Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stairway from Heaven - musical holiday-themed automaton with plans

Our good friend here at The Automata Blog, John Hutchinson, created this holiday-themed automaton featuring an integrated music box. If you start now, you will have a one-of-a-kind gift for someone this holiday season. Full plans and instructions will be featured in the Holiday 2014 edition of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts. The holiday issue is also known as Issue 57, which will soon be available at booksellers and will eventually be available on the Fox Chapel Publishing web site. Should you be unable to get it in time, here is a link to their their past holiday issues. You are sure to find a suitable project/gift idea among them!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Paper models form the old Toy Shop computer program available online!

The Toy Shop – 20 Marvelous Mechanical Models
Back in the 1980s there was a program for the Commodore 64 computer called 'The Toy Shop'. The program allowed you to print out designs to make twenty paper models, many of which were kinetic. The models included trucks, airplanes, a carousel, a sundial, flying toys, a catapult, a working scale, several machines, a zoetrope and this amazing mechanical bank!

A wonderful web page documents all of the projects from The Toy Shop program, allowing you to download both the patterns and the instructions for free. Here is where you can view, download and make the 20 assorted projects from The Toy Shop software.

For more excellent paper models check out Paper Models That Move: 14 Ingenious Automata, and More. This book includes 14 whimsical projects for making automata out of cardstock. It is well-illustrated and explain the use of levers, gears, cranks, and other devices. The cut-and-assemble components allow papercrafters of modest skill and experience to build these models.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Reproduction of a clock kit based on a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci

image of clock kit

Here's snap-together kit that allows you to make a working model clock based on one of Leonardo's sketches. The clock uses a horizontal rotary pendulum design commonly known as a verge and foliot. The clock's speed is controlled by adjusting the weight and balance of the pendulum. It can be assemble in either a wall-mounted or standing configuration. The parts are plastic from the looks of it, but it's an attractive piece nevertheless.

Here is where you can get the Academy da Vinci Clock.

For more on clock escapements, check out Practical Clock Escapements by Laurie Penman. With over 400 line drawings the reader is taken step-by-step through the various operations when making or repairing escapements, with recommendations on the materials and tools to be used.

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