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Stilt Showdown! FIGHT!

 
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:07 am    Post subject: Stilt Showdown! FIGHT! Reply with quote

We're all familiar with the standard drywall stilt design: an articulated parallelogram that allows the ankle to move back and forth when moving (walking, jumping, tip toeing, etc.) but with a pair of strong springs to return the the stilts to a right angle/square shape when external pressure is released.

There is also the Skywalker stilt design, which has an articulated foot and single spring to performing the "righting" function.

Both achieve the same effect of allowing the foot to move in a natural motion.

I've only ever walked with the standard stilt design. Has anyone used both? I know that Bob and Marty wear by the Skywalker stilts, so I have some questions:

The standard design allows the foot to flex backwards and forwards (with a spring for each direction). Does the foot of the Skywalker stilt flex both directions or only one?

The standard design has a direct, physical connection between the front and rear of the wearer's feet and the stilt's feet. As a result, I can push off my toes when walking, stand on my toes, jump (well more like a hop), clumb stairs with only the balls of my feet making contact with the steps (the heel being in mid-air). What happens when you do this sort of thing with the Skywalker design? Does it collapse? Stay rigid?

Well there is another stilt design, one that has apparently been around for a very long time (since the 50's I think) that is used by stilt walkers and other performers (Disney theme park performers, for example) called BigFoot Stilts:


There is also a knock off manufacturer called Stilt Werks.

Both feature a bending toe and have a narrow foot and also feature two shafts on the calves rather than one as drywall stilts have. There is also no spring. These stilts are extremely nimble and provide a lot of flexibility. Here are some videos demonstrating them in action:
Dirk Ellis Stilt Trick (Wodden Bigfoot Stilts)
Dirk Ellis: Stilt walking demo (Metal Bigfoot Stilts)
StiltWerks INC (Jaywalker Stilts)

As you can see these are quite impressive. After contacting the manufacturers I got some info:
Bigfoot Stilts are now made in aircraft aluminium (in the past wood was used) and are custom made to order and can be made any length. They usually run for about $3200 a pair.

Jaywalker Stilts come in 6", 12", 18", and 24" lengths. They weigh anywhere from 3.5lbs to 6lbs. Costs are negotiable but their 24" set usually go for $4000.

Pretty awesome stilts but they come with an equally awesome price. And you thought National Fiber was expensive!

I've still never seen a set of stilts that will also allow the ankle to roll left and right. If someone ever figured that out I would go back to stilts.
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:51 am    Post subject: Re: Stilt Showdown! FIGHT! Reply with quote

GotWookiee wrote:

There is also a knock off manufacturer called Stilt Werks.

Wow! That is a pretty awesome design. They are located in my home town of Las Vegas too. Wonder if I can get a demo Wink Sadly though, that is way out of my budget range.

But Matt, even if you could get stilts like these, do you think the "false" wookiee foot would get in the way? This stilt extends the functionality of your actual foot, but I'm wondering if the fake toes/foot would get in the way.
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not likely. My rubber wookiee toes only get in the way on stairs, due to the length of the feet being so much more than the steps. Even then, it's a minor inconvenience.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The skywalker stilts foot flexes great. It has an adjustable spring for tension depending on your weight and the amount of flex you want. It is the most like normal foot walking that I have ever used. Ive tried 3 different types. I can hop, do steps easily, dance, run etc... The leg bindings are like ratchet ski bindings and are super comfortable. No modifications need to be made.
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Lumpy (Chris Blackstock)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be more than happy to try those new stilts out if you all wanted to chip in and get me a pair - all in the name of science and better costuming, of course!!! Wink Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I spent a couple sleepless nights studying the mechanics of these types of stilts and how they are built, and I believe it is possible to build SAFE and effective "versions" of them. I have two close buddies that are mechanical engineers (and back in my younger days wanted to be a drafter), from our initial look at them on the surface, it wouldn't be a super complex build. Also almost NO specialty tools would be needed (outside of what a normal costumer would have already).

My only issue is just TIME! So busy at work, in my regular life, and building a wookiee (and finish my clone trooper), that putting in time to build these would take a while. I still may attempt it, but it would be in the future.

The secret to these are varying sizes of aluminum 6063/6061 tubing (square and rectangular). Which can be purchased online relativity easily from places like Metals Depot.

There appears to be NO welding anywhere on these stilts. Just bolts. The tools I could see being used are:
    Metal cutting saw (or hacksaw): for cutting the tubing.
    Jigsaw with metal blade: cut the pivot side of tubing for rotation.
    Drill press (or just a drill): To drill holes (duh! LOL)
    Step down drillbit: to create access holes if need be
    Dremel with metal cutting blade: notching out the aluminum to fit the connections

It looks like to make a pair of 12" stilts, you'd spend about $100 on aluminum (probably less). About 50 bolts, washers and nuts. This of course excludes shoe strapping/fastening and stilt foot tread. The foot tread is yet another simplistic idea that we already do: molding. Create tread out of clay of wood, pour a silicone mold, then pour a urethane rubber like these from Smoth-on

I can tell you now why they cost so much: manufacturing/assembly time. Manufacturing being the pre-cutting of the pieces, then final assembly. This of course doesn't include R&D.

Again my priority is to finish my wookiee costume with entry-level styroform lifts, but that doesn't mean in my spare time I can't fire up my CAD program and start drafting these.

For the most part I think everyone is happy with their stilts or home-made lifts, however I like Matt's thinking on this. Anything that can make your movement less limiting and more natural is always a great plus. I'm already dreading not being able to squat down and say high to short people or children. Wookiees are agile creatures! They shouldn't be forced to walk and stand like Frankenstein!

Anyhow, just my two cents...

Disclaimer: if you attempt to build these on your own and get injured or die, I assume no responsibility or liability Smile

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