Things were backing up on the good old Conquergood Creative information system. Storage Capacity was shrinking, backup drives were squeaking, and waiting for applications to open was beginning to feel like waiting for public transit! Of course it's nothing that a bunch of money can't fix, right? I mean, after all, being cooped up hiding from COVID germs who doesn't need a shopping spree no matter how small.
I went out and invested in some new computer toys, what could be more fun? I knew things would be a little trying since I have not been a good file manger for a while. In fact I became a pocket drive maniac carrying little drives back and forth between offices, homes, shows and wherever else I went. And now seeing the value in consolidating all my project drawings, photos, videos, and the like I gleefully set out on a path to redemption - a chance to reorganize!
You haven't seen any blogs, or project rollouts recently because I have been locked in battle with a myriad of devices, folders, files and useless fodder for days now! I am now just coming back into the light and actually cut a piece of wood today. It felt strange, but much more relaxing than pushing computer keys. So I think I'm ready to remerge after doing my penance for being so lazy for so long with my files.
But there is good news, I now have large multiple screens to use for CAD work and video production and I can enlarge menu and toolbar sizes to ease my squinting eyes and still have lots of screen room! I just have to try not to thinks of the money this all cost!
I just added a building project course to the Learning Centre called "Build a 8:1 Ratio Wooden Gearbox".
It is the third in a series of companion courses designed to help beginners develop their skills to enable them to design and fabricate simple automata gearboxes with confidence. In this latest addition to the series students use parts templates and video instruction guides to build a gearbox like the one shown above. It is purposely designed at a generous size for ease of construction. Once students become confident they can graduate to smaller dimension projects.
This compound gearbox is used in many of the automata projects i make in some form or other. It's purpose it to simply slow the crank speed of the handle down to one for which the mechanism to able to communicate a lower story cycle.
The gearbox i made to film the course I branded as A.C.E. (Automata Concept Evaluator). I will use it at exhibitions I attend to engage visitors in discussions about automata. , When you turn the wrench handle and suggest an idea for a project, the rating shows up on the decision disk on the other side when you the stop turning. Green = Good Idea, Red =Not So Good, Yellow = Has Potential!
Ah well, the kids will love cranking the handle!
I think these extended lockdowns are beginning to fry my brain, (no pun intended). You would think that with all this time for shop work without interruption things would be just flying along. Well not so for me. I have just completed a new piece where I think I have made every goof you can imagine as an automatist. I've designed cams in reverse, sanded out things I should not have, glued stuff in prematurely, cut out numerous pieces after installation and make readjustment after readjustment. I think although I do not have COVID, my brain must have. I think I'd better wake a break from the shop and do some course development work for a bit!
The good news is that after all this pain and frustration I have finally finished my latest project. The use of magnetics in this piece required more tweaking throughout the design than I expected, but it no seems to finally work reliability. This automata results from a peculiar observation of seagulls fighting over remnants of fries in a fast food drive-thru one day. Mother Nature must be rolling over in her grave that it has come to this!
The two main protagonists of the story repeatedly peck at the last fry left on the ground. It must be a little salty because they seem content to drop it back to the ground. A third gull tries to nose in on the action but he is just not bold enough to charge in. Two others stand back and watch the melee from a short distance away. This is all happening while that irritating seagull screech rings in the air!
Here is a teaser video until I get a webpage and full video posted for the project. I was going to post this as a building project in the learning centre, but I might have to reconsider due to the difficultly that managing the magnets may present to some folks. I'll think on it. In the meantime if you have a cute name for this piece I am not committed to "Parking Lots Wars" yet so send me any suggestions,
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.