This is the beginning of what I call a recumbent polar bear. He is a real gamer. He sits in a recliner his hands moving joysticks, his feet pumping pedals, and his head moving side to side peering at a yet to be built LCD screen. I am showing you this stage of the process to show you how things come together sometimes. I have already made a quick prototype of the bear, just to scale the whole project and determine the degree of motion to be added to the character. The trick now is to prepare for implementation of the mechanical motions. You need to plan ahead. This photo shows my polar bear before carving features. Having surfaces square and parallel is sometimes essential when creating mechanisms so they must be configured before shaping.
The bears hand will move joysticks. The small hole on the top of the hand is for the protruding portion of the joystick. The pin showing is the axis of rotation. There is a brass plate set into the arm, with a hole in it to support the pin, allowing it to spin freely. The movement will be imparted from a rod extending from the bottom of the hand down through the arm of the chair.
The feet move in a similar manner, but movement is imparted through a foot pedal from below the floor. The head will swivel on a rod that rises up through the lounger.
Of course now comes the challenging part. With the constraints of the mechanism parts defined, the job now is create a passable, recognizable bear, hopefully exhibiting a little gamer attitude! We'll see how it goes.
Time for the kick off of the fall season of carving shows! The first is organized by my local club. It is the Kawartha Carving Competition in Bobcaygeon, this coming Saturday, September 14th at the Curling Club. I will not be entering items in the competition but will have a display of automata for demonstration to visitors. The clubs from around South Central Ontario will come to enter carvings and spend the day at the show carving and talking to visitors. Hope to see some of you there!
The competition website is https://www.kawarthacarvingcompetition.org
Someone came to me recently and asked if I could make a automata of someone looking a little insistent, frustrated and anxious. They sent a photo of themselves as well as a photo of their favourite jams world shirt. This is little project is the result!
If you are a lowly mouse it is sometimes hard to find ways to have real fun. It's bad enough that the mouse you idolize has giant theme parks in Florida, California, and France, but as a mouse you live a life of limited resources and travel to these places may well be beyond your lifespan! As a mouse you've seen the famous teacup ride in Disneyland on TV and in magazines and your heart aches. So some mice have to make their own fun.
These industrious guys have taken over the local china shop after hours and they created their own version of Disney's tea cup ride. What could be better? For a few moments they are in heaven, spinning, twirling, and squeaking; a real tempest in a teacup; mice full of mayhem!
There is still some work to do, but things are getting close to being done. Here is a sneak peak at the fun. More to follow of course!
Time to reveal the principle characters of the current automata project, a group of mischievous mice. They are awaiting the application of a little fur with the wood burner and then of coarse a little paint.
I had an idea for what I thought might be a cute automata but I realized that I was short of skills on a key element of the design. I didn’t see tabling my project until I acquired some new equipment and developed these skills myself so I reached out a fellow woodworker.
JIm Lang is good friend, accomplished woodworker, and member of the Woodturners Guild of Ontario which meets in the east GTA. I hit him up to do a turning for my project and he agreed. So it will be first for me, maybe not in the automata world, but Jim and I are collaborating on this project!
No reveal today, so you will to watch this spot for developments in the near future.
You can visit the Woodturners Guild’s website at https//www.wgo.ca
My latest automata project "Inner Demon" is now posted on my Youtube channel and on it's own webpage on my website, conquergoodcreative.com. You can find it in the Contemporary Automata section or follow this link "Inner Demon". There are photos and a video of the project there. Hope you enjoy it!
I have also added a description of the final assembly process of this automata under the Tips and Tricks, - The Why and the How of It on the website as a sample of what needs to be considered.
Well at least now Frantic Man has some colour. I still need to peg down his feet into something to see the action this setup generates. I have a feeling I may need to open up his elbows a bit more to get more range of motion in his arms. Testing to come.
Here is how he looks now.
The little “frantic man” sits slumped in frustration waiting his turn for a little more attention. The mask, although still needing some more shaping, received a coat if sandable sealer over most of it sits behind him.
The good news is that was yesterday. Frantic man is getting some paint today so while he could be getting less frustrated he should be looking more frantic.
Part the the current work is a frantic little man shaking violently in a cage enclosure. It’s a little more complex that it looks because there are many loose connections that will emphasize the shaking motion. In assembly and fitting it’s like trying to wrestle an octopus into a shot glass!
By test fitting at this point you can discover if the range of motion you have built into the joints is adequate to get the desired visual effect. It also lets you measure the required movement of the initiating action point. He will be operated by pushing his back in and out while the hands and feet will be fixed - at least that is the current plan.
I know there will more tweaking ahead. Although I always try to leave adequate clearance in the joints it always seems things tighten up when painted and sealed. These small articulated characters can be a challenge.
Anyway here is a peek of the frantic man stuffed inside his cage for the fitting. The pins will all be removed and replaced with flush pins after painting.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.