Topics

What's On Your Workbench?

Mike
 

Sometimes the story of creation tells more about the finished automata than the finished piece, which may take months to complete. I for one like to share as I go along. Feedback along the way is helpful and can save time and frustrations. With that in mind, it would be interesting to see and hear about what you currently have on the workbench.

During the design phase I typically use a test box to experiment with the different mechanisms and motions above the board. To expedite the process I installed clasps on the side of the box so it can be quickly and easily taken apart and put back together. This makes it easier to drill parallel holes for shafts, etc. Below are a couple pictures of a box I created this morning. It would also be interesting to hear how you go about testing new designs.
    

Mario Núñez
 

That's an excellent idea.  Easier and faster than dowel joints at the corners.

Mario

 

Good evening...
Great idea to share "what's on the work bench" images.  I hope many participate.
Here is a test stand that I've got on my workbench this week.  It is waiting for it's motor. When the motor arrives I'll add bearings and then let it run for hours...to prove the concept viable.  Then I'll build the real one (actually, I've already started it.  
IMG_20191024_112250-1000.jpg
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
one of the Automata Group Moderators
I create automata near San Diego, California



On Tue, 22 Oct 2019 at 09:40, Mike <smc5910@...> wrote:
Sometimes the story of creation tells more about the finished automata than the finished piece, which may take months to complete. I for one like to share as I go along. Feedback along the way is helpful and can save time and frustrations. With that in mind, it would be interesting to see and hear about what you currently have on the workbench.

During the design phase I typically use a test box to experiment with the different mechanisms and motions above the board. To expedite the process I installed clasps on the side of the box so it can be quickly and easily taken apart and put back together. This makes it easier to drill parallel holes for shafts, etc. Below are a couple pictures of a box I created this morning. It would also be interesting to hear how you go about testing new designs.
    

Mike
 

My current project will be titled something along the lines of "Monster Swordfish." The swordfish will jump out of the water, while the fisherman attempts to reel it in, all the while the fishing boat will be tossing among the waves.
Here are portions of the models, still in process, that I'll use above board.

The fishing boat (With a headless fisherman)


The swordfish

Both pieces to show scale

 

Good morning everyone...
I'm going to try to post a "What's on my Workbench" image each Monday.  I hope that others do the same.  This is a good way to share what we know...all of us can learn.
This past week I've been working to create "The Electric Chair".  When finished there will be two bipeds...one that pulls the switch, and one that dies.  Working out the "shaking" mechanism is an interesting challenge.  I think that magnets will be part of the solution.
IMG_20191026_184516-1000.jpg

On Mon, 28 Oct 2019 at 13:39, Mike <smc5910@...> wrote:

My current project will be titled something along the lines of "Monster Swordfish." The swordfish will jump out of the water, while the fisherman attempts to reel it in, all the while the fishing boat will be tossing among the waves.
Here are portions of the models, still in process, that I'll use above board.

The fishing boat (With a headless fisherman)


The swordfish

Both pieces to show scale

V Bass
 

Jim, have you seen Marc's video of the San Francisco earthquake automaton? That might be one way to do it. Or, I would think a rod up his bum and a cam with a lot of spiky little lobes would also work fine.
Now, let's do some psychoanalysis about your choice of subject.... :-)

 

Marc's Earthquake is a wonderful automata...makes me smile.
Regarding psychoanalysis...I've needed it for decades :-).
Truth be told...I'm not sure why I'm creating this...it's driving me to do it. Thanks for your comment.
Cheers
-Jim-

On Mon, 4 Nov 2019 at 10:27, V Bass <vrbass@...> wrote:
Jim, have you seen Marc's video of the San Francisco earthquake automaton? That might be one way to do it. Or, I would think a rod up his bum and a cam with a lot of spiky little lobes would also work fine.
Now, let's do some psychoanalysis about your choice of subject.... :-)

V Bass
 

Another thought: how about a string that holds him erect during the shock, then goes slack to let his head slump over at the end?

I am getting much too interested in this story. Time to call MY analyst.

Vance

Mike
 

Jim, I look forward to following your current progress on the "Electric Chair" it looks shock-ingly captivating.
--
Geppetto must be in my family tree, as I too like to bring wood to life.
My Website

Mike
 
Edited

I like Jim's idea to try and post an update on a weekly basis.

Here are some pieces I am working on for a automata Christmas gift.

--
Geppetto must be in my family tree, as I too like to bring wood to life.
My Website

Gus
 

Hi Mike,
That is a big piece of work ! Will you be posting "Work In Progress" photos or videos ? Would like to see how it progresses.
Regards,
Gus

Mike
 

Gus, Thank you for the encouragement. I hope to be able to provide updates on a regular basis. Here is my latest update, I painted Santa and his sled, let it dry and then applied a wash coat to age the piece and bring out a little more detail. I've also found that a wash coat can help hide some minor imperfections in the paint job. Here are some examples:

--
Tag, your it!
Mike

My Website

Gus
 

Hi Mike,

Nice progress ! What is the material of the sleigh ? The wash has a quite dramatic effect, what do you use to do that ? I would like to know the idea behind the automata, what will it do ? If the "punch line" (if there is one), would ruin the story, which I hope will be shown as a video when completed, don't answer that Mike ! :-)

Regards,
Gus

Mike
 

The sleigh was carved, using a CNC, from a 2x4 scrap piece of pine. The wash is a water-downed black acrylic paint. Which I first starting using when I was painting gaming miniatures. The movement of the automata will have Santa and his reindeer doing a wave motion as they fly over expecting homes in the background. Originally, the base was going to be a two story house with pillars, porches and activity going on inside the house, but my wife (my dearest critic) thought the automata would be too large for a normal person's home display so I cut the design down a bit. (Although I had most of the house ready to go.) I "may" add twirling stars, dancing snowmen and jumping elves, depending on my deadline. Sadly, I tend to procrastinate to the detriment of the piece, but my batteries and inspiration don't get fully charged until two minutes to midnight, much like my life in general. Cheers to a good week ahead my friend!
--
Tag, your it!
Mike

My Website

Automata Magazine
 

Hi all. In 1998 I built an automaton of a magician. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkXAc1LtrzI

Some years later I set out to build five more of the same thing. I made parts for five figures but only finished three of the automata, which were subsequently sold. This left parts for the other two in a box. Lately I decided to finish the remaining two. The first is virtually finished.


The second one I'm going to try to make gravity powered, with a weight -- like a clock. I finished the figure and have started on the guts. I designed and built a mechanism that has been tacked to my shop door for over 10 years. When you press a lever, it will go through one cycle, then stop. Here's a pic of it. I've cannibalized it for parts for the new build.



I've so far finished building the box and getting most of the mechanism installed. Here are some progress photos.

  

  

Gus
 

Hi Marc,

The pins look like they are brass, are they ? If so, how are  they kept in place ? Here, and maybe the situation in the US is the same, the hardwood dowels are not really round, especially the smaller sizes. I have made a tool which will correct this problem, but the small sizes like 3,4 mm don't have enough material strength. 

Regards,
Gus

Automata Magazine
 

Hi Gus.  Yes, the pins I use are usually brass, either 3/32" or (lately) 1/16". They're just press-fitted into the holes. I made a little fixture that I can hold in my drill press that will press them all in the same distance. --Marc

Mike
 

Marc, I adore the creations in your YouTube videos and they are a great resource for learning about various automata mechanics. Thank you.
--
Tag, your it!
Mike

My Website

 

Hi Marc...
This looks great.
Regarding the gravity powered one...will it be wall mounted?  Sounds very interesting...powered by gravity.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
one of the Automata Group Moderators
I create automata near San Diego, California



On Mon, 11 Nov 2019 at 18:05, Automata Magazine <automatamag@...> wrote:
Hi all. In 1998 I built an automaton of a magician. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkXAc1LtrzI

Some years later I set out to build five more of the same thing. I made parts for five figures but only finished three of the automata, which were subsequently sold. This left parts for the other two in a box. Lately I decided to finish the remaining two. The first is virtually finished.


The second one I'm going to try to make gravity powered, with a weight -- like a clock. I finished the figure and have started on the guts. I designed and built a mechanism that has been tacked to my shop door for over 10 years. When you press a lever, it will go through one cycle, then stop. Here's a pic of it. I've cannibalized it for parts for the new build.



I've so far finished building the box and getting most of the mechanism installed. Here are some progress photos.

  

  

Automata Magazine
 

Hi Jim,

Yes, I'm planning for it to be wall mounted. I've run into some snags with the mechanism, though, so things aren't progressing as quickly or smoothly as I would have liked. May be a little while before I can do another post.