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Wooden Automata

 

I have recently become interested in building wooden automata. There are many examples of these on the web. Some of the best can be found at Cabernet Mechanical Theatre, Fourteen Balls Toy Company, Philip Lowndes Automata, Dug North Automata, and Keith Newstead Automata. There are many more.

Here are some photos and videos of what I've done so far.



(Click on the photos to link to the videos at YouTube).

Barking Dog

There is a plan on the net for this one - it is at http://www.leevalley.com/newsletters/Woodworking/3/2/article2.htm

The original version of this automaton can be seen here.

Here is my version:

                                      

 

 

Kick the Bucket, inspired by "Goat" sold by 14 Balls Toy Co. Their version is here. I wanted to see if I could figure out and reproduce their mechanism from the online pictures.       and here is mine - 

 

                           

Running Dog     There are many versions on the web. Aquio Nishida's shiba inu may be the original.

                               

 

Juggler is a juggling, hula-hooping skeleton for my daughter-in-law - she is a juggling, hula-hooping criminalist!

The juggler was inspired by a whirligig, shown here. Whirligigs are basically wind-powered automata.

Here is mine:

 

                                       

 

Surfing Dog. This was inspired by a paper automaton sold by Keith Newstead here.

My wooden one is here:

 

                                          

 

Beach Bunny   At the request of a good friend, I built a girl jogging on the beach. This is really my first original automaton, and also my first real attempt at wood carving (outside of the dogs above).

                                         

 

Kick the Football, Charlie Brown!

Another original, depicting Lucy outsmarting Charlie Brown in the annual event.

 

                              

 

Jumper

Inspired by Tom Haney's Jackalope. I used an internal spur gear.

 

                                                                       

By the way, I carved this horse using an interesting technique I came across -  in an old issue (from 1934) of PopularScience.  The rough horse is made from 3 layers of quarter-inch plywood, cut with a scroll saw. The layers are glued together and then finished as usual.

 

Articulation

Similar to James Watt's paper horse, also dsclockwork's horse. I used a pulley instead of cranks.

                                                                   

 

Carousel

The horses were carved by the same method as the Jumper, above, and go up and down using wheeled cam followers tracking a ramp. The music is played back by pushing a hidden button - it is recorded on the same electronic device used in a talking greeting card.

 

 

Tiger

Inspired by Christoph2806.  Here is my version:

 

               

 

The Great Lorenzo

Ron Fuller kindly posted detailed diagrams for his Lion Tamer. Here's my version.

                        

 

Xiuhcoatl

The year of the Dragon!

               

 

South-Pointing Chariot

The south-pointing chariot  was an ancient Chinese two-wheeled vehicle that carried a movable pointer to indicate the south no matter how the chariot turned. Preceding the compass, it may have been used for land navigation at one time. It will continue to point in whatever direction it is initially set to (not necessarily south).

                

 

Do-Nothing Box

The name says it all.

 

      

 

A Novel Transmission

An interesting right angle drive I came across.



                

 

Pelican

Inspired by the work of saseido3


                    

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, I have been inspired by old mechanical banks. Here are two I made: