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Favorite Mechanical Process

Mike
 

Being new to automata I am always attempting to discover how the mechanical process inside the box drive the magic above. I have read several books and watched videos but am still hungry to learn more. It's almost an addiction. :)

Are unique mechanical processes closely guarded secrets or are they something creators are willing to share, mentoring those coming up in the ranks, so that this knowledge isn't lost? If truly unique, name the process after yourself and your legacy will live on for generations. If such designs are shareable, it would be grand to see videos, drawings and documentation on these automata marvels. If not shareable, I completely understand, as a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into designing these movements.

Another school of thought maintains that discovering the mechanical processes on one's own, is the only way to go, similar to "teaching a man how to fish, rather than just giving him a fish." In the larger scope of things, learning how to create mechanical processes pays better dividends than being handed the process.

What are your thoughts?

Automata Magazine
 

Hi Mike. In my experience, truly unique mechanical devices are a rarity. Certainly, when it comes to automata, virtually everything that you'd want to do can be done with devices that have probably been around for many years, if not hundreds. The magic comes in combining different (usually common) mechanical devices to create the action that you want to achieve with your automaton.

Most automatists who I know are quite free and open about their mechanics. There are no secrets there. The secrets are in how people come up with ideas that are so clever, funny, ingenious, etc. that they make you wish you'd thought of them.

I think it's important to keep learning about different mechanisms, and there are tons of good resources available. However, it's probably more important to get out there and start doing. If you try replicating in wood the mechanisms you see, you'll have a far better concept of how they work and why they do what they do. Then you can start putting them to work for you.

Check out Automata Magazine's YouTube channel. On all of the videos there I've tried to clearly explain the mechanics of each automaton and how it works. There are more to come.

--Marc

Otto <nexus88@...>
 
Edited

Hi Mike,

 

Which automata makers are you especially interested in? Are you talking about pieces from Thomas Kuntz or Francois Junod?

 

Hi Mike...
Thanks for your post.  Good questions and points.  I have a couple of thoughts:
  1. The Big Picture:  Here we are in 2019 with all of the information tools at our fingertips...tools that have never existed before.  I am able to search the subject of automata through time...with words, images, and video information being returned to me.  In other words...it seems to me that we are in a period of time in our society where things are not being 'lost', but rather are being gained.  It is much easier to be 'automata mentored' today than it was 20+ years ago.
    The Automata Magazine is being published now...which is a fountain of wonderful information...ideas...education...how to...etc.  This forum now exists where automatists can converse. YouTube channels are being created...which are a wonderful way to share automata.
    This is a great time to be alive.
  2.  While it is true that you cannot see the magic behind all automata...it is also true that many automata have the magic front and center for all to look at.  To some of us (me certainly being one of them) the mechanics are as fascinating as the story that is being told.  If you have a particular automata that you are wondering about it would not be wrong to post the specific question "How does this particular automata work?".
  3. My automata contain mechanisms that are based on the 6 mechanical machines (Lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw). Anything mechanical is based on some combination of those 6.  That said...I am enjoying working with magnets and with one way bearings in my automata.  The one way bearings are clutches...they permit me to easily combine a gear motor and a hand crank in my automata.  And the magnets are simply very interesting to use.  
Thanks again for your post.
-Jim Coffee-
creating automata near San Diego, CA.


On Tue, 15 Oct 2019 at 10:58, Mike <smc5910@...> wrote:

Being new to automata I am always attempting to discover how the mechanical process inside the box drive the magic above. I have read several books and watched videos but am still hungry to learn more. It's almost an addiction. :)

Are unique mechanical processes closely guarded secrets or are they something creators are willing to share, mentoring those coming up in the ranks, so that this knowledge isn't lost? If truly unique, name the process after yourself and your legacy will live on for generations. If such designs are shareable, it would be grand to see videos, drawings and documentation on these automata marvels. If not shareable, I completely understand, as a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into designing these movements.

Another school of thought maintains that discovering the mechanical processes on one's own, is the only way to go, similar to "teaching a man how to fish, rather than just giving him a fish." In the larger scope of things, learning how to create mechanical processes pays better dividends than being handed the process.

What are your thoughts?

Gus
 

Hi Mike,
Take a look at this video.

https://youtu.be/9OqEze9JTu0

Mike
 
Edited

Thanks for all the fantastic replies! 

Many times, the online videos I've seen will give the viewer a quick glimpse of the mechanical processes but focus more on the action above. It is hard to see the nested design process with only a quick look.

I just discovered a wonderful youtube video series this morning, by Karen Barkle (makesautomata), showing how various automata mechanical processes work and how they are put together. Excellent resource.

Marc - I shall check out Automata Magazine's YouTube channel, thank you for the suggestion.

Otto - Until recently I have not heard of Thomas Kuntz or Francois Junod, but they both seem to be automata geniuses, oh to be a fly on their walls. :)

Jim - Thanks for the reassurance that it's okay to ask how specific automata is constructed, I wasn't sure if it was polite to ask for such information, akin to asking a magician how a trick works. :)  I still want to play around with incorporating magnets into my automata.

Thanks klekner, I actually purchased that video. :)

BANOFALK
 

Hello Mike

There is a wealth of information on the web, particularly YouTube videos, to study. I don’t think automata makers are particularly secretive, or they would not post their pictures and videos. It is quite a challenge working out how some actions are achieved, but a pleasant pastime. I have a long list (in Word) of the examples that have interested me. I often revisit this for inspiration as my tastes change!

Most automata involve lifting and/or turning. The mechanism have to be devised to perform the task. I am limited in what I can achieve as I mostly use hand tools. I could not begin to consider making something as complex and beautiful as something like Matt Smith’s “Warhol’s Cat”!

Then there is the issue of the sequence. How many turns of the handle are required for a full action. This may be from once to twenty times. Small ratios can be achieved with cogs (see Woodgears.ca). Larger ratios inevitably require worm gears.

Always remember there are many great automata that have the simplest of actions. Marc‘s Zog is a good example.
 
Regards
 
Barry

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