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I've never really rigged something before (not counting automatic weights ;).

I've made a simple rig of a landing gear, and I'd like to have a single control bone control the whole unfolding sequence.

I've made a simple animation mostly showing what I want to bone to do by moving it along the Z axis:

enter image description here

I tried to setup various transform constraints to rotate the various bones according to the Z location of the control bone, but I must be doing something wrong, as they don't work as I expect.

Blendfile

Is this even a good approach to rigging something like this?

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you expect? The little flap (last moving part) should be moved before the 'foot' reached the ground? I don't know about conventions,"Death to the Armatures by Christopher Kuhn" describes how to animate mechanical parts completely without bones. $\endgroup$ – stacker Oct 18 '14 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ @stacker I'm trying to make it so that moving control_bone on the Z rotates all the bones so that moving the control bone up retracts the landing gear, and moving it down extends it. Are armatures considered bad practice for mechanical animations? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Oct 18 '14 at 7:52
  • $\begingroup$ For this approach, I've always been using shape keys and the I rotate the elements using the 3d cursor and then use one bone to control the speed of the animation. $\endgroup$ – Vladimir Oct 18 '14 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 You basically want the 'Action Constraint', which allows an object to act as a driver for an 'action'. I couldn't get it working enough to feel I could post an answer but the Tears of Steel quadbot has examples of it working. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Oct 18 '14 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ What is the Suzanne.004 on layer 20 for? $\endgroup$ – David Oct 18 '14 at 15:24
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Blend file
I took your blend, made a copy of the landing gear and rig and deleted the animation.
I then added Transformation Bone constraints to four of your bones; arm1, arm1.001, pad, and pad_backflip. Notice the different values of the Min and Max for the Source Z axis on the Transformation constraints. That is how I timed the different parts to happen at different times. Your Control_bone drives all of the Transformation constraints.

gandalf style gif

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