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Rig Iteration II

In progression of the human hand rig I attempted to make back in September, this week I started to think about how I could develop the idea into a successful and fully working human hand rig.

The cardboard rig was a good starting point in line with the ‘trial and error’ model as I could clearly see where things had gone right, but more importantly, where things had gone wrong.

The wrist, unlike the weight of the hand, was made out of thin wire and pipe cleaners, meaning the rig moved freely from side to side, with the bulk of the weight being at both at the top and bottom of the rig. As stated in the original post, this isn’t ideal when trying to control motion. The rig also was not detailed enough. If I wanted the rig to work in the way a real hand works, which I did, I would have to base the design on reality. With the paper designs I had made before, it was clear that I had drawn the joints of the wrist and fingers in a very un-observant and slapdash manner. As my drawings were not proportional, of course, neither was the rig. What I have learned from these mistakes is that the design of the rig needs to be properly executed with a professional approach, basing it on a real human hand and taking into account the materials and how they will affect one another.

My first step was to make one moving finger, an iteration of the cardboard hand rig on a smaller scale. My choice of material is metal because when I was looking back at the original blog, I noticed how professional riggers / animators use metal rigs to hold their work together where motion is made through the use of movement on smooth hinges. I was presented with some scrap metal and based my initial sketches on them.

Sketchbook drawings of possible jointed fingers

I began to curve the strips of metal (luckily thin and light enough to be able to bend so freely) into the shape of my own finger. Referring to the sketches I had made, I then decided to focus on the two joints and drilled holes into two strips of curved metal, adding two short straight bits of metal to attach the two curved bits. Two small nails were then inserted through the holes and I had secured them in place with minute washers and hex nuts.

Already a change of materials and a change in approach to the design has made a massive difference within a second iteration. Although the metal finger does not move exactly as a real finger does – as it doesn’t bend all the way down, I’m happy with the outcome as the method used to make the finger has turned out successful and this inevitable will help me with my next iteration.


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