. And I know Sven can relate here, having made a 'ture.

    It's hard to believe I can actually do this... it's not something I would have ever believed was possible! It's scary to start off in metalworking... it's noisy and violent and sparks go flying everywhere, and all the flame and metal dust.....

    But there are only a few things you need to be able to do to make these kinds of armatures. The brazing... only 2 kinds of joins you really need to be able to do... balls onto rods and sometimes rods onto flat metal plates or something similar. Different things, requiring different techniques, but once you've learned those skills they're always yours. There's a big learning curve in the beginning, but by the time you finish your first armature you've done it all, aside from a few further variations and more advanced (unnecessary) tricks you might persue in the future.

    And the kind of weird thing is, once you've got your materials/tools, the things you need to do are really pretty simple.

    I'm sure Clare will be able to knock one or two of these out for you no problem, possibly with a few false starts. Then you could get yourself a little drill press and a grinder or belt sander and be able to do it yourself.
    There are a few essential threads dealing with specifics that I think anyone attempting this should read and print out as reference. I'll try to dig them up (Sven, any chance you've got some bookmarked?).

  31. Wow, I can't stop posting on this thread! ; )

    A couple observartions/suggestions if I may -

    1) Sounds like it's time to fab up the Mach IV, all Almaloy!

    2) Your animation is getting much better. I thinkk you're just about through the baby steps/just getting your feet wet phase and almost ready to really start learning how to animate. Pretty soon your blog bros will start critiquing it. ; )

    Also, are you focusing the camera? That might explain the fuzziness I keep noticing. That or some really harsh compression. In the beginning I wasn't aware of how to focus the Unibrain... you just turn the lens ring. That hit me like a revelation, and when it did suddenly it was like somebody had peeled away a blurry filter over my world.

    Can't wait for the next clip and post!

  32. Hi, Mike, really great stuff you've been writing here, thank you. I agree with everything you've said. I think you are right about the metal armature being doable once done. And I think you're right my whole war dance against Tiedowns and metal work were simply the throws of my newbee rancor.

    And you're right that I on my way to beginning to enter the process of maybe getting underway soon.

    Thank you for all the valuable information, names, and even their links!

    My smurch arrived at my middle. I'll be back as soon as I can, believe dat.

  33. Ooooooh!!


    Begone badsmurch!

    Ok, well, come back when you can. Happy thoughts goin' out yer way.

  34. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Mike -- you asked if I have any metalworking links bookmarked... Sorry, I don't think I have anything relevant.

    However, I would like to at this point chime in with Mike's "metalworking is doable!" song.

    Prior to February, I had never done any metal working. Period. In fact, I clearly remember the message I wrote to Mike saying how the thought of metalworking scared the bejeezus out of me. His encouraging words got me over the hump, to the point where I decided that I'm probably a smart-enough sort of person to be able to get the job done. [THANK YOU MIKE!!]

    There were several distinct steps for me in learning what I know so far.

    #1. Cutting a strip of aluminum. I started with a hacksaw and trying to hold the metal down by hand. Couldn't do it. I got a drillpress vise -- wrong kind of vise. I got a small clamp-to-the-table vise and wax for the hacksaw blade. That worked, but my cuts were sort of crooked. I tried using a dremel cut-off wheel, and suddenly cutting metal was like slicing butter.

    #2. Drilling and tapping a brass strip. Drilling was pretty easy right off the bat. What I didn't realize at first was that normal drill bits work fine. If they're labeled HSS, that means "High Speed Steel", which can easily cut the softer metals (brass, aluminum, copper). HSS bits are probably what you have by default; you can get carbide bits at a hardware store, which are even more durable. ...Tapping just requires buying a little specialized tool so you can screw threads into a hole. I was so proud when I showed Gretchin a simple hole with a screw in it -- and I had made the threaded hole myself!

    #3. Soldering. I needed to learn soldering so I could attach little brass nuts onto square K&S tubing, so I could make plug-in armatures like Susannah Shaw describes. (Neither super glue nor epoxy putty made adequate bonds.) My first frustration was learning that a zinc nut wasn't going to attach to the brass K&S -- it had to be brass-to-brass. I discovered that I had to sand the parts a little to make sure that they were clean. Then it took a little bit of fiddling to figure out where to press the soldering iron and how to hold the soldering wire effectively. ...But then, poof! I knew how to solder!

    #4. Safe ventilation. Reading online, I found out that the fumes from soldering -- both from the lead and from the rosin core -- are hazardous. (My other main worry had been the fumes from epoxy glue.) My desk isn't in front of a window, so I needed a way to suck the fumes through dryer ducting that I bought at Home Depot. I tried an air brush spray booth -- it was way too big for my desk! I found some tiny desk fans made specifically for soldering and ordered one from I figured out a way to modify it so it could vent through the ducting. The write-up on my solution is available over at Scarlet Letters.

    #5. Using a torch. When it came time to attach balls onto rods, the soldering iron couldn't get the metals hot enough. I wound up using a butane micro-torch -- actually the kitchen brulee torch that I got two Christmases back! Flame scares me, and it took a little time even when I was in the kitchen to get comfortable with using something that's 1200 degrees hot. Using it for metal working, it wasn't bad at all -- as soon as I figured out that I ought to work on top of a cinder block, and that a small "helping hands" clamping device from Radio Shack was necessary to hold things for me while I heated them.

    ...And that's actually everything I know!! Each step was a big deal to me -- but once learned, it's just like adding a new media to the art pantry: pastels, acrylics, clay...

    Oh -- one other step that was a meaningful hurdle: ordering materials online. It was really weird to be buying something that I'd never touched in person before. Buying "self-skinning flexible expanding urethane foam" from MonsterMakers was where I got over that. I'm going to need to order type 302 stainless steel balls from soon -- I wouldn't be able to if I hadn't already broken the online-buying barrier.

    (Not a barrier, but another little bit of learning: Walking around the hardware store looking at nuts and bolts and screws long enough to know the difference between 4-40, 6-32, and 10-24; the difference between a socket cap screw and a machine screw; the difference between brass, zinc, and stainless steel screws... It's been really useful to be able to recognize these things by sight.)

  35. Thank you, Sven, for the detailed great info above (I'm glad you mentioned the vent post for any readers, but duh-a, natch I've read your safety post--that's when I KNEW you were my type of guy! Anyone who understands the importance of proper precaution is my brother in arms. That picture of you in the storm trooper get up is priceless, and slightly courageous. ;-}º)

    I hear you and Mike on the overcoming the metallic unknown and being able to craft these but as I said, I wasn't bargaining on adding this to the mix. I'll do it, with Clare's help, but if I didn't covet the movement so much, I prolly wouldn't do it. Being honest. It's like going to bake a loaf of bread from scratch, growing the grain, grinding it into flour, developing the recipe to perfection, mixing all the finest ingredients together--and then being told that I have to learn how to build a high-tech electric oven first! Yikes!

    Thanks for the good thoughts!

  36. LOL!!

    So true shelley, so true. On the message board people have likened making your own armature to a Jedi knight building his own lightsaber. Each part hard-crafted with loving skill.

    Sven, thanks for that detailed breakdown of the learning process. It's been pretty long since I went through it, and I couldn't remember it that well anymore. But you're so right about so many things. Especially the Dremel with a fiberglass-reinforced cutoff wheel. Stock up on the wheels.. they go fast but are worth their weight in depleted uranium. Be sure to wear goggles when you cut metal, and be aware that a big shower of hot orange sparks will come flying out in the direction the wheel is spinning. Depending on how you hold the dremel, it will either be directly up into your face or down toward the floor. I leave it to you to decide which way you want to direct it. ; )

    Sven, it's so cool to see people breaking through these barriers and know that I was able to help!

  37. Anonymous11:30 PM

    Oh, I'm not trying to nudge you into doing metalwork Shellio -- honest. Mike was singing about metalworking being doable, and I just had to chime in. ...Didn't expect to blurt a whole opera, tho!

    ...I keep fantasizing about contributing an article to the SMA handbook. Maybe this "metalworking for beginners" song (with added pics & commentary) will be the real thang.

  38. Anonymous12:46 AM

    Cool animation Shelly.
    Makes it so much more fun when you have control doesn't it!
    Look forward to seeing what your going to do now.

  39. Hi Sven, not at all!! I mightily appreciated everything you described. It helps to know what you've learned and that once I learn I'll be metal empowered too. I was just whining, kicking, screaming, resisting a bit. It's normal? Your metal operetta is/was excellent! Thank you.

    And thank you so much, Phil!!! Yes, control is like a dream. I cannot wait to do more. I absolutely love doing this. I envision Halfland more realistically now, like coming out of a dim tunnel into daylight, and if it all works as I hope, it will be truly beautiful.

  40. Hey Shelley!
    I just added a link to your site in the links part of my site, but I was wondering if you had some other logo to put, 'cause I've put the button, but.....Well, you see it, and let me know what you think about it. If you like it that's fine for me, but if you got some other graphic you prefer, tell me ;)

    OK, see ya and treat the stopmo ambassador good! :P

  41. Thank you, Ale! So nice of you to include me! I thought the button looked just fine but I sent you over a horizontal strip of the addy so it would take up less real estate.

    I've got the Ambassa'ture (heehawsnort) sitting on a plum velvet throne, whilst (!) he's being served chilled, imported WDforté and nibbling salted hex nuts. He seems happy, although it is hard to tell, without his having a head and all.


  42. Anonymous12:35 AM

    A follow up on the topic of safe solder...

    I walked into a welding supply store and found "Safety-Silv 45". The 45 stands for 45% silver -- and much to my pleasure, the MSDS tells you *exactly* what the metal composition is. No cadmium. (And no nickle, which can be a carcinogen... if it's in gaseous form?)

    I haven't looked in lapidary stores with a soldering eye yet... And I'm a little reticent to do so, since jewelry-making folk use slightly different language (e.g. silver solder that is "hard", "medium", or "soft"??)... But it looks like Safety-Silv is a pretty standard product in welding supply shops.

    I could only find 1/16" wire. I'd prefer the 1/32" -- but welding shops are unlikely to carry anything that petite. I've decided that I'm going to keep the 1/16" stuff... I notice that Tom Brierton uses solder that's a good deal thicker than that, and just shaves off bits with an exacto knife. If I DO later decide I want 1/32" wire, I'm going to walk into my welding supply store and have them special order it for me.

    Safety-Silv is produced by a company named Harris. I've taken a look at their website, and their selection is excellent. Unfortunately, they don't sell to the individual consumer online.

  43. Hi Sven!~ It's so funny you wrote this as I just made my way through the solder/brazing SMA thread that Mike posted here and then I linky leaped to the Chicago Art Resource scary hazard guide articles you had posted in it too. I tell you after reading that site for a while I was afraid to leave this chair! I'm sure they have a section on the hazards of sitting too. Sca-hair-ree.

    Safety-Silv 45. Got cha. Thanks!


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