Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by Ladon, on 2010-01-29 08:56:15

Looking for a little advice! Building a new stage...

First post, daunting... I've been animating for nearly 8 years now, but I've just gotten myself a new studio, and I'm looking to upgrade most of my set-up. I'm not keen on using rickety kitchen tables with bricks tied to the legs to keep it stable anymore (although that worked better than it sounds...) I have a space laid out for a new stage that is roughly 170cm by 140, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to put a good solid table in there. Trouble is, I live in a flat right now, and I have my heart set on buying a workshop table that comes in boxes, and all I have to do is put together the nuts and bolts... I don't have a workshop or any power tools at my disposal, so it's a little tricky! Any suggestions? I'm working with 1/6 scale puppets on my upcoming project, and I'll need as much space as I can get on this thing... I was thinking of maybe grabbing two workshop benches that are about 170cm long, and putting them together to make that square shape (that way if I dodge up my set design I can pull them apart and animate from the middle...) Cheers, Brendan

Posted by Boy Oyng, on 2010-01-29 10:06:54

This is kind of an off-the-wall suggestion (in part because it's a bit pricey), but maybe one or two Workmate style benches would serve you well. Here's a link that takes you to the original, though there are some cheaper (and more expensive) knock-offs out there: For that money, I'd probably invest in a power tool or two, but maybe this will give you some ideas, or at least save you time. Let us know what you end up doing...

Posted by Ladon, on 2010-01-29 10:22:41

AH, excellent suggestion! Even if I don't end up going with that specifically, it definitely opened up my mind to more possibilities... I was thinking of something more basic like this: And pairing them up to make a good solid platform for a large set, clamps, lights, a couple LCDs... I think I may have to talk to a carpenter and see what they can do with some 2x4! I'll update when I make some progress, thank you! -Ladon

Posted by Boy Oyng, on 2010-01-29 11:44:24

That looks good. My only concern with it would be wobbliness. I'd make sure to see one fully assembled to give it a good shake. You might have to put some triangular struts onto it to make it more rigid. Or you could just bolt a full length piece of plywood on the back and sides to make it more rigid. You'd have to get somebody to cut some wood for you to size. In the U.S. lumberyards will do that for you, either for free or for a small fee (depending on complexity). That lower shelf would be useful for holding heavy stuff (like sandbags) to make it more stable. By the way, I've used the "multiple smaller table method" myself, and liked it. Oh, and just for fun, to show what can be done in a small space, check this out:

Posted by Rocketspaceboy, on 2010-01-29 13:44:58

I would highly suggest getting a handsaw and a power drill. That wont cost you much at all. I'm not to sure how much wood costs where you are. But I just built a table for under $10 U.S. I cut the wood with a hand saw and pre-drilled my holes. Then slapped it all together. It's the cheapest and most stable route. You can also use bolts instead of screws to be able to take it apart.

Posted by Nick H, on 2010-01-29 16:24:16

That's about $30 worth of wood where I live! I use lighter timber, with diagonal bracing, to make folding rostrums. I make 4 sides that are hinged at the corners, so it folds flat for storage. Then it's opened out, and the top holds it square. You can see a professionally made one (Built by the ABC TV Setmakers) opening out in my Tiedowns tutorial: That one is small - 600mm (2 ft) x 1200mm (4 ft). The most common size is 1200 x 1800 (4 ft x 6 ft.) They come in different heights which can all use the same tops. With the proper TV/Stage rostrums, the frames are usually 70mm x a full 25mm (1 inch) thick. The tops are 19mm (3/4") ply and have a block at each corner on the underside, so they locate into the base and keep it from going out of square. They can be placed together to make large raised areas, and support full scale sets and actors on top. I use the more readily available 19mm x 70mm pine for the frames, and 12mm particle board for my tops. (My puppets don't weigh as much as live actors and don't sue me if the set collapses under them!) And my tops are often larger than the frames, instead of fitting perfectly. Also, mine don't have the triangular braces slotted into grooves so neatly, just diagonal braces on 3 sides, but it works. I don't fill them in solid with ply because I do need to reach the puppet tiedowns from the sides and back sometimes.

Posted by Rocketspaceboy, on 2010-01-29 18:09:05

Nick, that table is a work of genius. But it looks like a lot more work and wood then I'm used to. I like to make the tables quick and dirty ao I can move on to puppets and sets. Right now I have a 4 foot by 4 foot table about 4 feet off the ground and the one pictured above is a 3 x 2 about 3.5 feet off the ground. My kids love the size of the table and are begging for one. I might have to use your method so it can be stored. Thanks for the awesome video as well. I love the stop motion tutorial style.

Posted by Ladon, on 2010-01-29 18:45:54

Wow, excellent :) Thanks for the help guys, this is going to make it much easier! I think I know a few people who could lend me the tools momentarily so I can get this rigged up... I'm hoping I can get it up in the next few days, so here's to me not screwing it up completely. It may end up being a sickening hybrid of a custom built table and a store bought contraption, depends on what I can get my hands on... Rocketspaceboy's table looks like exactly what I'm thinking of, so if I can manage I might try for a similar design... Cheers!

Posted by Boy Oyng, on 2010-01-29 18:46:36

Just for the record... Even though I was giving you answers about commercially available products, I actually agree with Nick and RocketSB. You'd be better off with a few tools and some wood to make your own. You'll use a driver/drill again and again and again. (For example, you can use it to twist armature wire together quickly and neatly.) I'll always make something when I can, but that's a personal bias (and even a fault sometimes). Some folks just don't like to spend their time that way. I call them "wealthier than I am."