I'm kicking off a new project and the first component is an apple. I haven't even finished the mechanical design but I think I know what I want the apple to do. I sketched it out yesterday and came up to the shop this morning and roughed out the basic pieces. Then I was off to the Caygeon Carvers to hang out with the boys and do some detailing while catching up on local news. (I try to save carving jobs so I can take something to the carving club when I'm up north.)
After a few assembly touches when I returned to my shop, here is the apple that I hope will become part of the next automata piece.
The apple has a little worm that will pop up and down. This version of the worm may not be the final, but I wanted to visualize things so I knocked him together from some wooden beads I had and made him a head - stupid grin included! While building the apple I decided to add another dimension to the action. I find this often happens despite the fact that I think I have planned everything out. I plan to add an additional hole in the rear of the apple so that when the worm disappears into the apple, a bit of his rear end will stick out the back. I'll have to hollow out part of the bottom part of the apple to make space for the mechanism.
I want to show you a detail in the leaves. I usually don't try for an exact detail like competitive carvers but will settle for a reasonable facsimile. I don't won't the apple to stand out from the rest of the automata characters. But here's the thing, if this apple was going to sit on a shelf as a sculpture, seldom be moved or handed, then I might have chosen to simply just glue the leaves onto the stem. With little fingers and moving parts, cranking, and moving it around I prefer something just a little more resistant to an occasional bump. The photo below shows where I have reinforced the leaf-to-stem connection with a small piece of stainless steel rod doweled into each part, and glued into place with the final epoxy glue-up.
It still won't survive being dropped on the floor but I feel better for doing it!
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.