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Adding Swivel Joints
Tired of how static you figure's arms and legs look? Learn how to add some simple swivels and magnetic joints to your figures with this tutorial.
(by Jin Saotome)   Update Tutorial

How to Make Cut Joints and Magna-Joints!

This is a guide covers how to create simple Cut-Joints and Magna-joints. Below is a list of the things you'll need.

  • Dremel Minimite tool.

  • X-Acto knife.

  • Super Glue.

  • An assortment of small screws.

  • Mini-Screwdriver set.

  • RadioShack Rare-Earth magnets.

It's customizing time! Today we'll be covering how to make simple Cut Joints and how to use magnets to make Magna-Joints. These techniques are very simple and take just a little bit of practice to master. First up:

The Cut Joint

Here we'll be duplicating a normal Cut Joint that most action figures have. To get a feeling of what you're going to try and do, take apart a cut joint from a spare arm or leg using a hairdryer to heat the plastic. Examine how the "mushroom cap" head snaps into the wider area back inside the other piece. We'll be using a screw to duplicate the mushroom cap and drilling our own space in the other piece. Time to start cutting.

Now that you've created the shaft, you need to drill out the hole it will fit into. This may require some practice and I suggest watching your Dentist Burr bit to make sure it's not melting the plastic onto the end. If it does, you may need to drop the speed down on your Dremel.

The Magna-Joint

This joint is best used when you want to have a removable arm or hand that can be switched out quick and easy with another part. The Rare Earth magnets we will be using can be found at Radio Shack for about $2.95 for a package of two. They're very strong and can hold most parts of a figure together. I wouldn't suggest the smaller magnets for the torso area; you'll want to get bigger ones for that. Ok, time to start cutting!

Ta-dah! If done correctly, the Magna-Joint will spin just like a Cut-Joint and can be taken on and off easily. You can achieve all sorts of cool effects by burying magnets into different parts of your figures. You can make a weapon that attached to the back or leg of your figure, or even make detachable armor this way! The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Make sure you have read the disclaimer before attempting anything mentioned in the tutorial.

detection - Sunday, December 30, 2012
Does anyone have suggestions for adding a cut waist to a figure that doesn't have one? Would the screw technique work? Or a piece of a coat hanger? Though that doesn't have the mushroom effect...
DrChops - Tuesday, March 4, 2014
If the figure is solid plastic, you can use a larger screw to make the waist rotate. If you are working with hollow pieces, I would recommend a collar-bead type assembly. Drill a small hole in one piece, sized to a paneling nail. Slide two round beads onto the nail, then super-glue the nail into the small hole, with the two beads projecting out, held in place by the nail head. Be careful not to attach the nail onto the beads with the glue, they need to spin freely. Drill a hole in the opposing piece that is a little bit bigger than the beads. Hot glue the beads in place. The beads will act as a collar, holding the figure tight together, and the nail and opposing piece will spin freely. Vaseline or chapstick can be used as a "resist" on the nail, stopping the glue from grabbing, but normally you can just spin things a bit after initial set-up, the beads will stay in place, the nail will spin, creating a very strong roto-joint.

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