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What's on my bench -- moving eyeballs

Automata Magazine
 

I’ve been contemplating an automaton that would require eyeballs that could move in pretty much any direction. There are several examples of this in Ellen Rixford’s excellent book, Figures in the Fourth Dimension. Based on what I learned there, attached are photos of what I came up with. My main concern was how small I wanted to work. They eyeballs are 3/8” (9mm) wooden balls. You can see them in action here: https://youtu.be/7_CgscV-TKo In an actual automaton, the lever would be actuated by a pair of cams, or something similar. —Marc

 

Hi Marc...
Good to hear from you.
So tiny!  Fascinating.  They seem to work well...and they look good.
Soft solder or silver solder?
What do the bottoms of the balls look like?  Just a hole that sits on a pin?
I look forward to seeing what you do with this.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-

On Mon, 16 Dec 2019 at 16:20, Automata Magazine <automatamag@...> wrote:
I’ve been contemplating an automaton that would require eyeballs that could move in pretty much any direction. There are several examples of this in Ellen Rixford’s excellent book, Figures in the Fourth Dimension. Based on what I learned there, attached are photos of what I came up with. My main concern was how small I wanted to work. They eyeballs are 3/8” (9mm) wooden balls. You can see them in action here: https://youtu.be/7_CgscV-TKo In an actual automaton, the lever would be actuated by a pair of cams, or something similar. —Marc

Automata Magazine
 

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your comments. Part of the mechanism is silver soldered. Most bits are soft soldered. I have a resistance soldering unit that allows me to do very small work.

Yes, the bottom of the ball just has a hole in it into which a 1/32” pin fits. Likewise the pin the goes into the back of the eyeball. The trick was getting the holes 90 degrees apart. I did all the holes on my lathe.

Best,
Marc



On Dec 16, 2019, at 8:57 PM, Jim Coffee <jim@...> wrote:

Hi Marc...
Good to hear from you.
So tiny!  Fascinating.  They seem to work well...and they look good.
Soft solder or silver solder?
What do the bottoms of the balls look like?  Just a hole that sits on a pin?
I look forward to seeing what you do with this.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-

On Mon, 16 Dec 2019 at 16:20, Automata Magazine <automatamag@...> wrote:
I’ve been contemplating an automaton that would require eyeballs that could move in pretty much any direction. There are several examples of this in Ellen Rixford’s excellent book, Figures in the Fourth Dimension. Based on what I learned there, attached are photos of what I came up with. My main concern was how small I wanted to work. They eyeballs are 3/8” (9mm) wooden balls. You can see them in action here: https://youtu.be/7_CgscV-TKo In an actual automaton, the lever would be actuated by a pair of cams, or something similar. —Marc



Attachments:


Mike
 

Marc you did a wonderful job! Quite a bit of thought went into this project and it shows. Movable eyes add so much life to a character. 
--
Looking forward to hearing about your automata adventures!


Mike

Wooden Curiosities

Gus
 

Hi Marc,
This is something I experimented with when I first got the mini lathe, but not having experience with the machine, my result was ordinary to say the least. It is very small, 6mm doll eyes I purchased online from a company since disappeared.

Your prototype works very nicely. Is the "T" bar under pivoted in line with the horizontal center of the eyes ? Please detail how you drilled the eyes on your lathe.

This is my setup, not universally rotatable. Two rings sorround each eye, the rings can rotate up/down. Each eye is drilled "vertically",
that is the side to side movement. The shockingly inaccurate drilling makes the whole lot a failure, but has possibility once I learn how to drill such small round things accurately.



Thanks for the post,
Regards,
Gustav

Automata Magazine
 


On Dec 20, 2019, at 7:34 PM, Gus <klekner@...> wrote:

Hi Marc,
This is something I experimented with when I first got the mini lathe, but not having experience with the machine, my result was ordinary to say the least. It is very small, 6mm doll eyes I purchased online from a company since disappeared.

Your prototype works very nicely. Is the "T" bar under pivoted in line with the horizontal center of the eyes ? Please detail how you drilled the eyes on your lathe.

This is my setup, not universally rotatable. Two rings sorround each eye, the rings can rotate up/down. Each eye is drilled "vertically",
that is the side to side movement. The shockingly inaccurate drilling makes the whole lot a failure, but has possibility once I learn how to drill such small round things accurately.



Thanks for the post,
Regards,
Gustav

Attachments:


Hi Gus,

Here’s how I made my eyeballs.

1. I first made a split-ring collet that fit the eyeball well.

2. I put it in the lathe and drilled the first hole. The result is in the third picture, with the stem in place.

3. I then returned the collet & eyeball to the lathe, with the stem sticking up through the little cutout in the slot of the collet. I pressed the stem tightly against the jaw of the lathe chuck, then tightened the chuck. This gave me the 90-gegree angle I needed between the two stems. Then I drilled the second hole.

You can see in the last picture that the two stems are precisely 90 degrees apart. Also, I didn’t add the irises until the mechanism was complete. You’ll have to find a way to hold the eyeballs so the the irises are looking straight back before the backs can be drilled.

Hope the helps, 
Marc










Gus
 

Thanks very much Marc, that is a nice method, filed away for future use ! 

All the best for the holiday period to you and yours,

Regards,
Gus