I always tell clients and visitors that automata are not children's toys. Nonetheless some seem to find their way into the hands of an unsupervised child. (Remember when you used to crank things as fast as you could? I do!) Anyway, as I finish up my current work I am planning the reconstruction of a piece that has received some overenthusiastic operation.
I have learned from this though. Looking back at this early piece I believe the design of my pinwheels and gears might have been a little lacking. Also, the action when the character in this piece lifts his arms and radio puts a fair load on the mechanism. The resultant damage is as shown below.
Not only are the pins mangled, but the anti-reverse ratchet has been broken as users tried excess force to free thinks up. The teeth on the ratchet and the end of the pawl have been chipped away. You can also see where the pins rubbed heavily on the star wheel as they bent.
The fix? Cut the case open and put in a new drive train using hand cut gears along with a beefed up anti-reverse mechanism. I'll have to chalk it up to lessons learned...
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.