Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Topsy Turvy Clock by Andy Clark

Andy Clark of The Workshop Shed blog made this, The Topsy Turvy Clock, after being inspired by a kids TV show, featuring a clock with numbers in the wrong places.

Andy Clark explains:

I saw a clock with the numbers in a Topsy Turvy order and wondered if I could actually make it work. After concluding it would be too much of a technical challenge to make it entirely clockwork, I decided to use stepper motors and software control. I wanted it to look like an original mantel clock so the brass mechanism and style of numerals were key. I had the numbers laser cut in card by a company who normally make wedding table decorations so the what I call "antique white" is actually "champagne". I started planning in late November last year so it's been a long build with mechanical, electronic and software challenges. I finished it just this week after a month of fine tuning and completing the software.

Here is where you can learn more about the Topsy Turvy Clock. It's also been entered in the Atmel Simply AVR Design Contest, so be sure to vote for it!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

BIRDSONG, with found feather -- a mechanical sculpture by Martin Smith

Check out BIRDSONG, with found feather, the latest mechanical sculpture by Martin Smith. Wonderful!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cabaret Mechanical Movement - The classic text on automaton-making in Kindle edition!

One of the all-time best books on the art and science of making contemporary automata, Cabaret Mechanical Movemen, is now available in a Kindle edition. This is great news, because the original paperback edition can be somewhat hard to get and used copies of the softcover book are quite expensive. Published by Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, a museum that pops-up all over the world to delight its visitors with some of the finest examples of the automata makers art, is largely responsible for the existence of the genre. As such, they are a name to be trusted.

From the book description:

Making automata is hard. Making other sorts of three dimensional objects can also be hard, but the extra dimension of movement seems to add a disproportionate amount of difficulty. For most people, especially those untrained in engineering skills, getting to the point where making mechanical devices is easy, can be a long and frustrating task. Then again, there are many people who have a sound understanding of engineering but can’t even draw a horse.

These things can be learnt. This book does not teach you how to draw a horse, but it does remove the mystery that surrounds the world of mechanisms and the business of making things move. Cabaret Mechanical Movement contains a lot of theory but it’s also packed with practical tips and ideas for making your own automata, moving toys or mechanical sculpture.

Chapter titles include:

  • Who, What, Why?
  • Some Principles
  • Levers
  • Shafts
  • Cranks
  • Cams
  • Springs
  • Linkages
  • Ratchets
  • Drives & Gearing
  • Control
  • The Checklist
  • Bibliography
  • Index

You won't find step-by-step plans to make an automaton, but you will learn a lot about the basic mechanisms that make most contemporary automata tick. You will also get valuable constructions tips for making moving toys and automata. The book includes over 200 black-and-white illustrations. I would say that alone, it may not be enough to get you started making autoamta, unless you have some previous woodworking experience. That said, it is an indispensable book on the subject and should be among the first those new to the field acquire.

Here is where you can get the Kindle edition of Cabaret Mechanical Movement: Understanding Movement and Making Automata

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