Well I started my newest automata. While the subject and mechanism are settled in my mind, the title or theme is still elusive. I got the idea from looking at a Halloween novelty item. It is a very bored looking skeleton figure that was actually a lamp. I'm animating the skeleton to accentuate the theme, but I'm not sure until I get further along whether he will look bored, tired of waiting, or something else.
This project started by taking a photo of the novelty item and then sketching out how I hoped my version would look. I imagined the skeleton would turn his head, move one hand, and drum his fingers on the other. I decided to try to make him a little smaller than I usually construct, adding a little more challenge to the project. Here are my drawing of the head, torso, and hands, all done by hand. I usually don't spend time doing CAD shapes, but let the figure evolve as it may and then identify mechanism link points to design the mechanism.
The particular carving challenge in this piece is to make the torso section out of one piece, shaping the outside and hollowing out the inside. Not sure in the early going how this will be ultimately be accomplished, but I won't get finished if I don't start. I begin by drawing the ribs on the exterior and drilling holes that define the ends of the spaces between to ribs, and using a Dremel tool to start shaping the spaces. I then drilled in from the base of the torso to create a hollow which then allowed the gaps to be cut right through to the inside. It is a fairly slow progressive process, and I proceed carefully to avoid nicking something I do not wish too. You can see the start below. Much more to do.
Meanwhile I work intermittently on the skull of my character. Here it is in it's early stages. It is usually best to drill eye holes and the like before shaping the skull so things end up square. After drilling I cut the front and side profiles on a band saw and then roughly shape by sanding.
Here is the skull sitting on the torso, just to size things up along the way. He is too square jawed in this photo so I will work some more on his lower mandible before detailing teeth. As always more to come. Watch this space!
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.