Stop Motion Tutorial: How to make a ball and socket tail

Stop motion tutorial: How to make a ball and socket tail

In this tutorial we’ll try to explain how to make a ball and socket tail for your stop motion armature to give that “feline” effect.

Materials needed

Optional materials

  • Solder and flux

What we’ll cover on this tutorial?

  • How to make a ball and socket tail and attach it to our armature Milo M

How to make a ball and socket tail

Step 1: Design on paper how many and how long are the “bones” needed.

This will allow you to cut the threaded lollies to the right size and it will define quantities of lollies and single joints need. Here’s an example:



Step 2: Cut threaded lollies to size.

Threaded lollies are great because reduce gluing or soldering of balls on to rods. Also as it’s made as one piece of metal you know the ball will never come apart from the rod, reducing possible breaking points of you armature/skeleton.

Our threaded lollies are made of stainless steel and rods are around 3mm in diameter. In order to cut them to size you need a saw capable of cutting metal. We use a Dremel tool with a metal cutting disk accessory (it cuts them in seconds).


Step 3: Beburring cut lollies

After the cutting process deburr (neaten and smooth the rough edges or ridges of the threaded lolly) is needed in order to make sure we can screw the threaded lolly up to the single joint threaded plate. We use the Dremel tool again but with a grinding wheel accessory attached (again a few seconds it’s enough to smooth the edge).


Step 4: Build the single joint and attach a threaded lolly.

Assemble as many single joints as needed. Apply a bit of glue at the end of the cut lolly and screw the lolly up into the base of the single joint. The glue recommended it’s called threadlocker glue high strength. This type of glue fills the gaps on the threads between the lolly and the plate and cures inside stopping any movement. Notice it’s recommended to leave the glue to cure for a 24h period. If, for any reason, you want to disassemble the glued connexion apply a small heating amount (using a cooking torch). Usually the glue instruction leaflet will mention this.

Alternatively you can solder the lollies to the single joint.

tutorial-tail-gluetutorial-tail-single joint

Notice we haven’t used the nut and washer that comes with the single joint as there is no play (due to the design requires short lollies).

Step 5: Assemble all the single joints together to complete the tail.

In order to give a fine end to the tail we used plain rod from the cut lollies for the last joint. Always reuse as much material as you can.


Step 6: Attach the tail to your armature.

Now attach the tail to your armature by gluing the beginning of the tail threaded rod to a threaded hole in your armature. We attach the tail to our armature Milo M that comes with an extra threaded hole on the pelvis back plate.


Congratulations! your tail is now finished.


And that’s all! I hope you find this tutorial useful.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.


UPuno Team

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