Most of the work I do on puppet projects ends up being not the work itself, but the work that has to get done in order that I can do the work.
For example: I'm in the process of attaching fabric to Atlatl's body, in a preliminary way. But once again, there's the perennial problem of how to hold the puppet up from the inside while I work on the outside. He's too heavy and complex now for me to use my old camera tripod technique. And it's not enough that the puppet is held up, but the neck also has to jut out at a 45-degree angle.
Julie managed to talk me out of buying a mannequin. (She's right, we don't have room.) So instead I decided to modify a big metal stand that I'd inherited from my friends Allison and Chris when they moved to the Yukon.
The stand separates into three pieces, so I had to convert the joint between two of the pieces into a 45-degree bend, while still keeping it solid and secure enough to support weight. And the best way to do that would be to support it from both the inside and the outside.
To support it from the inside, I used two pieces of skinny PVC pipe connected with a 45-degree elbow:
I kept the pipes long so that even without any adhesive, there would be a severe limit on how much the pieces of the stand could wiggle.
For the outside, I used a 1 1/2", 45-degree copper elbow:
I epoxied everything together at the joint. None of these pieces fit very tightly against each other, so I laid the epoxy on thick, and put most of it on the underside, where gravity would tend to make the pieces touch each other.
After I let it dry overnight, the attachment was really solid.
Just to make sure it wouldn't budge, I wrapped the joint tightly in duct tape.
So here's the completed stand:
And I can't believe how incredibly well it works!
It holds Atlatl up perfectly, freeing up both my hands to attach and adjust the fabric. And although one of the stand's attachment points is now permanent, it still separates into two pieces for easy storage.
Now that all that work is done... I can start working.