Project Posey: A Coupler of Enhancements

Hi all, it’s a new year but we have some unfinished business from a year ago….last Wednesday – sorry, old joke but I went with it since I actually heard it no less than three times while out in Vegas last week – maybe it’s making a comeback (likely not).  As you can tell from the title, in today’s post we focus on an upgrade to Project Posey – specifically, version 5.0 which brings with it a major design change thanks to an idea that came while hanging out one day in the PVC aisle at Menards  (almost for an entire day hehehe).  Here is a shot of the finished product, but I’ll take you through the key details.
Posey Version 5.0

There were a few issues with the previous designs that I was hoping to address.  The first of these was how to allow for changing the joint to any angle I wanted and still making the connection point strong enough to bear the weight of the configuration.  Up to now I’ve had to either lock the joint in a specific angle (as in V1.0) or leave the pipes free to move in the couplers but then they tended to give out on certain poses.  The other issue was to improve the storage aspect – the Posey’s were getting up in size and started taking up too much space in the storage area – The locked in version required me to basically rebuild them each season and the loose version required me to pop the pipes out of the couplers which basically started wearing down the connections making them even weaker.  Both of these issues ended up being addressed by a new twist coupler.

Posey Version 5.0

Hit the jump to see how this upgraded version comes together.

These couplers can be unscrewed, the angle of the connection adjusted and then re-tightened – translated – perfect for being able to quickly change a pose, yet hopefully strong enough (we’ll talk a bit about this at the end – an adjustment was needed in the V6.0 design) to handle the required weight without slipping.  As you can see from the shot above, the 1 inch coupler size accepted the joint in the standard manner as the previous chain link versions.   I used the 1 inch size for the shoulders below.

Posey Version 5.0

The shot above actually shows another design feature that was added.  The previous version had additional PVC couplers to create the hip and shoulder thickness.  I couldn’t come up with a design that mimicked that with the new couplers so opted for a secondary source to create the chest visual.   There was an ah-ha (“take on me” .. sorry) moment when it occurred to me the thickness in the torso comes mainly from the chest area and not so much the shoulders which provide more of the width.  With that realization it was just a matter of figuring out how to build a mini chest.  That was eventually figured out after about 2 hours playing with the various PVC coupler options – the good news is the Menards’ employees basically recognize me now and leave me alone to create.  The answer was an additional cross coupler, a piece of tubing and way too many couplers to bridge the different types of PVC.

Posey Version 5.0

I just noticed I forgot to add a picture of the two couplers that were used to reduce the 1″ cross to the CPVC size.  Basically there is a prebuilt reducer that can be found with the rest of the C{VC couplers.  It will be white and designed to step the size down.  I found I could shove the wide end directly into the 1″ cross leaving the other end to accept the middle reducers above.  Then it was just a matter of adding a small CPVC pipe to join the elbow reducers that would hold the tubing in place – note, you will need to pick a tubing size that fits snug inside the elbow end (think I used 1/2″ but you can check that before you buy it).

Posey Version 5.0

For the elbows I went with the 3/4 inch twist coupler because I didn’t want the bulk there if I didn’t need to.  The good thing is the chain link end fit right over the top of the long end of those twist couplers – this was the major benefit of the less stringent tolerances on the Home Depot fence ends I mentioned in the first post containing them – you can usually find one in the lot that is a little wider than the others that will fit easier over the slightly wider ends.  You can stick with the 3/4″ pipe for the arm bone and simply add a reducer coupler to bring it back up to the 1″ size needed to put the other fenced end on.

Posey Version 5.0

Here is what they look like when put together.

Posey Version 5.0

Typically I make the hips smaller than the shoulders so opted with the 3/4″ twist couplers there as well.  This time the reducer goes directly onto the twist coupler in order to make the connection to the 1″ T coupler on the body frame.

Posey Version 5.0

Again, I opted for the 1″ twist couplers for the knees thinking at the time that was where the main load was going to be.  Nothing special on the main thigh bones – slap the fence ends on standard 1″ pipe and put them together.

Posey Version 5.0

Although technically it doesn’t matter which end you put the coupler on, I ended up putting it on the knee side – figured it would look more like a real knee when the costume was put on.

Posey Version 5.0

Here’s the side profile so you can see how all the appendages wet on.

Posey Version 5.0

I do need to mention a couple of changes in the ankle and the feet.  I did leave a straight coupler at the ankle since I wanted to be able to change the foot angle either left or right to accommodate some extra poses.  the weight was still directly down into the joint so wasn’t too concerned about it twisting and it really wasn’t worth the investment to add a full twist coupler.  The other change was another foot configuration.  This Posey version is heavier than the others thanks to the twist couplers and was slightly concerned with the  more planar version I would be struggling to get it to stay upright (as evident in V2.0).  Basically just doubled up the support legs – was surprised to see they actually made a three port PVC connector.  Slapped a couple of 45 degree couplers off that and presto, a solid footing – recommend just using caps for the ends instead of straight couplers – I just had those laying around.

Posey Version 5.0

The head went through a small change.  I went back to the head configuration for V3.0 due to the mask I planned to use.  That version had the ability to twist the head left and right but did not have a way to tilt up and down – that was solved by simply attaching a fence connector over the 3/4″ cross coupler on the bottom of the head to a fence connector attached to the shoulder frame.  I had to leave the piece of pipe on the bottom connector free to move in the cross in order to allow for the head to spin – again, the weight was mostly straight into the coupler so not a big deal.

Posey Version 5.0

Okay, if you are on top of your game you have probably been saying to yourself “Hey, those joints are going to spin inside the couplers completely negating the twist locks”.  Well, you are absolutely correct.  The last phase in the build was to lock those in so that doesn’t happen.  I wasn’t willing to sacrifice the couplers by gluing them since those were kinda pricey and might have a design change in the future that requires me to alter them a bit (and I did for V6.1).  Instead, I just locked them in with a screw at each end of the twist coupler.  I did glue the straight pipe into a standard coupler on the other side since those were relatively cheap to replace if needed.

Posey Version 5.0

Lastly, here is the back side of the completed Posey V5.0

Posey Version 5.0

Now for the downside.  The smaller couplers at the hips ended up being a problem.  It worked great for the basic poses, but as soon as I stretched the body out (say for example into a lunge) they started giving way to the weight and eventually it would fall.  The smaller couplers just didn’t have the sticking power that the 1″ versions did.  An effort to hold the cost down a bit backfired and addressed in the next version.  On the complete success side was the ability to quickly take it apart at the twist coupler points allowing me to basically store it in a small Amazon box, yet quickly reassemble it without extra tools beyond the wrenches to set the joint bolts – perfect!  The new feet also provided excellent stability for the planar version of the frame so that problem was solved as well.

As with the previous posts, here is the material list for V5.0

  • Drill Press (technically optional, but highly recommended) if not, can uses a standard drill)
  • 1/8″ Drill Bit or whatever size fits the screws you are going to use to affix the chain link cap to the PVC
  • Pilot hole drill bit – smaller the better
  • Screwdriver – manual or electric to put the caps in
  • (24) Chain link fence cross bar caps w/ 3/8″ hole ($0.88)
  • (12) 3/8″ Large Washers ($3.78 – 100)
  • (12) 3/8″ x 1″ Bolts ($4.21)
  • (12) 3/8″ Nuts ($2.28)
  • (12) 3/8″ Split Washers ($2.00)
  • (56) 1″ cabinet, drywall or round head screws (use whatever you laying around that is in the 1″ long range)
  • Two Socket Sets
  • PVC Cement (now required if you want to lock the pipes into the sockets holding the twist couplers – could go with screws instead)
  • Duct tape – preferably white
  • Hand PVC Cutter (optional, but highly recommended)

Next the materials list:

  • (2) 1″ PVC Cross ($2.15)
  • (4) 1″ PVC Caps ($0.45)
  • (1) 1″ PVC T’s ($0.59)
  • (2) 1″ PVC Couplers ($0.41)
  • (5) 1″ PVC Elbows ($0.50)
  • (2) 1″ 3 Port Connectors ($2.18)
  • (4) 1″ 45 degree Couplers ($0.98)
  • (4) 1″ to 3/4″ Reducers ($0.77)
  • (4) 1″ Twist Coupler – Union ($4.79)
  • (4) 3/4″ Twist Coupler – Union ($3.38)
  • (1) 3/4″ PVC Cross ($2.37)
  • (1) 3/4″ PVC T’s ($0.45)
  • (5) 3/4″ PVC Elbows ($0.25)
  • (1) 3/4″ PVC Cap ($0.19)
  • (2) 1″ PVC to 3/4 CPVC Coupler ($1.54)
  • (2) 3/4″ to 1/2″ CPVC Reducer ($0.36)
  • (2) 1/2″ 90 Degree CPVC Elbow ($.0.29)
  • (1) 12″ of 1/2 Clear Tubing ($1.00)
  • (1) 10′ x 1″ PVC Pipe (depends on size but by two, if you are like me you’ll be making a lot of them) ($2.48)
  • (1) 3′ 3/4″ PVC Pipe (basically just enough to build the head) ($1.50)
  • (1) 2″ 1/2″ CPVC Pipe (basically just enough to connect the elbows to the reducers) ($0.50)

Total Cost Estimate at: $99.50 (nearly $33 just in the new couplers- did compensate for only using partial lots on the hardware) $84.58 with Menards 15% bag sale (which ended today) and you could probably get other sales to bring that down to around $75.00

Total Time Estimate at: 3.5 hrs

Pros:

  • Complete flexibility for any joint angle
  • Easy disassemble and reassembly
  • Joints are really easy to stay aligned due to the perfect 3/8″ holes in the fence caps
  • You can bend and rotate the spine now
  • You can bend and rotate the head now
  • Kept ankle and now has new stabilizing feet
  • Can hold a multitude of poses quite well
  • New chest structure
  • Hip and shoulder joints back in line with frame

Cons:

  • Most expensive one yet primarily due to the Twist Couplers
  • Extra time required to lock in the Twist Couplers
  • The 3/4″ Twists Couplers started to give on extreme poses due to the weight.
  • Did I mention it was expensive
  • Also found out it matters where you buy your couplers – as you can see from the full images, different sized 1″ T’s were accidentally used for the shoulders and hips which negated the intent to have them different sizes.

And there you have V5.0 and all the new design features that it brings to the table.  V6.0 fixes some of the downfalls (at cost of course) but pretty much nearing the end of the Posey Design Phase.

2 thoughts on “Project Posey: A Coupler of Enhancements”

  1. So is this the version I saw and disassembled? The compression fittings worked beautifully. This Posey came apart extremely fast and did fit in a surprisingly small, flat box.

    BTW, in the heading of the parts list you still refer to this as version 4.0.

    Ron

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  2. Actually you saw the superior V6 of the Posey Project. That one is pretty close but has a beefed up hip and new head solution (can’t remember which head I brought to Dan’s). Hopefully I’ll get to that version pretty soon.

    Thanks for the catch, I fixed that – a stupid cut and paste error.

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