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Posted by MattChappell, on 2010-03-28 17:46:38

$30.00 Animation Table for set building

My "cheap" Animation Table(s) for set building Hey all, I'm in the process of working on a new stop-motion project. As you can tell by the size of the animation table, some of the sets will be fairly large. I'm working in 1:6 scale. People are always asking about how to create a table for cheap. 4 tables Total Cost : $30.00 ^ including the screws - $5.47 Wood is expensive. A 4x2 foot table can cost an upwards of $60-$90 or more depending on the type of wood you use. I went to Home Depot expecting to pay a small fortune, but noticed a cart of "cull" lumber. This is all of their defective wood. Defective for Home Depot, but not for me :) Their trash was my heaven. They had a lot of beams that you would use as either porch or deck posts -- perfect for sturdy legs on an animation table -- that were only $.50 cents each. Granted, some of the wood was warped, but other pieces looked fine. "Cull" lumber might be common knowledge for a lot of people, but I was in the dark about it; so, there are probably others out there like me. If I didn't animate, you would never find me in a hardware store. :P Anyway, here are my animation tables. I'm also going to build a detachable overhang for lights, too. Hope this helps someone before they spend big $$ like I almost did. The "cull lumber was in the far corner of the lumber section of my Home Depot on a little cart. [URL=http://img535.imageshack.us/i/table3.jpg/][IMG]http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/7554/table3.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://img195.imageshack.us/i/table2d.jpg/][IMG]http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/7061/table2d.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://img697.imageshack.us/i/table4z.jpg/][IMG]http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/7708/table4z.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Posted by Nick H, on 2010-03-28 18:03:38

I wish my local hardware barn chain (Bunnings) would cull their lumber - they just have the warped, twisted and cracked stuff there in the racks at full price! It takes a LOT of sorting to find anything usable. I would use something like that as a workbench to build things on, but my actual set tables are a bit lighter, and fold up for storage. The tops are separate sheets of chipboard, so they can be interchanged and re-used. But I do like the sturdiness of those tables.

Posted by MattChappell, on 2010-03-28 19:01:00

[div class="dcquote"][strong]Quote[/strong] I wish my local hardware barn chain (Bunnings) would cull their lumber - they just have the warped, twisted and cracked stuff there in the racks at full price! It takes a LOT of sorting to find anything usable.I would use something like that as a workbench to build things on, but my actual set tables are a bit lighter, and fold up for storage. The tops are separate sheets of chipboard, so they can be interchanged and re-used. But I do like the sturdiness of those tables. [/div] That's really rough. I don't particularly care for our Home Depot, but after hearing about Bunnings, I'm grateful. There is no folding up with these tables :) I thought about that though... I was originally going to use 2 folding saw horses and then throw my sheet of wood overtop. The horses could easily be stored, but they cost $20.00 each. I didn't think of using chipboard. I'm using thin plywood held in place with short screws. Tops are replaceable, but I'll definitely have to try out the chipboard. Thanks for the tip

Posted by wiz, on 2010-03-29 06:23:26

Nick: IMHO, Bunnings has a wide range, but it's all pretty mediocre. When it comes to timber in Melbourne's suburbs that's not chipped/cracked/warped and goes for a reasonable price, try Plyboard Distributors (http://www.plyboard.com.au/contacts.html) MattChappell: great find, and your tables look well-built and sturdy. I'm envious! :) Cheers, Damien

Posted by alex uranga, on 2010-03-28 19:38:50

Good looking tables. I need to find find the cull cart at my local home depot, since I'm in the process of gathering wood for an animation table, but first I'm just trying to see how much wood I can find left over from other projects laying around in my garage. And Nick folding does seems like a good idea, because I have very limited space.

Posted by Isomer, on 2010-03-28 20:14:52

My answer to all of that is picking up furniture I find on the trash. Cost = $0!!! That's not a dependable way of getting what you need on short notice but if you collect over a lifetime, it works! Whenever I build any kind of a structure in my shop, I've learned to build it with the idea in mind that it is TEMPORARY. Things always need to move and get rearranged in my space. The tables you've constructed look great but, you should bear in mind that they won't always be where they are now. Sometimes that table will be what you build things on and at other times it will be what you shoot on. Don't regard any structure like that to be 'task specific' because that will likely change in the future.

Posted by MattChappell, on 2010-03-28 20:40:22

With Spring clean up right around the corner, that's not a bad idea. Of course, my little Nissan Versa isn't exactly the right car to be picking up furniture in :) I wish I could have that "temporary" mindset. I save everything. I'm not frugal, but I always think I'm eventually going to need that; whatever "that" is. I have boxes of what I call my "I may use this for a set" parts. Random odds and ends of things that could be transformed into something else. I always think, "How could I use this for a set piece?" The pack rat/ hoarder mentality is in my blood. I blame it on my mother.

Posted by prammaven, on 2010-03-28 23:43:09

I have found a lot of useful stuff that was thrown out as well. An old dresser drawer which could be repurposed as part of a multi-plane rig, wood shelving flipped upside down and screwed into a workbench to hold the computer keyboard, scrap blocks of wood for clamping lights to, mattresses for making foam buildups... I look at a cardboard box and see a set, or see a cheese grater and say, "hey, that would shred clay to look like grass"! It's not what you have, it's definitely how you use it :)

Posted by Isomer, on 2010-03-28 21:12:00

Do not 'blame' your mother, she is obviously wise! You keep all the stuff you've collected, it will come in handy - or maybe it won't but at least you have it on hand. I have boxes of junk I've collected over the course of 20 years, and some of what I've collected may never have a use but, it's there if I need it. I have a drawer full of springs and a box of rollers, gears and odd lawn equipment that may die with me as utterly useless but, every once in a while I find 'the perfect thing' in that collection of otherwise junk.

Posted by Nick H, on 2010-03-28 21:55:20

I did have a 25 year collection of odd bits for re-imagining as parts of sets and props, but had to dump most of them when I left the ABC last year. Some had been waiting 20 years to be used. But now, sure enough, I want a few of those little bits of junk and will have to go buy stuff instead. You can see my stage rostrum type of animation table unfold in my Tiedowns tutorial at Youtube. They are designed to support the weight of actors, but also be relatively light for stagehands to move, and able to be stored flat. Currently my main work bench is built over 3 flat-pack kitchen cabinets, but with my own mdf tops which are 760mm deep instead of the standard 600mm deep kitchen bench tops. Then my drill press and belt sander sit on an old steel framed table picked up from the nature strip on Hard Rubbish collection day, but I've boxed it in like a cabinet so it's easier to sweep up the sawdust. My sewing machine sits on another steel frame table which was once a film editing bench, thrown out by the ABC some years ago.