I have spent the last few weeks working a few things. One was to move back into our house after a four month long remediation after a water pipe burst. It is good to be back in familiar territory. The second big thing is working on an educational automata project for a yet to be disclosed client.
This short video clip is the upper part of a display where a group of Musk Oxen to move together to stay warm. It is a piece to help children understand what some animals do to survive in extreme cold conditions.
The surface is inclined forward about 9 degree to assist viewing for children. The Musk Oxen are actually arranged in an arc shaped formation. Viewers will be able to turn a wheel to move the Musk Oxen in and out of the "Huddling" formation.
Beneath the deck are two mechanisms that animate and protect the display. There is more to do but I haven't posted a project for a while so I went with this work in progress.
Bought our tickets! Pj and I will be off the AutomataCon 2020 this May in Morristown NJ. Looking forward to seeing everyone again.
After a good holiday, on January 2nd, I sprung my back again helping a friend lift a heavy object. Completely my fault, bad position, no bent knees! So I am now on the mend with adjustments and massage. I am just getting back into the shop!
Heres a few things I had been playing with. The first is called the "Musk Oxen Cuddle" and educational piece for children for a client demonstrating musk oxen huddling together in the cold to stay warm. This is only a prototype of course the piece id approved will be the usual wood and metal construction.
A second piece is "Caching Raven" demonstrating that ravens hide food for retrieval later when food is more scarce. Again this is meant to be an educational piece for children. This video is a prototype of the action where the raven will place a berry in a crevice and then retrieve it again. Apparently ravens are clever enough not to cache food when other ravens are watching. I apologize for the shaky video as I am trying to balance the camera and several parts in my hands.
A client of mine and a rather excited enthusiast has taken the plunge into automata! For a person who six months ago had never carved, been a woodworker, and knew very little about automata he has done remarkably well in a very short time. He has completed 2 carvings and his first automata. He stopped by to visit over the holiday and proudly brought “Jennifer the Rescu-Tory Therapist” along to show me. Hear it is. Congratulations Steven and welcome to the craft.
Here is a view of the top works of the “Bipolar Brain” upside down. The bears are not mounted, which accounts for the open hole. The little tubes are are for the cables that push and pull the head lobes open. The tubes are needed to constraint the cable as it pushes up to open the head. Without them the cable buckles sideways. By constraining them in a tube the force is directed upward instead of sideways.
The two brass arms on the left are to rotate the eyes.
Advice from insiders who have been observing the progress of the Polar Brain are curious as to why the brain cavity seems to be pink rather than grey. They argue that irregardless of any real research presented as to the true colour of the brain, it is so often referred to as “grey matter” that anything else would seem unusual. My original thought was that a little colour in the brain cavity would draw more attention to the polar bears. But I could see their point, I too had originally planned the brain to be grey. So l have taken heed and altered the colour of the brain. The opening lobes will be grey with a wrinkled pattern transitioning to pink in the lower area. (I should be in politics! Please the masses but still do some of what you want!)
A lot going on in the world of Conquergood Creative these days. Still closing in on getting repairs from a water completed so that we can move from a hotel room back into our home. Things are progressing but there always seems like there is something to solve along the way. Looks like we won't be back into the house until the new year. Going back and forth from the shop to the city is consuming more time than usual!
Last week we dragged the Conquergood Creative Christmas float out of the shed and took it to Santa day in Fenelon Falls. We displayed it operating in town for the day for all those attending Santa Day activities to stop by and get a close look at all the action rather than run it in the parade this year. Had a great time talking to all the folks while dressed up in a penguin suit!
Meanwhile I am still talking to the folks in Ottawa about some small components of museum display for 2020.
I have spent some time in the shop though progressing the Bipolar Brain mechanism along, but it continues to challenge me, (lots of adjustments and tuning). Here is a recent photo of the lower mechanism is progress.
Last week I took a run up to Ottawa to discuss the possibly of working on a few small components of a new exhibit being created for the museum of Natural History. It was a fascinating glimpse into a very creative endeavour. I now need to assess whether my contribution can bring value to their project and what I can deliver in the required delivery timeline. It's a fascinated opportunity!
Here's the fix for the oops in the last blog. I notched and extended the follower. On final assembly I will discover whether there is enough weight to rotate the eye attached to the follower back into place. If not I can and a little more "lumber" on the top of the roller at the end the follower, and possibly add interior metal weights. We will see.
It seems to me lately that the spatial recognition neutrons in my brain have taken a vacation. I have missed numerous interferences that I usually notice when working up the CAD layout of the mechanism. This follower shown below is a classic. The follower in the foreground is the one that will swivel one of the eyes in the head. You can see that it doesn't not even sit down on the cam but is hung up on a pedestal in the right foreground. The same follower for the other eye a little further back in photo does not have this problem as the spacing allowed the similar pedestal on the other side to be placed further out.
The obvious fix is to cut enough of the counterweight off until the follower can sit on the lowest point on the cam. This may result in removing too much weight to allow the eye to be pivoted back into position by gravity. The first revision would be to extend the follower are far as possible to the right to replace the weight lost by cutting. At first glance the follower will remain fairly thin over the pedestal to work, so one of two other things may also be required. One is to shave the top of the pedestal, or add hidden metal weights in the extended follower, or both!
As much as thing mechanism seems large I have already had to redesign several pedestals, cams and shafts to fit things in, and yet I still find surprises like these. That is why a temporary assembly on a complex piece is always a good move. Now to throw out a few bits and make some new ones!
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.