Knocked together the Black Bear today. Not exactly sure I am happy with this movement. I may have him moving too slowly. Anyway here is a quick video ahead of the webpage story and video.
Here's a couple photos of the Bear all done. I was dragging my feet on the mechanism that moves his arms while I worked on them mechanism below. I wanted to make sure I got it right first time, since the prototype I made had something a little different than what I put in the final version. So tomorrow I just have fit things all together. Here is a couple of assembled bear photos.
I was hopeful went I opened the Learning Centre that I could encourage others to try there hand at making automata. This week I received a photograph of two projects that Vernon Freer of Bruce County had completed that were available through the Learning Centre. Obviously Vern is a skilled woodworker indicated by the quality of his work in the photograph. With his permission, here are Vern's "Crankman" and "8:1 Ratio Wooden Gearbox". The little duck on the on the output shaft was his own embellishment. Excellent work Vern!
A little more progress on the new mini automata I've been working on. I've added a a squirrel to the top of the tree trunk who's world is being rocked by the back rubbing of the bear. It is about 5/8' tall and his tail moves up and down in sync with e the bears rubbing. The mount in the photo on the right is 1" in diameter and fits down inside the top of the trunk so the mechanism is hidden. The brass pivot bar converts a 1/4" vertical movement to a 1/8" horizontal movement which moves the tail.
Meanwhile the bear is taking shape as shown below. He needs more shaping, a face, some ears, some fur and a mechanism to raise his arms up and down, so back to work!
A little playing around in the shop to work out a few design concepts for a new piece. I am considering doing a small automata of a bear rubbing his back on a tree in the forest. I wanted to know if a simple up and down sliding motion of his body while his legs stayed stationary versus articulating the knees, hips, and feet so that they could move would look satisfactory. Putting all the joints on his short lower legs can be a little challenging and also unattractive to the eye. I made this little model to help me decide. (Excuse the radio in the background in these clips!)
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,
When you have a small shop, sometimes you just have to work outdoors. Unfortunately, in Canada, sometimes this can be a challenge. When I found myself needing to cut some stock for an automata closure. I dragged my saw out of the shed and set up outside. The good news it was a bright and sunny day. The bad news is that is was about -10 degrees celsius - the heat of the day! The sliders on the saw get a little stiff with the lubrication getting so cold, but ya gotta do what you gotta do.
Glove parka and toque on, a check few cuts, and back into the shed it goes, and me to a warm cup of coffee. You have to love woodworking on the winter.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.