Author Topic: Netflix Crow's Arms & Shoulder Joints  (Read 103 times)


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Netflix Crow's Arms & Shoulder Joints
« on: November 21, 2018, 12:31:47 PM »
I’d like to share my explorations of Netflix Crow’s new arms in the hopes of maybe stirring some thoughts and feedback. I’ve tried contacting some of the folks who bought the actual bot props as part of their Kickstarter rewards but have so far not had anyone get back to me about the measurements and attachment materials.

In the meantime, I’ve used the available promo images of Crow & Hampton Yont as well as several photos I took of Grant & Crow at this year’s Live Show to figure out some sizes. I used the known width/diameter of the foam insulation tubes (1.5”) to then scale-measure the rest of the arm rods and joint spacers. It’s not a perfect way of determining the sizes, but I think the consistent measurements that I did get via this method must be pretty close (within a quarter inch or less) if not spot-on.

What all the images in this post are about however, is in regards to the joint that joins the resin shoulder/lamp fixture to the arm assemblies. It’s clearly quite different than the multi-piece rod assemblies that were used with “classic” Crow. The ribbed rubber tubing now sits directly below the shoulder fixture which then gives way to the first of the lamp-arm, “triangle,” joint/bracers.

(Click the images for larger views)

The other point to observe is how much free-range movement the arms now achieve when puppeteered. That means the connection from the shoulder to the arm cannot be hard connection like a bolt, as was used in the past, which only allowed for one angle of movement (back & forth). So that means we need a new flexible, yet sturdy attachment method. Of course, whatever that is, it’s being completely hidden by the ribbed tubing.

Still, I think I’ve come up a possible solution. I can’t say that this is how they’ve done it for the actual Crow puppets. I’ve no doubt the super-fancy new 3D printed part options and professional companies who are now throwing in for the construction of the props on the show have done something FAR cooler and engineering-worthy. But I have to say, what I kludged together WORKS, is super inexpensive, and it’s in spot that’s going to be hidden by that tubing anyway… So who cares? (Well still I do, but I’m very much satisfied with this for now)

As you can see in the photos, all I’ve done is create a semi-loose plastic loop that threads through both the resin shoulder hole and the lamp joint. I’ve done this by using the smallest zip-ties I could find (0.81” diameter), pulling them only so tight so that the top edge of the lamp joint (where the zip tie will always be visible) is pulled up into the ribbed tubing, where it remains hidden, just like the screen-used Crow.

As you’ll see in the video link below, this allows me the same multi-directional range of motion we observe the Crow puppet’s arms performing on screen. It’s quite secure as well. My only concern is the potential wearing down of the resin shoulder hole where the zip-tie is threaded through over time, due to friction. But for a personal prop that won’t likely see any heavy-action performances, I think this is a pretty decent solution:



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Re: Netflix Crow's Arms & Shoulder Joints
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2018, 12:08:53 PM »

Again, click the images for larger views

Over the Thanksgiving weekend and in-between eating & watching The Gauntlet, I was able to construct a fully operational Netflix Crow arm! I’ll post about the entire arm (parts & sizes) later on once I get a few more photos, but for now I’d like to address the MUCH BETTER shoulder joint connection I discovered!

Yet BEFORE that… I think we need to chat about the variations of shoulder joints that have appeared. Yep, that’s right, we already get a bevy of conflicting source material to work with that’s going to force us replica builders to start making choices based on what we think we like best.

First up, is what I’m going to call “Promo Crow”
Promo Crow primarily comes from the promotional images they took of him with Hampton Yont for Season 11. His distinctions include...

-A classic, string operated jaw. This can be seen in several of the photos- Both under the jaw heading to the neck hole and with the old, BBI-style metal ring hanging out from the bottom of his PVC pipe; As opposed to the “string-less” servo-controlled jaw mechanism that’s used in the new on-screen puppet.

-He also is clearly lacking the puppet arm-control-rods that run up the forearms and attach to the wrist joint.

-His shoulders are also clearly seen to feature the lamp joints sandwiched between two thinner spacers and bridged in-between by one wider spacer.

-The number of ribs on the black, ribbed rubber tubing is seven.

Yet, when we look at “Season 11 On-Screen Crow”

-We find the spacer in between those same lamp joints are no longer broken up, but contain a single 1”-to-1.25” black nylon spacer- just like the rest of the spacers that appear throughout his arm structure.

This much larger width between the lamp joints made me believe that the ribbed rubber tubing used in Season 11 had to have a much larger inner diameter than the black, ribbed breathing tube we’ve all been using over the years, as you can see that the upper half of the lamp joints are tucked into the black tube. I can tell you the length between a fully spaced pair of those joints is 1.25” and the traditional black tubing is only 1.5” outer diameter with a 7/8” inner diameter. I did my best with the photos to determine if the S11 black tubing had a larger OD but it if that is the case, then it could only be less than a quarter inch larger. The black tubing would very noticeably protrude beyond the edge of the black shoulder block any larger than that- and it doesn't. Thus, the inner diameter must have been wider for this version.

-The number of ribs present on the black tubing is seven. The same number that are consistently on his neck in every variant.

With the pictures I took myself during the VIP photo session I noticed yet another variation in what shall henceforth be called, “Tour Crow”

-Just want to point out that Tour Crow has the coolest control-mechanics of any version but we’re focused on the shoulders for now… Which have the same seven ribs on the black tubing.

-The “Promo Crow” spacer style is now back! The lamp joints are braced by two thin, outer spacers and one wide inner spacer.

And finally, while watching The Gauntlet I noticed a whole new change-up with, “Season 12 On-Screen Crow”

-This one features a reduced black tubing that’s only five ribs high.

-The lamp joints are now spaced out in reverse: Two wider spacers on the sides and one thinner spacer in the middle! This makes the lamps joints slant into a distinctive “V” shape.

(Bonus: Sorry for having to take the screencap directly off the TV, but check out the giant washer/flat-metal-disc in Crow’s mouth attached to the servo-controlled jaw mech.)

So those are the variants I’ve spotted that everyone will want to consider when choosing what version of Netflix Crow they want to make. I’m sure more will appear as time goes on.

What that brings us to once more is how the black resin shoulder block is connected to the rest of the arm. I previously posted my quickie idea of using a zip-tie. That proved functional but not the most favorable as it could wear away at the resin over time. Something new started to consistently appear to me though in photos of all the different versions Crow…

We see in photos that allow us to view the connection point at just the right angle, that there are protruding from the bottom of the black tubing, what I’ll simply call, “two bumps.” They appear between the upper lamp joints and seem to not be related to the straight, black spacers that horizontally span those joints everywhere else.

It hit me… Rubber O-Rings!!! Check it out:

A good, sturdy, large rubber O-Ring (I used a #49 1 7/8” OD) slips right into the hole that already is present in the resin shoulder blocks we’ve all been using since Bob made them available. The fit is tight, and the rubber O-ring is hard to stretch past the ribbed rubber tubing, but with a little help from a bent paper clip you pull it out…
…To then loop both ends over the inner spacer of the lamp joints. I then used a standard nut to secure the bolt in place since the acorn nuts used on the rest of the arm would be too large to slide back up into the black tubing...

...And there you have it! Not only is it the perfect connection point which allows complete freedom of movement, it’s sturdier and softer than the zip-tie. PLUS, you can see the two loops made by the ring now give us those “two bumps” seen in the photos of the real Crow puppet!

So is that method confirmed? We still won’t know 100% until one of the team tells us. But I think this is a completely functional and (for what it’s worth) screen-accurate approach. I’m going to go with “Extremely Plausible.”
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 02:35:50 PM by Oldeworldsmith »


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Re: Netflix Crow's Arms & Shoulder Joints
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 04:32:04 PM »
You are correct sir!  :D

Russ swapped out the old movable joints with O rings to give the arms more movement.

For the shoulders on the show Crows I used only 5 rings of the black tubing instead of 7. It might give you more room and make it easier to loop your O rings to the bolt.



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Re: Netflix Crow's Arms & Shoulder Joints
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 08:20:26 PM »
You are correct sir!

 :o :o :o

 ;D Thanks so much for that confirmation Bob! What an honor!


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Re: Netflix Crow's Arms & Shoulder Joints
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2018, 11:32:35 AM »
Well I could use these at some point.
Try not to get sucked into the vortex of hell Billy!