Sunday, April 18, 2010

Designing Automata Kit available from Amazon may be a round-about route, but it is good news in the end: the Designing Automata Kit is now available via Amazon!

From the product description:
"The New Designing Automata Kit is great value and fantastic quality. No glue or tools are required, and you will learn about simple mechanics using cams and a crank slider mechanism. Many different designs can be made, and the kit used over and over again. Produced in Thailand using chemical-free rubber wood, from sustainable sources."

Here's the link to the Designing Automata Kit.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book: The Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria

The Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria
Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria (c. 10-70 AD) was a prolific inventor and mathematician and is one of the first known creators of automata in the history of Western civilization. His original works were destroyed in the fire that consumed the ancient library in Alexandria, but some of his work survived by way of copies that were made in Arabic. Here is his work on Pneumatics, which included a working steam engine -- an invention that was perhaps several thousand years ahead of its time.

Here is the book The Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Construction toy with internally illuminated parts

Construction toy with internally illuminated parts
Here is a new take on a construction toy. As you assemble the translucent parts to make an assortment of designs, a low voltage current supplied by a power base progressively lights up LEDs inside causing the toy to glow in various hues.

From the product description:
You can create antennaed insects, fat-tired dune buggies, streamlined starships, and more with the kit's 72 differently shaped pegs -- straight, t- and u-shaped pegs, wheels, and flat squares -- that have built-in, multi-colored LEDs.

Here's a link to the Lighted Construction KitThe Lighted Construction Kit.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fluttering Heart - animated papercraft model

Fluttering Heart - moving papercraft model
Another clever animated model from Rob Ives. Here is the idea: the heart model folds flat so it can be placed into a card. When the card is opened the heart will pop out and 'flutter' to the amazement of the recipient.

Check out this fluttering heart papercraft model.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book: Miniature Internal Combustion Engines

Miniature Internal Combustion Engines
Model engineers have been making miniature internal combustion engines for as long as that type of engine has been around. Some, though, have been put off from this endeavor because of the perceived difficulty of the task. This book attempts to remedy this situation. The text covers various internal combustion engine designs and their operating cycles. The core of the book provides detailed information about the process of constructing internal combustion engines. Readers with a basic knowledge of machining should find the information necessary to build a simple single cylinder engine. The book features tons of photographs and beautiful drawings to make the concepts clear.

Here's where you can learn more about Miniature Internal Combustion Engines

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Tiny functional solar-powered brass engine models

Szymon Klimek creates tiny solar-powered miniatures like the steam engine show in the video above. The parts are cut from very thin sheet brass. He then hand-shapes and glues them together to create the final machine.

Here is a nice article on Szymon Klimek on Internet Craftsmanship Museum site.

Here is the link to Szymon Klimek's web site.

[ Thanks Karin! ]

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cogitate - online engineering puzzle game

Cogitate - engineering video game with gears
Cogitate is an engineering problem solving online game. The object is to place beams, gears, and motors on the stage in order to guide the golden cog to the target. Each piece you use to engineer your solution has a price, so you have to try to come up with the most cost-efficient one for each level.

Here's a link to the free online engineering game called Cogitate.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Pendulum clock made entirely of paper

Marvel at this beautifully made working pendulum clock made entirely of paper.

Here is a link to the creator's web page with many additional photos and ordering information if you want to buy the PDF plans for the paper clock.

You might also consider the pre-printed book Make Your Own Working Paper Clock.

[ Thanks philsing! ]

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Gear Materials, Properties, and Manufacture book

Gear Materials, Properties, and Manufacture book
OK, I am basing this on the table of contents (see below)...but this has got to be one of the definitive treatments on topic of gears. Any engineers out there to verify my guess?

Chapter 1 - Basic Understanding of Gears
Chapter 2 - Gear Tribology and Lubrication
Chapter 3 - Ferrous and Nonferrous Alloys
Chapter 4 - Plastics
Chapter 5 - Machining, Grinding, and Finishing
Chapter 6 - Casting, Forming, and Forging
Chapter 7 - Powder Metallurgy
Chapter 8 - Through Hardening
Chapter 9 - Carburizing
Chapter 10 - Nitriding
Chapter 11 - Carbonitriding
Chapter 12 - Induction and Flame Hardening
Chapter 13 - Gear Failure Modes and Analysis
Chapter 14 - Fatigue and Life Prediction
Chapter 15 - Mechanical Testing

Here is Amazon's listing for Gear Materials, Properties, and Manufacture

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Physics equivalent to the class chemistry set

Thames & Kosmos Physics Workshop
Here is the long overdue equivalent to the classic chemistry set: the Physics Workshop set for learning the fundamental laws of mechanical physics in a hands-on way.

Using the 64-page full-color instruction book to build 36 models of machines and then conduct 37 experiments with the models you've built.

You can start by experimenting with simple machines: gears, levers, screws, inclined planes, pulleys, wheels and axles to understand fundamental physics. Then you can build small models of a crane, sail car, pinball game, windmill, wind-powered generator, pendulum clock, hammer machine, centrifuge, scale and many others.

Aimed at ages ages 8 and up, the Physics Workshop requires the addition of one "C" type battery.

Here is the link to the Thames & Kosmos Physics Workshop.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

How to build working gears from paper cardstock

How to Build Working Gears from Junkmail or Cardstock
Finally! A truly wonderful use for all that junk mail! It pleases me to no end to see such a wasteful nuisance turned into a thing of mechanical beauty. This is from a great lesson on Instructables showing you how to build working gears from junk mail or cardstock.

Here's a video clip to showing the finished gears in action!

Here's the link on Instructables about how to build working gears from junk mail or cardstock.


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Monday, February 02, 2009

Cupid, Robot and Grumpy Goat Downloads

For a limited time, Rob Ives of Flying-Pig Paper Animations Kits, is offering three of his downloadable kits for one special price.

You can get the files to download and make a cupid, grumpy goat, AND robot (shown here) for £4.99 GBP or a little over $7 USD.

After February, these three kits will only be available printed form.

Here's a link to the Cupid, Robot, Grumpy Goat package deal.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Paper snowman model, automata, & surprise gifts

Snowman paper model kitRob Ives over at Flying Pig Paper Animation Kits has just released a new paper model for the holiday season. The snowman shown here is a downloadable model. You simply pay online using your Paypal account or a credit card, then download the .PDF that contains the pattern and instructions. Don't worry if you are not used to paying in Great Britian Pounds (GBP) -- PayPal will convert the transaction into your currency. Most cost less than a cup of Starucks coffee. Once you download the file, print it, cut out the pieces, and glue it together as instructed.

If you have kids at home on vacation complaining of having "nothing to do", check out all of amazing paper animation kits from Flying Pig. There are dozens, ranging from dinosaurs to working paper locks. You can let the kids choose the model and have the kit printed out in just minutes. That ought to keep them busy!

Struggling for what to get the crafty/clever person in your life for the holidays because you think they already have everything? Why not surprise them by pre-ordering Rob's forthcoming book? It's called Paper Engineering & Pop-ups For Dummies.Give them an envelope with a print out of the book's cover and they'll look forward to receiving a great gift in just a few months.

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