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Anyone knows any other ways to substitute the role of tie-downs. Drilling holes in my set would be very hard and could even break my set. So what do you think are substitutes for tie-downs? Thanks!

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Rare earth (Neodymium) magnets is a popular alternative to screw and wingnut tiedowns. Nukufilms simply uses nails to tie down their characters. You could also use a rig to suspend your character and then use After Effects to mask the rig out.

Here's Nick Hilligoss's method...

So I have to use a metal base for my set? How do you attach the magnet to the feet? Glue gun? 

Chris Diaz said:

Rare earth (Neodymium) magnets is a popular alternative to screw and wingnut tiedowns. Nukufilms simply uses nails to tie down their characters. You could also use a rig to suspend your character and then use After Effects to mask the rig out.

What is the diameter of the neodymium magnet I am going to need? The foot of my puppet is about 1to 1.5 inches. Thanks!

Chris Diaz said:

Rare earth (Neodymium) magnets is a popular alternative to screw and wingnut tiedowns. Nukufilms simply uses nails to tie down their characters. You could also use a rig to suspend your character and then use After Effects to mask the rig out.

The magnet does not go in the foot.  It goes under the set.(the table does not need to be metal)  The magnet is very strong and holds the steel foot to the floor of your set.

It doesn't matter as much the diameter of your puppet, but how much it weighs, how tall it is, and how much stress will be held by the feet. I would recommend Crazy Glue or something similar as hot glue is bound to pop at the most inconvenient time.

You wouldn't need (or want) the set floor to be made out of metal as that would make any lifting off the floor (as a foot would do when walking) extremely difficult. Instead, use one in the foot and another below the set. Rare Earth magnets are INCREDIBLY strong so they should hold without problems (and likely pinch your fingers in the process so be careful).

If using magnets, I'd also recommend gluing a thin piece of plastic to use as a tab to pull them apart. Trying to grab a magnet that's hiding under your set will prove to be a very difficult task, but, with a small piece of plastic glued to it, you can use that as a tab to easily pull it down and away. Remember to hold the foot steady as you do this so it doesn't move.

Another option, instead of using magnets or drilling holes, would be to use a rig. One of the most common (and affordable ones) is the Helping Hands from Radio Shack, but virtually anything would do... so long as it will either grab or attach to your puppet and hold it steady. The downside with using rigs is that, after you're done filming, you'll need to take your images into a photo editing program and remove it...whereas tiedowns or magnets would be completely hidden from view.

My set is directly on the table. What I did is put cartolina on top of the table as my ground. What must I do? :)

If the table is thick and you can't move your set to something either thinner or (preferably) that you can drill through, your best option would be to use a sturdy rig of some sort.

Well I think I can reduce the thickness by improvising a plywood a bit lifted on top of the table. That is where  will put the set. Here is a photo of the armature I made. I will be using still the use of neodymium magnets. What are things I have to do?

If you put the magnet in the foot, and use a steel floor, as soon as the foot gets near the floor it will snap down onto it. The set-ups I saw in the UK had a much bigger magnet under the set, and a steel plate in the puppet foot. They had floors made of steel sheet.
The power of a magnet drops off with distance quite quickly. I don't know how thick you could make a non metallic floor and have the magnet work well. I suspect 3mm ply or mdf might be ok with a strong magnet, I'm very doubtful about 6mm, and I'm pretty sure the 12mm ( 1/2") particle board I use would be too thick and the magnet wouldn't have enough grip. 3mm is pretty weak and needs a lot of support framing, even more than sheet metal.

My alternative, if I can't drill tiedown holes right through the table, is to put in wood screws from the top of the foot, into a sheet of stuff where you can make small holes. If my puppet has latex shoes, i can cut a slit to poke the screwdriver through, and the slit closes up so you don't really see it when the screwdriver is taken out.
Magnets are worth the trouble for smooth shiny floors where it would be impossible to disguise any holes. But the easiest way to tie down your puppet is probably to make a wooden frame to raise your set floor above the table top, so you can drill it, and reach under it to place threaded tiedowns, and not ruin your nice table.

Oh ok thanks. So how will I attach the steel plate on the armature like my mines? (picture on top of your reply)

Oh ok thanks. So how will I attach the steel plate on the armature like my mines? (picture on top of your reply)

StopmoNick said:

If you put the magnet in the foot, and use a steel floor, as soon as the foot gets near the floor it will snap down onto it. The set-ups I saw in the UK had a much bigger magnet under the set, and a steel plate in the puppet foot. They had floors made of steel sheet.
The power of a magnet drops off with distance quite quickly. I don't know how thick you could make a non metallic floor and have the magnet work well. I suspect 3mm ply or mdf might be ok with a strong magnet, I'm very doubtful about 6mm, and I'm pretty sure the 12mm ( 1/2") particle board I use would be too thick and the magnet wouldn't have enough grip. 3mm is pretty weak and needs a lot of support framing, even more than sheet metal.

My alternative, if I can't drill tiedown holes right through the table, is to put in wood screws from the top of the foot, into a sheet of stuff where you can make small holes. If my puppet has latex shoes, i can cut a slit to poke the screwdriver through, and the slit closes up so you don't really see it when the screwdriver is taken out.
Magnets are worth the trouble for smooth shiny floors where it would be impossible to disguise any holes. But the easiest way to tie down your puppet is probably to make a wooden frame to raise your set floor above the table top, so you can drill it, and reach under it to place threaded tiedowns, and not ruin your nice table.

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