Sunday, December 6, 2009

Look what you can do


Here is an excellent example of what can be made out of one of our cast heads. Here Kenny Croes made a custom ventriloquist figure out of our standard 2T head. Shown here is a before and after photo.

To view some of Kenny's work, view his blog.

For information on some of our heads, click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Trey Chatham upgraded his Charlie McCarthy using a Braylu conversion kit. Trey says his next project is to make an older guy.


Good luck Trey and keep us updated on your next project.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Start to finish















Kenny Croes has completed the casting of Uncle Earl. Seen here, is a picture of the original cast and a finished product of Earl made by Kenny.

Kenny says, "I’m amazed at how fast working with a cast head is over a Charlie. I started earlier today and I’m ready to paint. The head is fully prepared for installation of mechanics. This would normally be week or two before I could begin these steps. Very cool."

For information on purchasing some of our heads including this head go to http://braylu.com/VentHeads.html

You can check out more information on Kenny and his work, including a video of the finished Earl at http://ventintothemic.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not just another head


We are introducing another head to our line of cast heads. Like the others, this head is a hollow cast head that is light weight.

Easy to cut and paint and you can add Magic Sculpt to modify the look. This head can fit both 2T and 3T bodies but may look better with the 2T series of accessories. We suggest 1.5" eyes or larger.


The head measures 8" tall and 5" wide. The profile is 8" from chin to the back of the head. Get creative with this head and add to your collection.

For more details go to http://braylu.com/VentHeads.html

Friday, October 23, 2009

This little pig

Added to our line of cast heads is this pig head.

This unusual head is lightweight and hollow so mechanics can be added to the builder's choice. The head is 10" tall from the bottom of the neck to the top of the head and 8" across from ear to ear. The profile is 9" from the back of the head to the tip of the nose.

This head is perfect for either our 2T or 3T accessories and can use either 1.25" or 1.5" eyes.



Your imagination can make this head into an unusual character. For more information on this item or our other heads, go to http://braylu.com/VentHeads.html

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another custom body

Nathan Ihnen of South Dakota asked us to make a custom body for him. He completed the custom request form from our website and we went to work.

On all of our custom bodies, we draw the templates on CAD and use them as patterns. This also allows us to keep a copy on file for future orders. The customer then signs off on the drawings before we proceed. This was one of the larger bodies we have made.


This body has dowel posts in the front and outside padding. He also purchased the arms and legs and we installed them for him. The joints include grommets for easy attachment.
For more information on our bodies go to http://braylu.com/VentBodies.html

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Paper mache dummies

Phil Nichols of facadesfx.com recently purchased some parts from us to rebuild some dummies that were destroyed during hurricane Ike. Says building ventriloquist dummies is a hobby, he uses cast paper mache with a flexible mold for his original dolls.

Shown in the photo are two paper mache dummies; Charlene and Mr. Wiggles. If you want to check out his site, here is the link. http://home.flash.net/~monsters/facades/creature_design.html

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New body for Elite Series

We are introducing a new cast body to our Elite Series of bodies. This body is a standard form and can be used for professional dolls 38"-42" tall and wears 3T clothes.

Lightweight, hollow and a large opening in the back for ample room for your hand and controls. The body measures 13" tall and 10" wide at the shoulders and 8" at the base.

For more details, visit our website at http://braylu.com/VentBodies.html

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Eye tray demand - what to do?

Many times when we sell a set of eyes, we get a request for the hardware and eye tray to go with the eyes. As we explain to the buyer, there are many different ways of installing the eyes and due to the size head and eye openings, it is near impossible to sell a "snap in" eye tray. The builder will have to do some modifications to fit their specific head.

With that said, we will be posting over the next couple of months a couple of different examples of eye set ups. This may provide some answers for customers.
This first set up is a very basic set. A standard eye tray, and a synchro bar attached to 2 stems coming from the back of the eyes. This allows for the eyes to be synchronized when moved. This system also allows for a rod control or string control. To become self-centering, a spring is attached to the eye stem or synchro bar.

If you want to contribute some other ideas, please contatct us. We will post your comments.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New 1.25" Cast eyes for smaller conversion figures

We have been getting many requests for 1.25" cast eyes for those who make conversion figures. Now we have them available.

The smaller eye balls still carry the 16mm iris. All holes are pre-drilled and the top of the eye has a recessed hole to allow for a blinker shell. White solid urethane plastic eliminates the need for painting.

You can also flip the eye upside down if you prefer to have the oval portion against the eye base.

Visit our VENT EYES page of our web site for purchase information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New heads - new partnership

We are proud to announce the introduction of the Kenny Croes collection of heads to our site. We have partnered with Kenny to make molds of some of his more popular characters and offer the heads on our site for you to purchase. Read more on Kenny by visiting his blog.

The first model, Uncle earl is now on our site for sale. You can see a photo of Earl to the left. This head fits all of our 2T size accessories and 1.5" eyes and blinkers. Click here for more details.

More models will be listed throughout the year so continue to check back.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Other projects

Last weekend, I worked on a project with local artist Cath Posehn. She does fantastic paintings and other art work including sculpting. Her latest project is to make a mosaic mermaid. She came to me for help with designing and constructing the frame for her project.
The frame had to support the torso and the weight of the concrete and tile cover. Since this will be placed outdoors, we also needed to design internal achors to support the model.

The frame will be wrapped in paper and wire mesh and then a scratch coat will be applied. Later, the mosaic tile will be placed on the outside of the body.

Shown on the right is the basic frame for the mermaid project. I asked her to send me photos when the project is completed so I can post them on the blog.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Updating the web site

Over the past month, we have been slowly updating our web site. We have tried making it more "user friendly" and we are adding more detailed information.

We have added more graphics and many new items. If you haven't been to our web site lately, check it out. http://www.braylu.com.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cast eyes

We have received many emails over the past year asking for cast eyes. Well, they are now available. At this time we only have the standard 1.5" diameter eyes but plan to have the 1.25" diameter eyes as well for those of you that like to make conversion dummies.

Our eyes come with your choice of iris. No drilling necessary and we have a recessed crown to the main axle screw will not interfere with blinkers.

No painting. No scratching paint during installation. No drilling. Go to our web site at http://braylu.com/VentEyes.html to view this item and other eye products.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Muscle body



Finally, the muscular body is here. This body is casted in our rotocast machine to allow for the hollow body and to make it light weight.

3T clothes fit the body, that is if you don't want to show off the 6-pack. 14" tall and 10" wide at the shoulders. The open back is has plenty of room for your hand.

Look for it to be listed on EBay and sold on our website.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trying to make things easier

If you are a follower of Kenny Croes' blog - Vent into the mic, http://ventintothemic.blogspot.com/ then you know that we are working on some different options for a control sticks. Currently, we are working on a PVC control stick.

What is fun about working on new projects is the amount of ideas that come to mind. When you have 2 people involved then more ideas are passed back and forth.

Once you come up with the ideas, I like trying to develop methods of producing things more efficiently. The best way to do this is to make some jigs. Here is a jig that was created to cut slots in the pipe. The jig allows me to cut straight slots in the same location in an efficient manner.

The Dremel with an attached guide, fits snugly in the jig to prevent movement from side to side. I add stops to the jig to restrict the Dremel to the desired length and position.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Busy body


Over the past couple of months we have been spending most of our time keeping up with orders and replenishing inventory. The unfortunate thing is it doesn't allow much time to develop new products. I have convinced myself that I need to make more time for the many ideas I have for new items.


Pictured on the right is a mold we are making of a muscular body. Hopefully we will have it available soon.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New hollow control stick


There has been some talk of using hollow control sticks over the traditional wood sticks. The advantage of a hollow stick is that it allows you to place the strings and rods inside the stick without boring slots and wood patching the slots.

The simplest way is to use PVC pipe as the stick. We have developed our version of the controller by placing our newly designed neck transition on the stick. Our control packet includes
a screw, 2 washers, eye hook and custom trigger.

View our website http://braylu.com/VentControls.html for purchasing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Q&A: Buying an pre-cut head

QUESTION: Hi. If i made a special order could I get the 2t head open at the back because I am under 15 and have no idea how, I could open the mouth.
------
ANSWER: Your best bet may be to purchase a used ventriloquist doll on Ebay such as a Charlie McCarthy. For a beginner, these dolls already have the jaw "cut out" and fitted to the head. Also, the cost of the used doll would be less expensive than buying one of our casted heads.

If you want to change the appearance, you can add some Magic Sculpt to the head.

Good luck.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cut me up



We recently received a question on what tools to use when cutting open a head. This isn't the first time this question has been asked.

There are many ways and tools to use when cutting vent parts. We like to use a dremel with cutting bits. Two of the bits are pictured on the right. We also like to use the new Dremel Stylus. This Dremel is lightweight and easy to handle. Since it is rechargeable, there is no cord to get in the way.

Some people do not like to use a Dremel. They say it is too difficult to handle. If you have other methods of cutting open heads, please add your comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weather pending

The 100 degree weather is here in northern California. The heat is making it difficult for vent making.

Even though we have fans running in the shop, it is too uncomfortable to work. The heat also provides different challenges when it comes to making molds. Chemicals react differently. Clay models get soft, and urethane plastic set up too fast.

Sunny California does have its drawbacks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Help from the audience

We received an email from Rob Lawrence requesting some information on a puppet. We didn't have all the answers so we thought we would post here to see if anyone else could help out. Clcik on the comments below if you have any information.
------
Hi, I am looking for a puppet like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_37uH-z2ZG4&feature=channel_page

I need something that looks realistic with moveable eyes,head and a natural looking mouth that can open and close. Do you have anything like this and where can I get one? Do you know what type of puppet is called? Is this a mask with some moveable eyes? Any help is appreciated.

Warm Regards,
Robert

P.S.-Thank you for all the wonderful information on your site!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Willie Talk conversion dummies


From time to time we will retrofit some Willie Talk dolls. Since this doll is no longer in production, we will retrofit used dolls. This also allows us to sell the dolls at a lower price which is easier for buyers to purchase a lower price dummy.


Willie Talk is a smaller sized doll. The total length from head to toe is 25". From shoulder to toes, it measures 18" long. Since this is a smaller sized doll, we only recommend this for kids. Adult hands can fit, but it is a tight fit. Also, we make it a right hand thumb control, since it is easier to manipulate in the smaller opening. For those of you that want to add a hat, the head circumference is 13 1/2".


Willie has been a very popular dummy for us and is a great choice for beginning ventriloquists.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Another good blog site



Here is another good blog site to check out for vent maker enthusiasts. Montana Dan Blog site will show you some of the things he is doing including some steps and techniques on his dummy making adventures.




You can check out his blog at http://montanadan.blogspot.com/ Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2-tone legs

Recently we have received numerous emails asking if we make 2-tone legs. 2-tone legs are common on some of the doll figures and give the illusion of socks.

The answer is yes. We have made many 2-tone socks in the past. Typically the socks are black, but we can add any color to the bottom portion of the legs.  Just email us for details.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Limbs: the latest trend

Every so often, there seems to be trend in buying patterns with our items. We may go weeks without selling a specific item and then all of a sudden, we get a deluge of requests for a specific item.

Recently, we have seen this with our legs and arms. Over the past couple of weeks we have sold many legs and arms but also have had numerous requests to make custom legs and arms.

Shown at the right is a request for an old Frank Marshall figure. The customer wanted to match the original legs and arms of his figure. We have a request form that he completed and made the legs and arms to his specifications.

These legs are different as the thighs are much fatter than normally requested legs and the attachment flap on the top is significantly longer than other requests.

Other recent requests have included grommets for easy attachment and heavy duty material.

If you are interested in having custom legs or arms made, complete the form and submit it to us for pricing or email us for information. You can down load the form by clicking on the link DOWNLOAD FORM


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

EBAY - A necessary evil

For those of you that sell on EBAY, have you looked at your bill lately?

The exposure and business you get from EBAY makes it nearly impossible not to use this forum for selling your items. However, the fees have increased so much that the only one that seems to make money is EBAY and its sister company PayPal.

On a $100 item, $7 goes to Paypal and around $10 goes to EBAY. If you raise your handling fees you get market down by buyers on your freight charges. If you raise pricing, you may not sell your item and EBAY takes more money from you.

EBAY recently changed its policy. EBAY will not allow sellers to give buyers a negative feedback. As a result, we are having a record number of non payers. We have seen more non-payers in the last 3 months than we have seen since we started selling on EBAY for over 8 years. Yes, the non paying buyer gets a non-paying strike, but sellers do not see this information. It is barely a "slap on the hand". You can request immediate payment to help reduce non payers, but this is only good on "Buy it now" sales and not on auctions.

Fortunately, our sales on our web site seem to increase every month. But for now, the volume remains on EBAY. What will we do? Well, we will continue to sell on EBAY and hopefully Ebay will make some improvements to help sellers continue to sell on their site.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fixing Mickey


Due to an increasing busy schedule, we rarely take on repairs. Since this was from a current customer, we decided to work on repairing Mickey Mouse. 

I wanted to show you the control stick of Mickey. This control stick is one of many variations but is found on Mickey Mouse and Tommy Talker dolls. When you pull the controller, the internal lever hits the back of the mouth causing it to open.  A
 simple design that works relatively well.  The downside is it tends to be a little noisy and the spring action is a rubber band. 

We replaced the rubber band with a spring and added some padding to help reduce the noise.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Success in Sweden


Anelli Gustafsson of Sweden writes us after purchasing some parts from us.

Hello!
Do you remember me, your Swedish customer? I am very pleased to report that my dummy now has come to life. The work has been fantastic; lots of thinking and several hours of studying pictures on the Internet. It´s been a great help looking at the Fred project, for example. There is only one problem; I can´t come up with a suitable name.

Since I am very proud of my "baby", I thought I should send you a picture (see file). He can (of course) move his mouth and also look sideways and blink -or at least "flirt". Thank you very much for the great dummy parts
and also for your advice. I will most certainly be back!

Best regards,
Anneli Gustafsson
Sweden

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Discontinuing Carol


We will be discontinuing the Carol Channing Semi-pro doll as soon as we sell out of our remaining inventory.

Unfortunately, Carol is the only female doll we currently retrofit but her low demand and poor design is has made us decide not to continue this model.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hat suppliers

Over the years I have had many inquiries from customers wanting to know where they can find hats for their dummies.  The head size ranges from Willie Talks and Simon Sez to professional sized dolls.

If you know of a supplier of hats, please let us know.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Priest outfit


Kevin Ryan from Colorado contacted us asking for a priest outfit for his 2T sized doll. At the time, we did not have a pattern made for that size shirt. After a couple of trips drawing up a pattern on CAD, we have the finished product.

Kevin's comments to the outfit. "I almost spit water on the computer screen I laughed so hard. Send me an invoice immediately".

Shown is a picture of a smaller priest outfit we make for WIllie talk sized dolls.

For more information on our clothes go to http://www.braylu.com/VentClothes.html