Using armatures for mechanical animation

If I wish to animate something say…a lamp on a stand perhaps…(I know what you are all thinking but bear with me) how would I setup the armature to animate it. I have knowlege of vertex groups and parenting objects to bones and that sort of thing but how can you setup bones to react to each other. Start with:

http://www.pryjon.com/onlinefiles/lamp1.jpg

If two bones bend left to right staying perfectly parallel to each other
without changing lengths but changing the size between them

http://www.pryjon.com/onlinefiles/lamp2.jpg

how can you attach a base to rotate and pivot at two particular points?

http://www.pryjon.com/onlinefiles/lamp3.jpg

My armature is probaby horribly out of line but thats why I am here.

-Shane

Perhaps you could do this: - Create two Empties and place them on the lamp-housing where the arms are to attach. Parent these to the lamp-housing. - Add two IKSolver bones to the existing armatures. - Cause each IKSolver to track the respective Empty.
If my idea is correct, as you move the lamp housing the two Empties will of course maintain their spatial relationship to it. The bones will follow.

The various pieces of the lamp arm are parented to the appropriate bones so that they follow those bones. See the “Rigging Mechanics” tutorial: http://download.blender.org/documentation/html/x5897.html

I don’t think you need 4 bones for the center portion, 2 would probably suffice.

Here’s a simple tutorial:

http://schattenseite.org/alt2/cpu/animtut/druck.html

It’s in German, but you can translate it using Google.
It’s a very basic setup, but might provide some pointers.