Well the bees are basically complete. The bees are made of several pieces depending on their movements. Many are partially hidden in the honeycomb so they are not a complete bee. in these cases the movement actuator protrudes out of the rear of the bee to link to the mechanism.
The abdomens, when present, are made from a basswood block that tapers to a stinger in the back end. Some examples, already painted with a base coat of yellow, are shown in the two photos below. The centre piece of bee bodies are made from 1-1/4" wooden balls, purchased as project parts from a local tool store. You can see two complete ones painted white below. They are stuck together with the abdomen using a 1/8" dowel for strength. A small flat was sanded on each piece for an additional gluing surface.
In some other cases the bees have only half an abdomen. This was done by cutting on of the 1-1/4" balls in half on my scroll saw. This takes great care as it is a genuine finger cutting risk! I sand the cut face smooth and dowel it into the other end of the abdomen. In these cases the bees are in the honey comb and there is a block shaped to fit the bottom cell profile to secure them in place. The photos show two configurations like this. one in the foreground of the photo on the left has a slot cut through it with an rocker arm that pivots of a pin. This bee when completed will bounce it's butt and down. The other, a little to the right of the other slides in and out of the block.
As mentioned previously the legs are made from copper wire inserted in holes drilled in the abdomen and thorax and secured with CA glue.
rods attached as antennae. Those that don't move are attached to the thorax with a dowel. Those that move have specific connections to allow for their movements, either up and down, side to side or spinning. Here are some examples in the photos below.
Where the heads In these photos you'll notice it is hard to see the bees eyes. I decided I go for a more natural, realistic look rather than cartoon coloured white eyes with black pupils, although they can be made more expressive. For now I am staying with a natural look, but that could change!
Well that's all for now, more on the bees and comb later!
I have registered for AutomataCon 2022 in Morristown New Jersey, on May 20 to 22!
Hopefully enough folks will come out of hiding from the pandemic to make it to the show this year.I have been invited to participate in a panel again this year, the subject of which is yet to be determined. I look forward to seeing old acquaintances and meeting new folks! See you there.
Okay, okay, with COVID waning for now I am returning to some semblance of normality, which means building and blogging automata projects again after some absence.
The current project incorporates some bees, 11 of them to be exact. They are each about 4" long in size, but some are only partial bodies as they will be embedded in a comb. In the photo below you can see six bees under construction. They are made of basswood rather than tupelo which I often use because I wanted a little more strength to give strength to the leg joints.
The legs are made from 12 gauge copper wire. I wanted them to be bendable to configure to their placement on the comb. The thought of making more fragile wooden legs seemed more than my fat fingers and patience could handle, so I convinced myself of that I would apply the three foot rule and forego small detail on the legs. Similarly the antennae are made of brass rods brass to escape the wrath of little fingers.
All of the bees move of course; after all it is automata! The heads seen here either bob up and down, move side-to-side, or spin. The large abdomen on the right slides in and out of a comb cell. there will even bee wing flapping, yes you heard it here first! A prototype single cell structure is shown with the abdomen stuffed in it. More on the comb in a future blog.
So this is the start of things. I have a plan, believe it or not, and have some more photos and video to share later. In the meantime it is back to the bees...
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.