Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Bernie the Wine Taster" Automaton

Here's an automaton designed and built by Stuart Chalmers depicting a wine-tasting Bernese Mountain Dog. Check out the great shots of the mechanism.

Says Stuart:
The model took me about 60 hours to design and build and is my most complicated one so far, with 5 separate mechanisms. The box is made from walnut. The mechanism is a mixture of oak, cherry and birch plywood. Brass rods are also used as well as one piece of mono-filament.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

'Clocks Revenge' automaton by Richard Willmott

The Clocks Revenge automaton by Richard Willmott
Horologist Richard Willmott in the U.K. created this automaton (shown above) called "The Clocks Revenge". He wrote a note explaining how he created this piece that was inspired by my own automaton called "An Interesting Specimen".

From Richard's letter describing the piece
I applied my twisted mind to dreaming up a similar model which would involve clocks and came up with the idea that over the years old clocks must have suffered terrible indignities at the hands of incompetent repairers. So my model would be "The Clocks Revenge". I had a 6 inch glass dome and in the local charity shop found a child's toy which had a musical movement that played the nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock. A plywood box was made to take 3 aluminum shafts, one for the cranking handle, one to take the two lifter cams to operate the arms and one to operate the music. The musical movement needed to run at a speed slower than that at which the handle was cranked so a small gearbox was built using clock wheels and pinions from my scrap box. Loose pin and slot joints were used where the shafts joined the gearbox and the musical movement to cover for alignment inaccuracies in my construction. Now I built a clock workshop to go under the dome. The notice on the wall is based on one that I saw in a clock repairers workshop in the USA. From limewood I carved the figure of the clock repairer. It had arms jointed at the shoulder and operated by fine wires linked to levers operated by two four leaf cams in the box. The whole lot was then fixed to the box and the representation of a clock with an angry face was attached to the back with its hands (arms) holding down the glass dome. Finally a humorous verse to give some idea of what was going on was composed and affixed.

His note went on to say that if you are an automata or clock fanatic and live within traveling distance of Elizabeth City, NC he would love to see you when he visits the U.S. in the spring 2010. He can be reached by email at: dickytickers at yahoo.co.uk

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Reader Contribution: Dog with Ball automaton

We haven't posted any reader-made automata in a while and it's time to remedy that. Here is a first attempt by Automata / Automaton Blog reader Gary Brown.

From Gary's YouTube description
Inspired by *The Invention of Hugo Cabret*, I built this automaton from scratch, using information I found around the Internet. The dog moves his head and tail while a ball bounces next to him. Though simple, the mechanism uses a cam, a crank, a crank slider and linkages. It was the most difficult craft projects I've ever attempted, and the result hardly shows it. But it was a fascinating endeavor.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Reader Contribution: All Work and No Play

We haven't posted a reader-made automaton in a while, so here is the latest from dedicated reader of the The Automata / Automaton Blog, Tony Anagnostopoulos. This one is titled All Work and No Play. Keep up the good work -- and remember to play!

If you would like to learn more about making you own wood automaton, check out the book section of The Automata / Automaton Store.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Reader Contribution: Wacking Jimmy the Rat!

Dedicated reader of The Automata / Automaton Blog, Tony Anagnostopoulos, has sent in this video of his latest creation. Good concept and good fun!

For more on making a wood automaton yourself, check out the books I have placed on The Automata / Automaton Store.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wind-powered Whirligig Head with Moving Jaw

This week's Reader Contribution comes from Tim who has used a common whirligig mechanism to animate an uncommon theme.

Tim has fashioned a head with articulated jaw. The wind-powered whirligig mechanism drives a crankshaft which makes the mouth open and close.

Very clever, indeed.

For more on whirligig construction check out these titles:
Whacky Toys, Whirligigs & Whatchamacallits
Making Animated Whirligigs
Easy-to-Make Whirligigs
Whimsical Whirligigs
Action Whirligigs: 25 Easy-to-Do Projects
The Art And Craft of Whirligig Construction

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reader Contribution: The Magician

This week's Reader Contribution comes from Tony who writes that he has just started making automata and would like some constructive criticism.

When I make an automaton with a very simple mechanism, I consider hiding it in order to showcase the figure and its action. I did this with my piece An Interesting Specimen. Tony could consider making a stage to set the scene for his magician. Then again, there is a long tradition of showing the mechanisms, no matter how simple.

It is worth noting that Tony did something that is hard to do: he got a rather complex set of motions from a simple input motion. Well done!

For a book on how to make wooden automata, see Rodney Frost's
Making Mad Toys & Mechanical Marvels in Wood. Frost is particularly good at making stages or sets to hold his mechanisms.

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