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.
I’ve done a little more work on the face I have been working on and the rough-in of the little guy I have now coined as frantic man. Here is a peek.
Stilton and Gruyere are in pre-production trying their hand at the cheese grating activity. These guys are a cross between Stadler and Waldorf and the Swedish Chef from the muppet show as they critique the members of the meat processing line coming below. Here is a quick video of the simple action.
While I am waiting for a couple of carving bitsapear I ordered to arrive, I’ve moved over to the casserole factory again. This time I am working on the cheese shredding section. Chefs Stilton and Gruyere are old school fixer uppers. They use a converted grinder to shred their cheese instead of a grater. They say that the increased density of the end product adds a texture that is not to be forgotten.
Anyway, here is Stilton, as yet unfinished, in position behind the grinder. With his right hand he will be stuffing chunks of cheese into the feeder. Gruyere will be chopping the larger rounds into smaller pieces for him.
The shredded strands disappear down the tube on there way to the mixing area.
And now the time consuming part of the project, and that is to crave a head. It is always slow and steady for me when doing something like this. The first thing is that I am using a block of Tupelo wood because it is lighter than basswood. This head will spin around when done so lighter is better. Also I need to cut a larger cavity in it and I prefer to machine these kinds of space and Tupelo machines very nicely. A large block of Tupelo is a bit of investment so you don't want to rush things and screw up!
Here are a few shots of cutting a cavity for this person's inner most thoughts.
Next you can see the little cage in place that will contain the thoughts in his mind.
The next step is the slow process of carving the face, trying to maintain symmetry, trying to capture some expression of personality and trying to make him or her actually look human. This will take some time. No rushing here. Not my best skill by a long shot!
An earlier blog showed a pair of right angle gears I was working on for a current project. The next step was to test them and build the base that hold them. The larger gear becomes a spinning platform for many of next components of the mechanism.
Here is a quick video of the base and the gears temporarily put together. I am spinning the gears using my variable speed drill to “run-in” and test the gears.
After painting last night I reassembled the pasta conveyor and this morning decided to add to the layers of the factory. It may a little premature but I thought it was safer to attach it to something rather than having it lying around the shop separately where it could get hurt. I made a temporary stand as things were getting off balance and I didn’t need it to topple over. There are a couple of clamps holding the piece to the frame.
The pasta conveyor is at the bottom although I anticipate at least one more tier to come below it. The little stand behind the conveyor is for the cheese shredding operation. I also need to fit in a tomato sauce cauldron in somewhere.
I think I’ll take a little break and do some CAD on another project for a bit. It’s a nice day to sit outside for a while.
Anyway here is the factory nowadays!
I’ve been approached by a client to make a particular automata piece for them based on something they saw on the internet. A large diameter gear is a prominent part of the mechanism. The one they saw had a large gear and small pinion operating at right angles. They were made as pin gears with brass pins. I have made many of these before but they can be noisy and a little jerky in motion. It might not fit with the “zen” mood of the piece so I decided to try to make wooden toothed gearing and set out to try my hand at a prototype.
I went to woodgears.ca, a very useful site for automata gearing, and used the gear template generator program for direction. The teeth have to be cut on a bevel to work well. You need to make an adjustment for the thickness of the gear and adjust the height of the teeth as well. The bevels are cut at the pressure angle of the gears.
I made a slight variation to the cutting technique, using a spiral scroll blade to cut the bottoms of the tooth gaps perpendicular to the gear face. The teeth do not run on this surface but they are very visible on the finished gear.
I was very happy how the prototype turned out after a couple hours of setup, careful scroll saw cutting, and a little filing.
Here’s a photo of the prototype.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.