Author Topic: My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics  (Read 2995 times)

DefenderDarko

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My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics
« on: January 11, 2016, 02:21:09 AM »
Hey guys....I've done quite a lot of studying of these puppets. Being experienced at prop making(although these are my first MST puppets), I think I've managed to figure out a few things that I still see a lot of questions about.

For one, the wrists. The current popular wrist cast I see on the market is not accurate to the show models from what I've seen. The common wrist cast features a wide wrist area with a narrow stud that is tapped and bolted into the 'guitar pick' shaped joint at the front...

The show models actually have two versions. First is the Comedy Central era, which was a long wrist with a double bolt(it is bolted in front and back at the top of the wrist joint).






In addition to this, all versions of the Crow puppet feature rotating wrists. In most episodes, Crow's wrists are rotated to hold items and sometimes they're just rotated by accident. The wrist basically rotates in a small cuff made from a small piece of PVC pipe. This results in the wrist of the puppet being wider than the elbow and shoulder joints. The other two wrist joints are just offset using washers or nuts on each side of the two wrist struts.

The second version I've found is the Sci-Fi channel version. Like the Trace era wrist, it features a large PVC cuff that the hand is inserted into and it also rotates. The main different is that it is only bolted at the front of the guitar-pick, allowing the wrist to move up and down, as well as rotate.



My best guess is that the show version's hands were just shoved into the cuff, but I created a more durable version using a screw and a shallow resin fill inside of the wrist cuff to serve as a backstop that you can drill into for the screw to be inserted.

Onto the rest...

I've noticed that people always have questions about the eye movement mechanism, with some people incorrectly reporting that Corbett's puppet didn't have the full range of eye movement like Trace's did. This is not true. They're actually mostly identical.

For the pulley inside of the 'skull', Bob Bukoski has basically cracked it. It's just a rope that double overs a pulley wheel that connects to the eyes and two ends of the rope go down inside of the inner pipe and come out of a hole that is designed to allow for a paddle, where each end of the string attaches like a see-saw. The outer pipe is cut out so that the paddle can go up and down, and also rotate side to side about an inch. This is the method that Trace created and Bob has reproduced perfectly using resin kits.

Trace's was more hand-made and crude than Bob's resin kit. His paddle was actually a plastic spoon or spatula handle with the end cut off. You can see in most pictures that its rounded with a hole where the utensil was hanged in the kitchen.



It's just a big plastic spoon!



As for Corbett's puppet, nothing was removed from it. It was only improved. Instead of using the big gaudy spoon handle, Corbett's puppet was changed to have a thumb wheel instead. It fits in the same exact spot and is threaded with string the same way, it's just much smaller. This is allowed Bill to hold the main rod with one hand and puppet the eyes with his thumb. He could roll the wheel up and down to raise and lower the eyes and flip it back and forth for the side to side movement. His other hand was free to move the mouth.

Bill using the thumbwheel in his left hand...


Here are the diagrams I drew to explain how to build either versions. I think it will make sense to most of you. I have already created the Sci-Fi era wrist cuffs and I'm working on the thumbwheel.

Thoughts?

« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 02:27:02 AM by DefenderDarko »

Ron

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Re: My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 04:01:52 PM »
Excellent write-up!

Aaron N.

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Re: My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 04:44:07 PM »
Awesome work!

I love the idea of the thumb wheel.

1984gojifan

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Re: My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 07:15:27 PM »
To me personally, the only way to make a fully functioning Crow is to use the plastic spoon handle version method. Trace was the one who redesigned the puppet, voiced him for most of the show's run, and personally the better Crow out of him and Bill. I myself have done some tinkering with my Crow's arms to make them rotate. I used Pex tubing from lowes and cut it, put a tiny square dowel in there, and super glue it there. I then saw the resin stubs off of Crow's resin hands. Drill a hole in them that'll provide snug fit the Dowels.
"Watch out for snakes!"

fkane123

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Re: My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 02:00:23 PM »
Argh, now I'm going to have to build another one with proper wrists!

DefenderDarko

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Re: My guide on how to make Crow wrists and Corbett's eye mechanics
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2016, 11:04:31 PM »
Post pictures if you do!