Hey All, 

I have a puppet, it's kind of like a plush toy. I'd love to make it breathe and remember seeing some sort of rig which was a simple balloon type mechanism that you inflate and release the air using a hand pump.

Does anyone remember the details/materials used or know of a tutorial?

I've seen some more elaborate/impressive breathers on this forum, but just want to stick to something simple.

Many thanks,

Chris.

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Hey Chris,

The only thing I know about the subject is that Harryhausen used to use a blood pressure thing - like they wrap around your arm and pump up with the little hand bulb. It's pretty ideal for it because there's a little screw valve in the bulb that doesn't let the air escape until you want it to. 

I would think that you could use the bloodpressure bulb,tubing, and a balloon if the cuff is too large for your puppet. You can buy the entire bloopressure machine for about $20. It is just as cheap to buy the whole thing than to just try and buy the bulb  and some tubing. The idea of using a balloon to make it appear that a puppet is breathing had occurred to me. Sounds like a great idea!

BP cuff bulbs can probably be purchased as a separate part for repair.  Check medical supply companies or maybe on Ebay you can find a used cuff.  You could use a standard hose connector which is a tube with several tapering flanges which snug the bulb tube.  Medical supply companies might have that also.  I do not know what the technical name for them is.  You would need to get the right size, probably for a quarter-inch tube, but measure the i.d. of the tube or ask what it is.  Otherwise you might try brass tubing and glue it with contact cement.  If you get a brass tube which is just a hair larger than the i.d. of the rubber hose it would probably work fine.  If the fit is tight, you would not need the cement, but might need glycerin to lube the tube so you can slip the hose over it.  In that case it should seal without anything else.  If you need to connect two different sizes of hose (I am calling the rubber tubing "hose" to differentiate it from the brass tubing), then get round tubing which telescopes -- K&S (is that the right brand name?) probably has some -- to make a reduction fitting.  You will probably need to seal the tubing to make it airtight.  The technical name for the bulb is a blood pressure cuff bulb and valve.

That's fantastic guys, thanks so much. Amazon have one for $13 here: http://goo.gl/0r51U 

I'll look on eBay also. Cheers!

Chris.

You can find the bloodpressure cuffs at Wal-Mart in front of the pharmacy. By the time you pay the shipping from Amazon, you can get it just as cheap at Wal-Mart and not have to wait for it to be shipped. Also, many pharmacies will carry them. Be sure you buy the whole thing, and not just a 'cuff'. And, as I said, earlier, you can buy the whole thing as cheap as you can buy just the bulb and some tubing.

I'd just have a balloon on both ends and place the controlling end duct tapped into a vise between a couple of boards.

Update: As suggested, I purchased a blood pressure cuff from Wal-Mart for about $14.

I stripped it down so it's just the balloon and pump and gave it a bash. It works beautifully!

I'll post the finished film hopefully in February.

Thanks all, you're great! 

Chris.

Chris...that is great news! So glad it works just right. I will be looking forward to seeing your finished film.

Chris,

I am glad the contraption works!  Could you take a photo of it and post, it would be great to see what you are doing with it.

Sure, I'll wait till the puppet is finished though, it's kind of headless right now :)

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