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Hi Everyone,

I’m currently just shopping around for the best solutions for me to make an animation stage for my steel footed puppets. I wanted to go down the magnet tie down method for my puppets as I feel it would give me more freedom to move about on stage without having to worry about drilling holes correctly, not to mention I don’t think I could get away with drilling constantly whilst living in a flat! I would be chased out of town with torches and pitchforks.

I looked online and could see there are pre made animation stages which always cost a bomb and they tend to use a perforated galvanised steel sheet on top about 1mm thick. I have looked into making my own and have found some galvanised steel sheets online that are NOT perforated at 1mm thickness but cost half as much as their perforated counterparts. I was just wondering, would a non perforated 1mm steel sheet magnetise just as well to my puppets feet? Of course the perforated stages come with the added option to use screw tie downs if I wished. Any thoughts?

Thanks everyone!

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I've never animated a puppet with magnetic feet and perforated steel flooring but I've talked to animators who have. (TV Series The PJs) They liked the option of being able to tie the puppet down because the magnets weren't strong enough to lock the puppet down completely solid. The liked the magnets as well for certain things. I think they had a thin styrene floor on top of the perforated steel but I am not sure. 

I used perforated steel for the floor of a spaceship set once - it had square perforations.  I didn't need to disguise it, the look was just right.  I wasn't using magnets, just tiedowns.  It was good having plenty of holes closely spaced to choose from when putting the foot down.  The drawback was that the steel needed a frame underneath to support it, or it flexed too much.  I had a grid of 19mm wide x 45mm high timber spaced about 300mm apart underneath, which worked.  But of course, every so often, the place I wanted to tie the puppet for down would turn out to be right where the framing was.  If it was in the middle, I could drill a hole through the timber, but if it was on the edge, half-on and half-off, I (and not the puppet foot) was screwed.  

With a 12mm (1/2") particle board floor, it doesn't need so much support, a 1200 x 1800 top is fine with nothing in the middle, so I generally prefer that to steel.  I like the security of tiedowns that are screwed down tight, and puppets that can be supported by one foot in any position.

My native language is not English, so I write using a translator.
I'm sorry if the sentence looks awkward.
I've searched on the Internet for everything.
But I hope we can talk together and find a good solution.

I don't know which flooring material you will use.
If the magnetic force of the iron plate is insufficient, why don't you lay a flat neodymium magnet on the floor?
If a magnet meets a magnet, wouldn't it create a stronger magnetic force?
China's Ali Express sells flat neodymium magnets at a low price (2 cm × 1 cm × 2 mm)

It's expensive, so I think I can use it on a small stage. I haven't actually tested the difference between the magnetic force of iron plates and magnets. I think it's okay to put the flooring between you and try it out at a low cost.



I haven't tested it yet, but it may be powerful.

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your responses, they have been really helpful and given me a lot to consider. That’s a really good idea too with the magnets and your English is great, Nondo! Thank you for the reply. I was thinking that two magnets attracting to each other would have a stronger hold too. I ended up settling on a perforated steel sheet and placing a couple of neodymium magnets in his feet, which seems to be doing great, I have a 12” puppet and it seems to be able to hold him pretty well even when leaning on 1 leg for example. But since using this I have definitely come to realise the importance of tie downs, I may just use steel feet with the ability to tie down but then can also use a magnet underneath should I want to.

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