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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this year I am building a very large prop out of 1 inch pvc to make into a pumpkin skeleton momma.

My issue is I am not very good with physics. In my head, the plan is clearer than in reality 馃檮. I haven't even begun the paper mache ribs or attached the pumpkin head yet and I already have a weight distribution issue. She is too top heavy.
Please help before I add weight and really mess it up. Some of the lower joints are already siliconed in place. I may need to stand her upright but I was excited to have a crouched twisted position.
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Would probably add a steel plate/stand something with some weight on it and extend it in the back as she is leaning pretty forward of her feet. You can always cover the plate up with something. Or another possibility is at the feet use a T and extend the feet both ways maybe if possible even a bit bigger pvc pipe for more weight and fill it with cement or sand.
 

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That T-Joint at the hips won't take the weight you are going to be adding to it, either the glue or the joint will snap, or if it manages to hold, your vertical pipe will bend over time with the weight of the upper torso.

Without knowledge or access to welder, and without welding a sub-frame for the prop you are going to run into weight issues as you build it out. My suggestion which would be a quicker fix, is buy a length of rebar that will go from roughly the collarbone to the ground. You can put a fitting on the skeleton that the Rebar will just slot into, and then you poke the bar into the ground in your yard about 4" deep and then position the prop onto of it. Paint the bar black and it should not be too noticable. If you re planning this an an indoor installation, putting a piece of plywood from in front of the lower rebar junction on the ground to the back feet would support it well while giving it a bunch of added stability.

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Building a sub frame on props can be a bugger, as cantilevered weight really adds up quickly, specially with larger props.

Don't be intimidated, building props is a forever learning experience and in turn experience of learning from mistakes. I make them every single day, props and mistakes! You just get better at learning to incorporate them as part of the character of the prop.

There is no mistakes, just added character!

I look forward to seeing this monster built out! I'm sure it will turn out awesome!
 

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Look up how to build a cauldron creep, it uses a very similar posture, your base foot print is going to need to be larger at the very least. Good luck, mistakes are just teaching moments. Look forward to seeing this prop when your done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Would probably add a steel plate/stand something with some weight on it and extend it in the back as she is leaning pretty forward of her feet. You can always cover the plate up with something. Or another possibility is at the feet use a T and extend the feet both ways maybe if possible even a bit bigger pvc pipe for more weight and fill it with cement or sand.
Thank you! Do you have any suggestions on where to get the steel plate?
That T-Joint at the hips won't take the weight you are going to be adding to it, either the glue or the joint will snap, or if it manages to hold, your vertical pipe will bend over time with the weight of the upper torso.

Without knowledge or access to welder, and without welding a sub-frame for the prop you are going to run into weight issues as you build it out. My suggestion which would be a quicker fix, is buy a length of rebar that will go from roughly the collarbone to the ground. You can put a fitting on the skeleton that the Rebar will just slot into, and then you poke the bar into the ground in your yard about 4" deep and then position the prop onto of it. Paint the bar black and it should not be too noticable. If you re planning this an an indoor installation, putting a piece of plywood from in front of the lower rebar junction on the ground to the back feet would support it well while giving it a bunch of added stability.

View attachment 744746

Building a sub frame on props can be a bugger, as cantilevered weight really adds up quickly, specially with larger props.

Don't be intimidated, building props is a forever learning experience and in turn experience of learning from mistakes. I make them every single day, props and mistakes! You just get better at learning to incorporate them as part of the character of the prop.

There is no mistakes, just added character!

I look forward to seeing this monster built out! I'm sure it will turn out awesome!
Thank you for all the info Samhain! I really like your prop building tutorials.
 

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I have a suggestion I haven't seen yet, but it depends on where you display your prop. If you plan to display in your yard on grass, flower bed, anywhere that isn't hard or concrete, this might work.

Try pounding two long wood poles, broom sticks, whatever into the ground, and then slide the leg PVC pipes over the wood poles. If you do this, drive the wood poles at least a foot or more into the ground. I've done this in the past and it works great. The prop doesn't move at all, not even in heavy wind. The key is to use a wood pole or pipe that is thick as possible yet will still fit inside the PVC pipes.
 
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Regarding where to find a steel plate, I usually go to one of our local scrap yards a buy sheet metal at cost, from them. I recently picked us a flat 3 foot x 5 foot piece of sheet metal for $10. It couldn鈥檛 hurt to give them a call to see if they sell their scrap before it鈥檚 recycled.
 

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Regarding where to find a steel plate, I usually go to one of our local scrap yards a buy sheet metal at cost, from them. I recently picked us a flat 3 foot x 5 foot piece of sheet metal for $10. It couldn鈥檛 hurt to give them a call to see if they sell their scrap before it鈥檚 recycled.
This would work out a better than getting it from a steel shop, but the biggest thing is it would definatly have to be heavy enough or would need even more bracing, like stakes but it woudl be a good platform. Samhain Propworks came up with some good points with weight and probably need something under that 1/2 inch PVC like rebar or someother kind of metal that can be connected. I can picture stuff in my head but I've done quite a bit of fabrication on a couple of race/show cars that I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This would work out a better than getting it from a steel shop, but the biggest thing is it would definatly have to be heavy enough or would need even more bracing, like stakes but it woudl be a good platform. Samhain Propworks came up with some good points with weight and probably need something under that 1/2 inch PVC like rebar or someother kind of metal that can be connected. I can picture stuff in my head but I've done quite a bit of fabrication on a couple of race/show cars that I have.
A friend of mine suggested an eyebolt in the spine with a tension wire attached behind the prop to counter balance. I want it to be as free standing as possible but also want the strongest build.

What say all you amazing prop builders to this idea? Pros/cons? Thanks so much
 

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It would be easier to hide it in the back, it all depends on how heavy the top front portion is going to be. Would maybe think you would need several tension wires just one will probably make it twist. Not with tension wires but hoolking up rebar stakes up the leg of a skeleton or center they always seemed to twist.

Maybe a good scenario would be doing what Joker said. A pole or rebar up the leg just make sure there isn't much slack in it, fill lthe pvc if you have to (I've used foam in the past for this) then you could probably just use 1 tension wire.

Usually the hardest part is to hide to the mechanism to hold it up and stable.
 

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I am not sure of the tools available for you to fabricate with, but I believe this would be what you could do to solve the weight issue. (This is how fellow member ike23 builds pirates)


Instead of having the conduit going into a flange and then into the wood, you could bend the conduit to go backwards and some heavy homemade pumpkins could act as counter weights.

I hope this helps.

Happy Haunting!
 

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Here is a chart with PVC strength. 1 inch is quite strong. I might suggest having your character hold a staff as a support for the upper half. How Strong is PVC Pipe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Those are all fantastic ideas!

I was trying to plan out the support. Now I can proceed. You guys are the greatest!
 

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instead of rebar use a large wooden stick and make it look like a broom or a club so you add an extra layer to your project.
 

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So this year I am building a very large prop out of 1 inch pvc to make into a pumpkin skeleton momma.

My issue is I am not very good with physics. In my head, the plan is clearer than in reality 馃檮. I haven't even begun the paper mache ribs or attached the pumpkin head yet and I already have a weight distribution issue. She is too top heavy.
Please help before I add weight and really mess it up. Some of the lower joints are already siliconed in place. I may need to stand her upright but I was excited to have a crouched twisted position. View attachment 744742 View attachment 744743
I suggest you look at statue's in the art sculpture world.
1st make sure you have a strong and stable amateur and consider adding a structure that helps build balance & support. For example if you were to build a statue of a rearing headless horseman you'd have him coming over a tombstone or next to a tree stump with a branch or base that touches the main sculpture adding a wider base at bottom to off set the top heavy form.
Look at greek sculpture or pretty much any sculpture, they all take structure & balance into consideration.
You might want to take a hand building ceramics class to help you develop a better understanding ( you have to think armature & support in ceramics sculpture or at least check out a book at library on it.)
I hope this helps.
 

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I had the same issue with my stirring cauldron witch last year. I had sculpted her face years ago with zero regard for weight which was fine when she was upright and only stirring but a nightmare when I rebuilt and she had thinner PVC and was leaning forward. I counterweighted on the back to balance it but as mentioned, PVC will fight you. I had an 8ft pumpkin sentinel with a heavy head prove that on Halloween last year when it crashed to the ground due to wind! A metal pipe or rebar through the spine and counterbalanced on the back near the ground or what others have suggested may be the ticket. Good luck! Can鈥檛 wait to see the finished prop!
 
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