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Motorize...or not?

 

As I have built automata I have concluded that all of my future creations will be powered by both a motor and a hand crank.  Adding a motor certainly adds to the complexity of the project...not to mention the possibility of something jamming and getting wrecked.  That said, I (and others that I've shared my automata with) get more enjoyment out of my automata when I can watch them run (motor powered).  I also like to be able to crank...to feel.  But I get more pleasure out of watching.
Am curious how other automitists feel about motors?

Respectfully
-Jim Coffee-

Paul E Giles Jr
 

I'm a purist. To me there is a magic to touching that handcrank, experiencing the tactile feedback. Those little bumps in my fingers timed to the sound of the moving parts compliments the movement. Motors/electronics are impersonal. 

V Bass
 

It depends.
I agree that the touch factor is an important one for automata you might have in your personal collection. But I think many automata benefit from having a motor. Anything that's on public display is probably better if run by a motor.
I'm thinking in particular of Paul Boyer's 80 + automata, all of which are powered by clock motors. the mechanisms are mostly made of bent wire, including all the rods, cams, etc. You really don't want people walking through an exhibit grabbing hold of cranks when you can have them push a button and get a repeatable controllable motion.

Vance

 

I absolutely agree that being able to hand crank is essential.  It is through the crank handle that the health of the machine can be monitored.  It is through the crank handle that experimentation can take place.  It is through the crank handle that the creator can feel the pulse and life of h/her creation.
A recent experience:  I had taken one of my automata to a friends house...it was mid build and I wanted to share.  The lady of the house was fascinated with it...and in spite of her gentle nature and 70+ years started cranking at light speed :-).  Thankfully nothing broke or flew off.
My most recent automata is powered with both a 50 rpm gearmotor and a hand crank.  I use a one way bearing to isolate the motor from the hand crank.  So far...so good.
I agree that crank handles are important.  And I agree that the public cannot be trusted to handle things carefully (enough).
-Jim-

On Wed, 10 Jul 2019 at 21:36, V Bass <vrbass@...> wrote:
It depends.
I agree that the touch factor is an important one for automata you might have in your personal collection. But I think many automata benefit from having a motor. Anything that's on public display is probably better if run by a motor.
I'm thinking in particular of Paul Boyer's 80 + automata, all of which are powered by clock motors. the mechanisms are mostly made of bent wire, including all the rods, cams, etc. You really don't want people walking through an exhibit grabbing hold of cranks when you can have them push a button and get a repeatable controllable motion.

Vance

Mike
 

I agree with Paulegiles, there is a certain magic enjoyed with hand cranking an automata. Hand cranking is more immersive as it involves the sense of touch and is akin to playing with the toy rather than just watching it.

However, I see benefits of motors, especially in publicly displayed automata as motors provide a constant speed and will keep mischievous children (of all ages) from attempting to run the train off the track, figuratively speaking. There have been scores of fascinating coin operated motorized automata throughout history. I think cranks and motors both have their place. (My wife says I fall more into the cranky category.)