Put together a little automata this last week that has a big fish chasing a little fish around an oval with a plan to eating him for dinner. I sort of started with and idea and then designed on the run, building a little, designing more details in CAD and then building a bit more. Below is a photo of all the pieces except one I forgot to add to the pile.
As you might expect building the chain was a bit finicky. Not so difficult but challenging for fat fingers like mine. The chain has a fair bit of play in it so building it first to get the right centre to centre distance for the wheel was necessary. The mechanism is shown below without the oval on the top in place.
As I was building it I started to think of other chase scenarios that might work with this mechanism. I thought perhaps I should just have a collection of characters that could be easily swapped out to change with the seasons, or the whim of the owner. As a result I thought I should rename it "The Chase" and have a cache of changeable characters. Hmm, I'll have to consider that. In the meantime it's two fish. Here is one of the fish below.
Finally here is a quick peek at the fish in motion.
I just post the latest completed automata "Baa Baa Bad Sheep" on Youtube and added three pages on my website to display and relate the design story.
Click here to go to first of 3 webpages on Conquergood Creative.
When I build automata I always try to have the handle relate somehow to the subject of the piece. This is not always simple because I usually try to find something with a slender aspect ratio, that is, long and skinny. I have used odd shapes but they seem a little awkward for people to turn. The other constraint is I try to have handles smooth on one side since I use a motorized push pin to spin the handle around when displaying as shows, so I can relax and chat to visitors.
Anyway I was struggling a bit to come up with something that either related to sheep or jail for my current project. I settled on a skeleton key as might be used to lock a cell door. The shaft had to be a little fatter than normal for strength, but I managed to fashion one that I originally thought reasonable. I glued it on with temporary latex adhesive to try it out and take a look at it in place. It didn't take long to realize that I was not happy with it and I set out to think of another design.
After drawing a blank for a while I settled on a "machinery type" crank, themed it toward sheep. So below is a picture of a "cast iron" handle made by the Ovine Manufacturing Company. I am happier now.
Well it has been a little while since I last blogged, but I have busy. I finished the CAD construction drawing for my current project, cut out the mechanism pieces, made the enclosure, and threw it all together. Only a few "as built" revisions this time. Life is not too bad! Anyway here is a couple of photos from along the way!
Click on the photos below and a caption will appear.
As they say in criminal circles sometimes,"The Jig is Up!". In this case it means both the jail cell and the storyline of the automata I've been working on. It seems in the County Sheepshire the ovine community are a rowdy lot. It happens that a pasture rave gathering got out of hand and the attendees were rounded up and thrown in the brig. Charges range from drunk and disorderly, disturbing the peace, solicitation, serving alcohol to minors, public indecency, and noise levels that exceed County guidelines. For most of us this news is a little disturbing because we view sheep as rather docile critters - somewhat sheepish in fact. Well this ovine group seems an exception. Even during their short incarceration they have managed to plan and execute a breakout. There will be chaos when the Sheriff returns to the station in the morning!
I am still in the throws of planning. I have already rearranged the characters several times to allow for mechanism spacing and the allocation of space for the "breakout" since this prototype layout photo was taken. Now it's lots of CAD time designing the lower works. Keep watching.
I've been churning away making more little sheep for the new piece, although I took a little time aside to work another component. I've got 20 sheep now and might add a few more. I've been spacing them in groupings to see how to space the top works with interference from each. I am purposely keep this piece narrow, (5-1/2") deep so it can sit nicely on a shelf when finished.
So here are a few of the groups forming. Still more to assemble...
The "holding rack" is getting crowded as the flock of sheep multiply. This gang is mostly completed but a few need a few finishing touches. On the rack are; a pair of "ladies of the night" from a previous blog , two sheep that nod their heads no, one who nods his their yes, one whose legs go out from under them when they tries to stand, one who falls asleep and jerks back awake, one who is praying, and a few more who just stand around looking dazed. You'll have to wait and see what common thread has brought them all together.
There are some more yet to come.
These two darlings are ladies of the evening from the pasture. each is about 1-1/2" tall. Their bodies are machine carved from tupelo and their arms and legs are pieces of insulated copper wire. I have not given them names yet. They are characters in the new automata I am working on. These two have found themselves in a little bit of trouble along with many other members of the flock after a long night. The good news they are all still together. The bad news is that they all have had certain restrictions placed on them. That's enough of a hint for now. I've got to get back to work, there are a lot more sheep to make.
Visit the webpage to see the Penguins Revenge, recently posted. Follow this link. The Penguins' Revenge
Well it has been a while since the last post of Nero the Near Sighted Leopard Seal, but I have finally returned to the Antarctic to work to move Nero along. This summer has been an interesting time. Periodic bouts of COVID anxiety, oh yes, even this woodworking hermit would love to get out and about more freely. I have to admit if you are going to isolate doing it in cottage country has been a blessing. A major distraction has been restoring and old boat for my grandsons to fly around in. These things always take longer than I expect to complete. Anyway it is done now and away for winter storage.
I have also delivered my two contracted pieces to the Museum of Nature for their Planet Ice exhibit which opens September 25th. I have not seen the final setup in the display area, but I am looking forward to a visit once the exhibit opens.
Anyway the mechanics of "Penguin's Revenge" are getting closer to completion so I am adding these teaser photos for you. A few more days might result in completion so I will have more to share.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.