Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hands-free bird puppets by Axtell Expressions

Check out this amazing "hands-free" remote-controlled puppet. A very small remote control is used to open and close the bird's mouth. Another button turns the puppet's head to face the audience or the ventriloquist. It even has a sort of "cruise control" mode in which the bird moves about in a subtle but lifelike manner, allowing the puppeteer to focus on other things or to work with multiple puppets at the same time.

Here is a link where you can learn more and see a full show featuring the Axtell Expressions hands-free bird puppet.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Video about how modern robots relate to karakuri

This video explores how modern Japanese robots share a lineage with ancient mechanical dolls.

[ Thanks Thomas! ]


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Friday, April 09, 2010

EL CONDOR PASA - hand-cranked bird automaton

Check out this charming automaton by retired civil engineer Roberto LouMa.

See more of his work on his YouTube page.


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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wind-up Meccano bird sculpture by Aaron Ristau

Check out this automata sculpture by Aaron Ristau made from Meccano toy parts! The bird bodies are parts from antique hair curlers and the wings made of Mylar. A crank allows you to wind-up the device which will run for about a minute.

See more great sculptures by Aaron Ristau at aaronristau.com.


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Saturday, April 03, 2010

DVD with episode featuring maker Ernie Fosselius

Some time ago, I did a post about automata-maker Ernie Fosselius. The ever-resourceful Charles Mak found a DVD which features Ernie Fosselius in one of its half hour episode.

About the DVD:
No Rest in the Northwest (Season 11- 2006)
"In theses six half-hour shows produced for Kansas City Public Television, you’ll roll over the Rockies and to the woods. See the Gilgal Sculpture Garden in Utah, Cleo’s Ferry Museum in Idaho, Portland Oregon’s Velveteria and the Walker Rock Gardens in Seattle. Meet self-taught California artists like Ernie Fosselius, Dr. Ken Fox and Patrick Amiot, plus much, much more. Contains 6 complete episodes, outtakes, special bonus material, and a snappy music video! Price: $19.95"

Here's a link where you can buy the DVD featuring Ernie Fosselius.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brass Pegasus by Keith Newstead now available

Keith Newstead made his first Pegasus automaton about 20 years ago. This, his latest creation, has been laser cut from his original artwork. Each one is signed and numbered and measures about 30cm high.

Here is where you can order your own Brass Pegasus by Keith Newstead.


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Video of a trebuchet capable of throwing cars

A little off-topic, but hey...I've got trebuchets on my mind these days.

Bring the subject back to smaller-scale contraptions, you might want to check out my review of this working wooden catapult model.


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Friday, March 26, 2010

"FAKIR" magician automaton by Thomas Kuntz

Another masterful magician automaton from Thomas Kuntz!

From the video description:
This video shows the presentation and some construction highlights of a magical automaton. This piece, an original sculpture by Thomas Kuntz portrays the exotic albeit "dead" Fakir, performing a peculiar cups and balls routine ending in regurgitation. The mechanism needed to be extremely precise to produce the desired result. It was constructed of solid brass the cams acting on levers were cut by hand... all other mechanical components were custom machined metal as well either brass or steel. To allow the operator the ultimate control over speed and stop/ starts there is NO electricity on this piece, all functions are purely mechanical, cams levers gears linkages and a very unusual bent pitch sound device also controlled by a cam that emits a sitar kind of sound over the hum of a ratchet/pawl assembly that also serves the purpose of protecting the machine if the operator turns the crank in the wrong direction. The case is custom made too from solid oak and the mechanism can be viewed from a door at the back.

See more magic automata by Thomas Kuntz on his web site.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Video showing how to make a working wooden lock

Here's a great little video by Adrian Iredale showing the steps in making one of the projects from the book Making Working Wooden Locks. I've been eying that book for years; now I really want it!


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Scientific automaton of a young T. Rex in motion

This is a longer than usual video post, but if you have the time, it is fascinating. This 45 minute episode of National Geographic Explorer documents the construction of a sophisticated scientific automaton depicting a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex in motion.

Here is where you can learn more about the project: T. Rex Walks Again at the National Geographic web site.

[ Thanks Dean!]

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Friday, March 19, 2010

The coolest maker(s) of things in the world

Recently, I did a post about a book covering The Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria. To get a better sense for some of the inventions this ancient genius came up with check out this segment of The History Channel's series titled Ancient Discoveries. The amazingly talented maker of technical and historical reproductions, Richard Windley, recreated a working version of Hero's archer and dragon automaton for the show.

Learn more about Richard Windely's historical recreations on his web site.


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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sargent Paints Hemy automaton by Newstead

Take a look at the many subtle and organic motions in this fantastic automaton by Keith Newstead. There are some great views of the mechanism in the video also.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site: www.keithnewsteadautomata.com


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Friday, March 05, 2010

OK Go - video for song 'This Too Shall Pass'

I am sure this video by the band OK GO has been around the internet a lot lately. I don't care! It's too cool to miss.


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Thursday, March 04, 2010

King Kong automaton by Keith Newstead

Here is a recently completed automaton by the ingenious Keith Newstead. This automaton is one of two made for a cruise liner. It is a wonderful example of organic motions created by using articulated joints within a figure.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on is web site.


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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Boneshakers by Fourteen Balls Toy Company

Check out the motions on this amazing piece!

From the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre shop site:
An ingenious new piece from the Fourteen Balls Toy Company. Three skeleton cyclists are being chased by a dog. In turn they turn their heads to see if he is still in pursuit, tongue wagging! Matt Smith's new exhibit design has a tremendous sequence and meticulous workmanship. An exquisite collectors piece,

Here's where you can see more pictures of The Boneshakers automaton.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Martha Stewart learns the history of automata

Here's a clip of Martha Stewart learning about various forms of automata through history from the famous video game creator and collector, Richard Garriott.

[ Thanks Karin! ]

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Studio with automata-artist Tom Haney

Enjoy this beautiful montage of images and video taken within artist Tom Haney's studio.

See more of Tom Haney's work at www.tomhaney.com.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Artist Matt Smith's Silversmith automaton

video
Here we see the things that make automata from Fourteen Balls Toy Company (this one designed and made by Matt Smith): mechanical mastery, excellent carving, incredible attention to detail, subtle motions, and wonderful humor.

See more images of the Silversmith automaton by the Fourteen balls Toy on their web site.


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Saturday, February 13, 2010

'You have captured my heart' brass automaton

Check out this Valentine's Day automaton by Keith Newstead made with laser-cut metal.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his site.


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Monday, February 08, 2010

CPR wood automaton with available plans

Here's a video that shows a fun automaton designed by Ken Schweim. He has written complete construction plans describing how to build it. It has 36 pages, 36 photos, and 26 blueprints with complete step-by-step instructions. It is available for download for a cost $10 payable through PayPal. This might be a great way to get into making wood automata.

You can purchase and download plans for this wood automaton at Ken's Devil Dog Automata page.


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Friday, February 05, 2010

Elegant spiral ball lifter and spiral ball run


From the video description:
After being ferried to the top by a spiral elevator, a ball ricochets down an octagonal spiral amidst a cacophony of clacking sounds.

See more at mechanical marvels at www.mechanicalcuriosities.com


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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some early machines created by Tim Hunkin

Here is a real treat for you: nearly 10 minutes of video showing large-scale coin-operated machines and automata by the inimitable Tim Hunkin. Hunkin is a not only a great automata-maker, but a cartoonist, engineer, and host of a television series called The Secret Life of Machines.

Learn more about Tim Hunkin
on his web site.


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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Driver - car automaton with moving scenery

Here is a nifty landscape automaton showing a car with the scenery moving past -- literally!


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Per Helldorff's Mekaniskt hjärta (Mechanical heart)

Per Helldorff is a Swedish artist who uses both hand-carving and carpentry techniques to create beautiful automata. The one shown in the video here is called Mekaniskt hjärta (Mechanical heart) is appropriate to one upcoming holiday.

See more of Per Helldorff's automata on his web site.


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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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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beautiful motorized mechanical wooden fish

Take a look at the lovely construction and motion of this mechanical wooden fish. Very nice work, indeed.


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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Amazing animatronics and mechanical costumes

John Nolan Films
I urge you to pay a visit to the John Nolan Films web site where you can see a gallery of amazing special effects projects including animatronics and mechanical costumes.

Here is the gallery of images showing various animatronics and here is their demo reel showing video of animatronics in action.

[ Thanks Bre! ]


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mechanism for animatronic mask in latex and foam

video
F.X. Déco is a French company who creates video, sets, masks, make up, figures, costumes, prototypes, models, and animatronics. Shown here is a the exposed mechanism for mask done in latex and foam and animated with radio-controlled servomotors.

See more fabulous creations by F.X. Dé on their web site.

[ Thanks Karin! ]


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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Details of arrow-shooting boy karakuri mechanism

This video (in Japanese) explores the right arm mechanism for the famous arrow-shooting boy karakuri. This is a sophisticated automaton that can pick up arrows, put them on a bow string, pull the bow, and fire it at a target. There are additional motions to make the figure come to life. The animation shows the three cams that control the arm's three axes of motion.


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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Full-scale moving mannequin shop display

Check out this full-sized animated mannequin who is drinking water and looking very fashionable. From a few feet away, it is disarmingly real.

See more videos of this moving mannequin at the Moving Displays web site.


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Sunday, January 03, 2010

More video of Pablo Lavezzari's 'The Jailer'

I posted video of The Jailer automaton in action the other day. Here is more video of this automaton by artist Pablo Lavezzari showing the back of the piece and how it is operated.

From the video description:

Explanation about the piece THE JAILER. Death locks the souls in jails from where they will never be able to escape and return to the world of the living. But this time Death herself has been trapped. An despite of all her fury, a dog-shaped and a crow-shaped demon will prevent her from escaping.

See more automata by Pablo Lavezzari on his web site.


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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sky scene automaton with ducks and biplane

Here's a clever hand-cranked automaton that features a sky scene with ducks flying toward the viewer. A biplane does circles around the birds and the sky. Take a look at the beautiful wooden gear works when the video shows the back of the piece. Very nice!


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Friday, January 01, 2010

Mad God Universe - by Newstead & Steadman

Keith Newstead collaborated with the artist Ralph Steadman on this amazingly extensive and eccentric automaton.

From the YouTube description:
It was commissioned for an exhibition called 'Devious Devices' in 1990. It features God rising above storm clouds. Below the earth is supported on 4 elephants which in turn are supported by strange creatures. It was about 10 feet high and I have no idea where it is now.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site.


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hand-cranked metal flower automaton

Here is a hand-cranked metal automaton by Jeremy Jackson.

See more pieces by Jeremy Jackson on his YouTube channel.



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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

THE JAILER - automaton by Pablo Lavezzari

Another amazing automaton by Pablo Lavezzeri. As usual, the video production is as impressive as the automaton!

See more automata by Pablo Lavezzri on his web site.


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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fully automatic electric crossbow

Granted...this is a little off-topic for this blog, but its overwhelming mechanical awesomeness requires me to repost it.

See more amazing crossbow creations on the creator's web site.

[ Found via Hack A Day ]


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Le Bureau Automatique automaton by Paul Spooner

Take a look at this clever automaton by famed maker, Paul Spooner, titled Le Bureau Automatique.

Learn more automata-making legend, Paul Spooner, at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.


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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Flying Couch Potato by Keith Newstead

Here is a piece that Keith Newstead made about 6 years ago. He just had it back in his possession in order motorized it and shot this video. He is a master at creating crazy flying contraptions!

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site.


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ron Fuller's Sheep Shearing Man Automaton

video
Here is a great little video featuring automata-maker Ron Fuller explaining the mechanics of his classic piece Sheep Shearing Man.

Ron Fuller was one of the early contributors to Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and is one of many artists featured in the book Automata and Mechanical Toys.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Exploding and reassembling picture with gears

Here is a great wall-mounted kinetic sculpture featuring wooden gears and other wooden mechanical parts. The mechanism makes the frame of the piece come apart, then come back together. The piece is driven by an electric motor.

[ Thanks Art! ]


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tempus Fugit automaton by Simon Venus

Here is a short video of a Tempus Fugit -- a mechanical tableau by Simon Venus.

Learn more about this automaton and Simon Venus at http://www.cabaret.co.uk/day-4-tempus-fugit/.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A 'Convolution' of purely wooden mechanisms

Woodworker Ken Schweim built this collection of wood mechanisms and titled it Convolution. It is a wonderful assortment of drives, linkages, and gears. Well done, Ken!

From the video description:
This is a collection of wood mechanisms driven by a common wood crank. The entire project is wood, no nails, screws, wires, etc. Each assembly is removable. The wood is primarily common pine with some black walnut. Total time required was about 4 months with the majority in the design phase. I was going to add more to the open sides and the interior but decided against it for two reasons; one - it would require more cranking power and two, it would make it difficult to see the existing interior mechanicals. Plus, it now leaves the door open for another possible project to explore more wood mechanisms. In reviewing the audio I mistakenly said there is wire in this thing but not so, it is all wood.



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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Video profile of New Zealand automata maker

video
Blair Somerville is an automata maker in New Zealand. Here is a nice video profile of him from a New Zealand news station. He really comes across like a warm, playful, and creative person.

Here is the link to the written profile of artist Blair Somerville.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death+Resurrection: In the Chamber of Reflection

Marvel at Thomas Kuntz's self-portrait based on a classic automata motif: the severed and restored head. The entire piece -- including the cams, levers, and actuating devices -- were hand-cut from brass, steel, and wood.

From the video description
This automaton, a nightmarish vision, was inspired in part by the 19th century Phalibois clown automaton. The first version was sold to a private collector and then this 23" tall automaton was made from a completely new set of sculptures with some added features and a completely new mechanical design. It is an auto-biographical self-portrait told through occult allegory and runs for one minute to complete the cycle.

See more amazing art by Thomas Kuntz on his web site.


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Large wooden spider automaton

Check out this automaton of a spider by Tim Douglas. Crafted of oak and walnut, the automaton beautifully depicts the motions of a spider.


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

'The Machine' - mechancial animation short film

Check out the Machine, a stop motion animated film short from director Rob Shaw. The director informs me that the work was highly inspired by mechanical theatre. It shows!

See more films by Rob Shaw on his blog.


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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another nice wooden clock, this one frameless

Here is interesting clock with a (mostly) wooden mechanism designed and built by Adrian Iredale. He says this design was inspired by Clayton Boyer.

I am going to have to step up and make one of these one day.

You can buy wooden clock plans from Clayton Boyer's web site.


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The automata of Sophie Catherine Naylor

Here is a video of a creative automaton done by Sophie Catherine Naylor. She just graduated from Loughborough University having studied illustration and animation. She specialized in automata during her final year.

I expect we will be seeing more automata from her in the near future.

Check out pictures and video of many other automata by Sophie Catherine Naylor on her web site.


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Roullet & Decamps pipe-smoking automaton

Automata that appeared to smoke were a common theme around the turn of the century. Here is a smoking automaton made by the famous firm of Roullet et Decamps.

From the eBay listing:
This ca. 1880 automaton by the quality makers, Roullet & Decamps, is in fully original condition. As described on pages 209-212 and page 321 of the Automata: The Golden Age 1848-1914 by Christian Bailly, the "Black Smoker" is a very rare automaton in this original condition. The "Smoker" has some fiber loss from the jacket and a small area of fiber separation on the left front shirt. When tobacco or a lighted cigarette is placed in the pipe and the mechanism activated, you are entertained by two different aires from a magnificent miniature musical movement.

Body movements include the eyes, lips, head and both arms. When the right arm with pipe is raised to the "Smokers" lips, the tobacco glows as the mechanism "inhales" the smoke. The eyes move in delight, the head moves from right to left, and the lips move (slightly) in anticipation. As the right arm is lowered, smoke billows from the lips as the "smoker" exhales.

Here is the complete listing on eBay for the Roullet & Decamps smoking automaton.


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

THE HARLEQUIN automaton by PIERRE MAYER

Take a look at this video of a charming new piece by Pierre Mayer called "The Harlequin", which looks to be inspired by a classic automaton of old.

See more automata by Pierre Mayer on his web site.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Video of 'Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood'


Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood
If you've ever wondered if the book Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood contains projects that would appeal to you, check out the video above sent by Richard Thorne. Richard has made four of the book's 17 projects and demonstrates them briefly in the video. Well done!

If you are up for working on some challenging, but rewarding woodworking projects, here is a link to where you can pick up a copy of the book Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood.


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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Video of antique walking peacock automaton

I posted last month about an antique walking peacock automaton by Roullet and Decamps that was on eBay. I'm happy to report that the peacock has found a good home and will soon be getting a new coat of feathers.

Visit the AutomataMania Workshop to see more pictures of the walking peacock clockwork automaton.


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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hand-cranked wooden rotating iPhone dock

In part inspired by The Automata / Automaton Blog, Murtaza Lakdawala created this hand-cranked wooden iPhone dock. By turning the handle the gears will reorient the iPhone to either the upright or horizontal position.

Check out Murtaza's blog for complete details on the iPhone dock project.


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Automata of Steve Armstrong - Part 3

You guessed it -- here is the third and final video about the beautiful automata art of Steve Armstrong.

Here is a link to Part 1 of the video.
Here is a link to Part 2 of the video.


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Automata of Steve Armstrong - Part 2

Here is the second of three videos from PBS show focusing on the automata art of Steve Armstrong.

Here is a link to Part 1 of the video.
Here is a link to Part 3 of the video.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Automata of Steve Armstrong - Part 1

Enjoy this video -- the first of three -- on the automata art of Steve Armstrong done for a local PBS station.

Here is a link to Part 2 of the video.
Here is a link to Part 3 of the video.


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Monday, September 07, 2009

Video interview with kinetic artist Stan Bennett

While vacationing in Northern California, artist Aaron Kramer happened into a museum that featured the work of a man named Stan Bennett -- whose studio was on site. After "talking shop" for a while, Aaron recorded this impromptu video interview with Bennett who has been making wire-based kinetic sculptures and rolling-ball tracks for 40 years.

See more kinetic sculptures by Stan Bennett on his web site.

[ Thanks Aaron! ]


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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Clever hand-cranked mechanical brooches

Take a look at these clever little mechanical brooches made by Gary Schott for the Society for Contemporary Craft.

From the artist's description:
These wearable objects emphasize and play with the already existing intimate nature between a wearer and their jewelry object.

In order to fully succeed, both my mechanical works and my wearable objects require human interaction, celebrating intimate moments between object and user(s). This playful collaboration becomes the artful moment for me.

See more work by Gary Schott on his web site.


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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Motorized Marble Roller Coaster Instructable

Here's a nice Instructable on how to make a rolling ball track out of cardboard, hot glue, some old printer parts, and a few other odds and ends.

Here's a video of the completed marble track in action:


Here's a link to the complete Marble Roller Instructable.


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Monday, August 31, 2009

Too Much Coffee - paper automaton kit

Here is a short video of Rob Ives's latest paper animation kit called "Too Much Coffee". I feel for this guy; I've been there!

Here is the link for purchasing and downloading the files for the Too Much Coffee automaton.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hand-cranked mechancial laughing device

Take a look at this beautifully made mechanical laughing machine. The Pink Tentacle web site does such a nice job with the description that I will just quote them (below.) I love this thing!

Description of WAHHA GO GO from Pink Tentacle:
According to the video, WAHHA GO GO is activated by spinning the torso-mounted metal disk (an optional crank arm can be used for greater speed). The disk's rotational energy is transferred to the machine's left and right arms via a gear assembly in the lower back. As the arms rotate, the accordion-like lungs expand upward, drawing in air that is then exhaled through the machine’s artificial vocal cords.

Another set of gear wheels in the spine transfers some of the spinning disk's rotational energy to the head assembly, which includes a pair of tiny arms that stretch and relax WAHHA GO GO's artificial vocal cords (thus regulating the pitch), as well as an arm connected to a valve that controls the flow of air from the lungs. This arm also opens and closes the mouth, which alters the so-called "formant characteristics" (resonant frequency) of the laugh, producing the "wa" and "ha" sounds.

By incorporating a series of mechanisms that work together to control the pitch, resonant frequency, and amount of air supplied to the artificial vocal cords, WAHHA GO GO is able to produce an uncanny human-like laugh.

Here is the original post: Video: Anatomy of WAHHA GO GO.

[ Thanks Joanne! ]


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Friday, August 28, 2009

Hand-cranked bell ringing cat automaton

Another great piece by Osamu Kanda, or Okan.


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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Crocodile paper automaton kit video

This funny and macabre automaton is available as a kit from the folks at cool4cats.

Here's the page where you can order The Crocodile automaton kit (scroll down to near the bottom of the page).


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Animated peanut butter lid video, Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at video of the mechanically animated scene created on top of a peanut butter jar lid. This video takes a good close look at the mechanisms that make it all work. Some very creative and clever design solutions are used!

[ Thanks Karin! ]


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Video of Vielmetter drawing clown tin toy

The other day, I wrote about a drawing tin-toy automaton that was on eBay. Here is some video of the toy showing how the cams are installed in the base and how the clown draws with a pencil on paper.

From the YouTube description:
A very rare and clever toy produced in Germany approximately 1885 until about 1905. The little hand-cranked tin artist draws with a graphite stick onto paper via 'programmed' double-cams (x and y axis).

Some texts say it was an expensive wealthy person's toy, and other texts mention it as a give-away to favorite clients of the firm Phillip Vielmetter Mechanische Werkstatten of Berlin, Germany. This ultra-rare original box was repaired by Randy's Toy Shop.

I suspect the 5 cams are from various production dates. They are labeled (in German): HAHN, KAKADU, GLADSTONE, HARLEKIN, AFFE. There are several more cams that I do not have, such as Napolean, Balzaax, Queen Victoria, and still others.

I had only seen photographs of this amazing toy in the books Mechanical Toys (Spilhaus and Spilhaus)and Automata and Mechanical Toys (Hiller). It's great to finally see the actual toy in operation! Now...to get a peek inside...

[ Thanks Els! ]


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Uncanny life-sized horse puppets

I am thrilled to share with you this video of these amazing -- absolutely astounding, actually -- life-sized horse puppets. Intellectually, I know there are three people (and a rider) operating these large metal horses. I can even see the puppeteers much of the time. Even so, my brain insists that these are real, living, horses. It's a wonderful mind-bender and a testament to the artful mastery these performers have achieved.

[ Thanks SC! ]


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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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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Migrating Elephant Automata by Dave Goodchild

Here is some video of an automata designed and built by Dave Goodchild in 2002. The piece shows a family of three elephants who are using there flying machines to migrate south for the winter. Charming!

See this piece and some beautiful wooden orreries on Dave Goodchild's YouTube page.


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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Siegfried and Roy automaton by Pierre Mayer

Here's a fantastic automaton by Pierre Mayer depicting magicians Siegfried and Roy. The video shows the magicians transport and transform. You also get an up-close look at some of the mechanics behind the magic! So cool.

See more of Pierre Mayer's magic automata on his web site.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Compact brass and wood motorized ball track

Here's a very compact and mesmerizing rolling ball machine that uses a combination of wood, brass, and a small battery-powered motor to great effect. Enjoy!

[ Thanks Bre! ]


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tom Haney's long animated automaton clock

Tom Haney's long animate automaton clock
Here is a look at some of the latest work by automata-artist Tom Haney. According to Haney,this commissioned piece is "a site specific work -- a clock that is 74" long by 12" high. The clock face sits in the center flanked by 4 articulated objects including a flying woman that I am most proud of.

You can see several "in progress" photographs and four videos of the clock in action on his web site.


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Friday, June 19, 2009

Singing bird automata makes for high fashion

Singing bird automata makes for high fashion
To celebrate her 20th anniversary in the business, British designer Lulu Guinness decided to make a singing bird automaton -- within a handbag!

She tapped Adam Wright, a film animatronics maker, to help with the mechanics of the piece. He, in turn, looked to Michael and Maria Start of Automatomania -- experts in the repair and restoration of automata -- for their specialized knowledge and skill.

According to Michael Start, "He spent a few days with us learning about singing birds and then sent us the bird body for Maria to feather in scarlet feathers."

When it was completed they went to an unveiling party at London's Victoria & Albert Museum -- a star studded event with the handbag as a center piece. It's official: automata have become high fashion!

Here is a video about the Singing Handbag.


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The utimate rubber-band firing wooden robot

Osamu Kanda has created many interesting automata, but this creation is something else entirely! He's made a ride-on, wooden robot with remote controlled-arms with working fingers and a chest that opens up to reveal a series of Gatling-style rubber-band guns. You wouldn't want to get into a rubber-band war with this man!


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Video of German-made miniature singing bird box

Here is a nice looking miniature singing bird box captured on video. The box measures 4 1/8 inches long by 2 5/8 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches tall.

From the eBay Listing:
The bird comes out and twirls while flapping his wings and opening/ closing his beak. When we got it to work, there was a faint tweeting noise, but I think it needs a little adjusting to work perfectly.

When you take out the drawer, the bottom says Metall [sic], and there is a mark that looks like an EB in an oval. We looked inside the top and the upper right corner says Made in Germany, and there is a little bird on top of some hills with a K on the left and and G on the right. There is also a 5 on the back of the drawer and the back of the inside near the top.

Here is a link to this German-made miniature singing bird box.


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Friday, June 12, 2009

Osamu Kanda automaton of figures moving frame

Here's a wonderful video of an automaton by Osamu Kanda depicting two figures sliding a frame back and forth. It's a nice example of figures being moved by the part they seem to be moving.

See more work by Osamu Kanda on his web site.

[ Thanks Falk! ]


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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Video of paper prototyping a griffin automaton

Katy Hargrove has created a great video in which she describes the process she is using to prototype an automaton project. Using manila folders, paper clips, scotch tap, and metal paper-fasteners, she has managed to create a very interesting motion for her griffin project. This is a great demonstration of an easy and effective process for working out the proportions and motions for various automata figures.

Check out more of her projects on the Art by Katy Hargrove blog.


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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Greg Brotherton on kinetic sculpture, Pendulum

For me, one of the highlights of last weekend's Maker Faire 2009 was the exhibit put on by the Applied Kinetic Arts group. I'm not alone in this opinion for they walked away from the event with 8 Editor's Choice Awards. Here Greg Brotherton answers questions about his piece 'Pendulum'.

Learn more about Applied Kinetic Arts on their web site.


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Sunday, May 31, 2009

K.G. Griesbaum singing bird automaton video

video
Here is a nice singing bird automaton by K G Griesbaum from Germany.

From the eBay description:
This 12 1/2" tall automaton is in excellent working condition, comes fresh from an estate, with no damages, just a little tarnishing on brass cage, bird sings and moves so beautifully. The on off works perfect (some one put a little magic marker near the switch, nail polish [remover] will take it right off, I don't have any). There are no issues to report at all other than the a little dust that will need to be cleaned.

Here's the full eBay listing with many really large photographs of the K.G. Griesbaum singing bird automaton


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Friday, May 29, 2009

The inner workings of a German singing bird box

Here is a great video giving us the rare opportunity to see the inner workings of a miniature singing mechanical bird. This piece was restored in the clock and automata shop of Ray Bates who specializes in the professional restoration of antique clocks, marine chronometers, and automata.

Learn more about Ray Bates at The British Clockmaker site.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Song for a Dead Moon - new look for an old theme

According to the artist -- Keith Newstead -- this is a steampunk version of a 19th century automata.

See more of his work at Keith Newstead's web site.


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Monday, May 25, 2009

Aquio Nishida cow automaton with sound effect

A few days ago, we featured a nifty cow automaton with an integrated sound effect. Here another by the late Japanese automata maker, Aquio Nishida. This one has an added feature: you can add or remove the sound module at will.


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Roullet and Decamps smoking monkey automaton

Here is a good video of a smoking automaton -- once a popular theme. This one, made by Roullet and Decamps, features a monkey puffing away on a cigarette.

From the YouTube description
This monkey has been trained to smoke cigars and cigarettes. He was made around 1900 by the Parisian firm of Roullet and Decamps and is made of Papier Mache covered with real fur. His enigmatic green glass eyes show just how much pleasure he gets from a fine tobacco.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cow automaton with integrated sound effects

What a clever idea! This contemporary automaton by artist Dominique Corbin uses a bell and a toy sound-maker to really bring this creature to life. I wasn't able to embed the movie here, but I encourage you to follow the link below to see and hear the cow automaton in action!

Here's a link to the video of the cow automaton with built-in sound effects.

[ Found via http://manivelles.unblog.fr ]


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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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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wooden helicopter contraption automaton

I like the (nearly) all-wood construction of the helicopter contraption automaton shown in this video.

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mobile toyshop by Keith Newstead Automata

A charming piece by Keith Newstead depicting a traveling toy shop. Enchanting.

See more of excellent automata on Keith Newstead's web site.


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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ambigram + Automata = Ambigramautomata

Check out this totally brilliant word-oriented hand-cranked automata. Created by artist Tom Banwell, he calls these creations "Ambigramautomata" -- a combination of the words "ambigram" and "automata".

From the artist's site
The S, I, L, and T are all vertically symmetrical so that they read the same when rotated 180 degrees. The disc with SIL is on a cam so that it moves left and right when rotated. The EN is stationary.

See more of Tom Banwell's many creations at his web site and on his Etsy site featuring some AMAZING masks.


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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Eclectic flying metal horse kinetic sculpure

I don't know much about this sculpture other than it is by artist Grigorev Viktor. That it is a wonderful assemblage of gears, metal, screws, wheels, propeller, motion, and sculpture is enough for me; I hope you feel the same. Enjoy!

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Friday, April 24, 2009

Skeleton Clock with chronometer escapement

I'm no authority on clocks or clockworks, but you just have to love a large skeleton clock with all the exposed metallic mechanical finery. Here is a good example of what I mean. This clock happens to use what is known as a 'chronometer escapement'.

Here is a book on various clock and watch escapements with detailed instructions for making all types of escapements and for locating and correcting problems with them.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Arthur Ganson @TED: Sculpture that's truly moving

Here is another amazing TED lecture -- this one from one of the greats of kinetic sculpture, Arthur Ganson. The video is about 15 minutes long, and worth every second.

More about Arthur Ganson from the TED web site:
A modern-day creator of "twittering machines," Arthur Ganson uses simple, plain materials to build witty mechanical art. But the wit is not simply about Rube Goldberg-ian chain-reaction gags (though you'll find a few of those). His work examines the quiet drama of physical motion, whether driven by a motor or by the actions of the viewer. Notions of balance, of rising and falling, of action and reaction and consequence, play themselves out in wire and steel and plastic.

Ganson has been an artist-in-residence at MIT (where the Lemelson-MIT Award Program named him an Inventor of the Week, and where his show "Gestural Engineering" is ongoing) and has shown his work at art and science museums around the world -- including a current, held-over show at the phaeno in Wolfsburg, Germany.


[ Thanks Richard and Steve! ]


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