I am often asked how you make eyes move in the little characters you make. There are some descriptions and photos in some previous blog entries, but here is a review of how Hoss got his facial features.
Here is Hoss' head viewed from above before the installation of his eyes. The end of the 1/4" dowel you see runs up through Hoss' body. His lower jaw is glued onto the end of the dowel and is shaped so as the rod moves up and down an 1/8", so to does the jaw.
The slot in the dowel is where the brass rod that will move the eyes comes into the head.
Note also the two small holes entered over the eye sockets. This is where the pins that the eyes pivot on are installed.
The slots cut on either side of the head are where the plate attached to the brass rod moves the eyes slides up and down. It can be seen in another photo.
In this view you can see the holes for the pivot rods in the bottom of the eye sockets.
Here is the brass plate that the arms on the back of the eye ball protrude through. Because they are angled as the plate moves up and down the eyes are forced to move left and right.
Here Is the eye balls installed with the motion plate installed. The pivots pins can be shown before they are trimmed.
After this the brass rod is soldered to the plate, the head is painted an the hat is glued on to retain the assembly.
And here is Hoss...
Finished painting and assembling Hoss, the ranch hand. He was a challenge do to his small size. With his head only being an 1-1/4" wide, he has busy inner workings. His eyes look left, his jaw drop drops in surprise, and he turns his head to check out the stable door.
He is laid out on the table ready for fit up.
After spending time on the characters I'm back in the shop assembling bits. It always seems to take forever but I try to work slowly to give me lots of time to examine and test things so I don't miss any critical bits. I'll post a photo of some of the characters later.
Well by forcing myself out of the shop, I've focused on carving out the characters of the piece. Ed the horse, from a previous blog, is shown right of centre. The four horse heads to the left are nearing completion. The two on the right only need eyeballs added when I'm back to the shop and they will be ready for paint. The other two still need a little shaping and some pyrography.
The dog is purposely a little chubby to allow room for the upper parts of the the mechanisms that move his head and wag his tail. Just think of him like one of those overweight canines that dine regularly at he dining room table in the homes of owners who aren't the most health conscious.
Hoss is the ranch hand. In this photo he is missing eyes and a chin. Not good things to be missing if you are going to get into a bar fight in a saloon! I'm still a little worried about Hoss. I have never made a character who's eyes move, mouth opens and head turns in such a small scale. I won't know whether it will work satisfactorily until his final fit up.
Ed turned turned out to chesnut coloured steed. Here he is looking out of his stall.
Here's a peak of things on the backside. Of course not all the components are installed in the photo.
Still not revealing the theme of the piece yet!
One of the characters in the current project is a horse that is sticking his head out of the stable. In honor of the original Mr. Ed, the talking TV horse of the sixties, I have been calling him Ed. Here he is before paint. The dark ash residue left after the pyro work will disappear under the paint job. He might get painted tonight!
Yeah, I agree, It doesn't look like much. Here's a couple of photos of the current effort. Shown without a lot of cams and support pedestals the first photo shows the gearbox on the right, a set of pinwheels that change the plane of rotation for the gears in the rear, a set of gears on the left side that translate motion to the rear for a future shaft, and a Geneva wheel just left of centre for intermittent rotation.
The next photo shows the initial assembly of the upper works, which in the case is a stable. Given a little more time and things should hopefully progress.
One of the reasons for the slow progress is that I keep expanding scope. Not an unusual problem. A little dog that was to just turn his head will also wag his tail - I hope. A bird on the roof that moves is now two birds.
Well we'll just have to see if all of this comes true.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.