"Call Before You Dig" Automata
The last seven years of my career in the oil industry was working on pipelines. It seemed no matter how hard the industry tried people seemed to find various, and sometime ingenious, ways to strike buried pipelines. It is a problem common throughout the utility industries with buried infrastructure, gas distribution, communications cables, water and the like. This automata piece commemorates the many restless nights spent thinking about the consequences of a less than perfect public awareness program.
This piece, although simple in concept, proved to be personally frustrating to construct so I simplified the original design to a simpler operation. The gear and cam mechanisms are in tight quarters in this piece and assembly was finicky.
The bucket action works off a cam arm on the side of the boom and I modified it in error toward the end of the assembly thinking I was solving an interference problem unnecessarily and it lessened the bucket action. A lesson learned!
The pull wire for Fred, the fainting workman, is made from braided SS wire and crimps used by beading crafters. I managed to work the mechanism without a spring, relying on the lever arm to bend at over the cam causing some added tension.
"Call Before You Dig " Video
There is something mesmerizing about watching an excavator. The piece always draws attention even before the "digging" starts. Perhaps one day I will come back and attempt a more complex trenching automata.
In the meantime, hopefully the piece will serve as a little educational "Call Before You Dig" messaging for you.