ModiBots: Animation Part 2

Posted by Nate Eckerson on

A professional stop motion armature has threaded holes in the bottom of its feet. A hole is drilled into the animation table, and the foot is placed over the hole. From underneath, threaded rods are screwed into the foot, and anchored down, typically with wing nuts.

Drilling holes into the animation surface can be a pain. It makes a big mess, and you have to fill in the holes with clay after the character's foot comes up.

For practice purposes, you can skip the drilling and use a pre-drilled material, like 1/" pegboard, wire screen (the kind used to construct rabbit hutches), or perforated sheets of metal (sheet metal with holes drilled in it).

In this post, I'll show you how to make traditional screw-in tiedowns, and a simple animation table that can be used for practicing your ModiBot animation.


  • ModiBot
  • 2 x 10-32 machine screws, or a piece of 10-24 threaded rod
  • 2 x 10-32 wing nuts


If you're using screws, you'll need a hack-saw, or something similar to remove the screw heads. Likewise, if you're using threaded rod, you'll need a way to cut the rod into short lengths. I used a sawzall with a fine blade.

While looking for ways to attach a ModiBot to pegboard, I discovered that a #10 diameter machine screw can be screwed into a ModiBot foot. The plastic is soft enough that the screw threads the hole itself.

For this project, I scrounged up a couple of 10-32 screws and cut the heads off, but you might be able to use pieces of 10-24 threaded rod instead.

When working with tie-downs, you want easy access to the underside of the table surface. I raided a pile of scrap-wood and came up with enough pieces to build a very simple table.

I strongly recommend either building a table that is tall enough to work on while standing, or a table with shorter legs that can be placed on a regular-sized table while animating. Bending over constantly to fasten and unfasten tie-downs is no fun at all!

Here's a short animation test of a modibot with tiedowns on the table I built.

Verdict — Tiedowns are the most secure way to fasten a ModiBot to a surface, but they can be slow and somewhat cumbersome to use.

In the next post, learn how to magnetize a ModiBot's feet for use on magnetic surfaces!