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Building a Homemade PVC Mannequin - Tutorial


PART 1

This mannequin can be applied to just about anything, from a Batsuit to Darth Vader, Storm Trooper, Boba/Jango Fett, Rocketeer or whatever you can think of. Any pose you want,within reason.

I believe this could also be done very easily for a woman's proportions as well and not limited to just a male form.

In this part I'll describe how to make the skeleton. It's very sturdy and fully articulated. I'll do my best to make it as simple as possible, but it IS very easy to do. The toughest parts would be measureing the length for the "bones". I can't really desribe how to do this, other than putting pieces together temporarily, then adding and subtracting to get the right numbers.

Note on articulation: I would suggest getting the pose you want, then gluing it. Don't get too complicated because it could be difficult to dress and undress.

Here's what you want:

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Done correctly and it can do things like this:

He's at my desk...

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Now he notices me and swings around...

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Totally kicked back...

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The final cost for the skeleton is just about $[sign in to see URL]. There are certain things I had like glue, a saw, measuring and marking tools, etc.,so if you don't have these type of things,the price could go up. All this stuff I found at Lowe's. Home Depot seemed to be somewhat limited, but Lowe's has EVERYTHING.

Tools Needed

A) Pipe cutter up to 1-1/2" pipe (probably a 1"-2" cutter) or PVC saw.

B) Measuring tape or ruler.

C) Marker/sharpie.

D) PVC glue.

E) If you're using cast fittings for the knees and/or shoulders and elbows, you'll need 2 wrenches (pipe wrenches,channel locks,pliers of some kind) to tighten the joints properly.

List of Materials

(1) 1-1/2" x 10' piece of PVC pipe.

(1) 3/4" x 5' piece of 3/4" PVC pipe. (You only need a small amount,but it's really cheap.)

(1) 1" x 5' piece of PVC pipe.

(12) 1-1/2" couplings.

(2) 1/2" male-male adapters.

(4) 1-1/2" x 1/2" bushings.

(1) 1-1/2" cross.

(2) 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 1" tees.

(1) 1-1/2" tee.

(2) 1-1/2" 45 ells (or 90s for the elbows, depending on how you want the arms bent).

(2) 1-1/2" x 1" bushings.

(2) 1" tees.

(4) 1-1/2" x 3/4" bushings.

(2) 3/4" couplings.

(4) 3/4" street 90s ells.

(4) 1/2" street 90s ells.

(4) 3/4" 45 ells.
 
Knee Area

(4) 1-1/2" x 1/2" TAPPED bushings (1-1/2" is smooth for plastic, but 1/2" is tapped for screw fittings).

(4) 1/2" cast iron 90 street ells.

(8) 1/2" cast iron 45 street ells.

(2) 1/2" steel close nipples. (A regular pipe fitting has two tapped sides. A street fitting is tapped on one side and threaded on the other. It shortens the center-center distance so the knee isn't too wide. It is important to get these.)

NOTE: The whole mannequin can be done with plastic, but I find the cast fittings at the knees to be more sturdy. If you go with plastic, use the exact fittings decribed above, but PVC instead of cast iron.

ANOTHER NOTE: You can also do the shoulders and elbows with cast iron fittings to be totally poseable. Just replace the exact plastic fittings with cast fittings. For the shoulders, use 1/2" and for the elbows drop down to 3/8" and do them EXACTLY like the knees.

Getting started - You need to take measurments of your frame and write them down, maybe even draw a stick figure for reference. Imagine where your skeleton would be as you measure.

Arms: Measure from your shoulder to your elbow, then from your elbow to your wrist.

Shoulders: Across your collar bone.

Torso: Collar bone down to waist.

Hips/pelvis: Waist to top of thigh.

Thigh: Top of thigh to center of knee.

Shin: Center of knee to floor.

Torso Piece

Insert cross in top and 1-1/2" coupling in bottom. Out of the top put a 4" 'neck' piece of pipe with an 1-1/2" coupling (not pictured). Later another piece will be cut to hold up the cowl and this piece is removable also.

2 small pieces for shoulders, then 1-1/2" coupling, 1-1/2" x 1/2" inserted into that and the male-male adapter. When the arms are attached, the total distance between the sholders/arms should match your own measurements.

In the final stages,everything on this section will be glued.

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Arms

From the top down - 2 90 street ells into 1-1/2" x 2/2" bushing, into 1-1/2" coupling, into pipe, into 1-1/2" 45 (or 90). 1-1/2" x 1" bushing into that, 1" coupling on the end for wrist. The tee will be the palm of the hand.

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Hips

1-1/2" tee with small piece out the top. 1-1/2" x 3/4" bushing out the side, small piece of 3/4" pipe, 3/4" coupling and 2 3/4" 90 street ells and finally a small 1-1/2" long piece of 3/4" pipe out the bottom. Same for the other side, but reversed.

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Legs

From the top down - 1-1/2" x 3/4" bushing into 1-1/2" coupling onto pipe. Going down, 1-1/2" coupling, 1-1/2" x 1/2" TAPPED bushing, cast 45 street, into cast 45 street, into cast 90 street, into cast 90 street, into cast 45 street, into cast 45 street, into 1-1/2" x 1/2", into 1/2" close nipple into tapped bushing. (Just make it look like the pretty picture.)

Down to shins - bushing into 1-1/2 coupling, into shin pipe, into 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 1" tee.

In the close-up, the center of the 90s is the center of your knee from the floor up and waist down. I would suggest putting this together, then refer to your measurement list to get your final measurement for the pipe needed for your thigh and shin. Unfortunately there is some math and thinking involved here.

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In pieces.

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Put together.

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Feet

Into 1" outlet glue a 3/4" 45 ell directly into the outlet and face it down. Cut 2 small 1-1/2" long pieces of pipe and 2 3" pieces. Short piece out, another 45 faced the other way and the 3" piece, as shown.

Only glue the 45 into the 1" outlet. Don't glue the other pieces so they can be removed to make it easier to slide the legs through the costume legs. Put them back in afterwards.

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The back is higher than the front to simulate the heel. That's why it's sitting on cd cases. When wearing boots,hopefully this will make it stand on it's own,like so...

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This is designed to come apart in 6 pieces(really 9 counting the hands and 'head' piece). Everything should be glued except for where each piece joins together... just a reminder.

Reference pic.

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That's all I can think of at the moment,but I'll add or edit as needed if I think of anything else. Feel free to ask any questions if things don't seem clear enough and GOOD LUCK!! emoticon

--------------------------------------------

PART 2

Now that you have the skeleton, it's time to bulk it up.

I chose to use bubble wrap for this one, but anything from newspaper, foam, stuffing, pillows or a combination of all can be used. This section is merely a suggestion.

I started with the torso and started wrapping until it reached my basic size and shape.

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Then I moved to the arms. I wrapped a little around the areas that are bigger first, then added more and using tape for the final shaping. I wrapped it tighter in the joint and muscle areas to simulate the basic shape. Do this with all the other parts as well.

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Legs.

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When complete,it should resemble you basic build and look something like this.

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After you're satisfied it's time to dress him. This is pretty much common sense, but here's some pics anyway.

Slide the legs in.

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After that, put in the hips and connect them. Then slide in the arms. Then put in the torso and connect everything.

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Boots.

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Semi-dressed.

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FINISHED!!!

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John :flapbat

Last edited by Deadly Lemur, 3/27/2006, 3:33 pm


---
"Wile E. Coyote is my reality,Bugs Bunny is my goal."

1/12/2005, 7:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to Blackwood Bat   Send PM to Blackwood Bat
 
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Re: Building a home-made mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


Forgotten pic..

Parts
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You'll need a basket. :wink

John :flapbat

---
"Wile E. Coyote is my reality,Bugs Bunny is my goal."

1/12/2005, 8:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Blackwood Bat   Send PM to Blackwood Bat
 
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Re: Building a home-made mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


Thats friggin great John!!! I may have to try that.

DC
1/12/2005, 8:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to Chiro   Send PM to Chiro
 
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Re: Building a home-made mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


HOLY CRAP! You built a Star Wars Battle Droid! emoticon
1/12/2005, 9:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to BigBadBat   Send PM to BigBadBat
 
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Re: Building a home-made PVC mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


wow, thanks. that's very useful. i'm sure a lot of people are going to appreciate this, we all know what a struggle finding decent mannequins can be. now everyone can make precisely what they need, and at a decent price too. :up

---
~Heather~

Robin: "Holy molars! Am I ever glad I take good care of my teeth!"
Batman: "True. You owe your life to dental hygiene."


1/13/2005, 12:29 am Link to this post Send Email to Deadly Lemur   Send PM to Deadly Lemur
 
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Re: Building a home-made PVC mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton



THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS JOHN!!!

I believe this is THE BEST TUTORIAL EVER and will surely help A LOT of us here. :up :up
1/13/2005, 12:57 am Link to this post  
 
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Re: Building a home-made PVC mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


 :rollin @ BigBat
ROGER ROGER :dancespot

XEROCOOL2005
1/13/2005, 3:21 am Link to this post Send Email to XEROCOOL2002   Send PM to XEROCOOL2002
 
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Re: Building a home-made PVC mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


Ingenious !
 emoticon


---
Mark
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Re: Building a home-made PVC mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


Nice work. I may have to try this. Thanks Bro !!!
Drew Knight
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Re: Building a home-made PVC mannequin....Part 1) the Skeleton


John, you are the dude! That is great.

---
Howdy.
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