Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library is an amazing online museum of mechanisms

The Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library (KMODDL) is an amazing resource for people that love mechanisms or want to learn more about them.

From their site:
The Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library (KMODDL) is an open access, multimedia resource for learning and teaching about kinematics - the geometry of pure motion - and the history and theory of machines.

This is a goldmine for engineers, mechanics, inventors, automaton-makers, and robot enthusiasts. Resources include: models, tutorials, simulations, references, biographies, and resources for 3D reproductions.

I urge you to visit this impressive collection of 19th-century machine elements held by Cornell.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hardwoods for Toy and Automata Making

Here's a link to a brief guide to American hardwoods. I've used many of these woods in my automata. The Birthing Engine box was made of Alder. In my other automata I have used Cherry in one way or another -- boxes and parts. Cherry is stiff and strong, though it's fairly easy to burn.

Here's a link to the The Brief Guide to American Hardwoods.

You could also check out the listing of Thin Lumber-Exotic and Domestic on my resources section

Feel free to list more species or wood resource links here.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Leonardo's Automaton - Book

Leonardo's Lost Robots is a new hardcove that is now on my list of books I want to read.

From the Book:
Leonardo's Lost Robots reinterprets Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical design work, revealing a new level of sophistication not recognized by art historians or engineers. By identifying his major technological projects, the book revisits Leonardo's legacy of notebooks, showing that apparently unconnected fragments from dispersed manuscripts actually comprise cohesive designs for functioning automata. Using the rough sketches scattered throughout almost all of Leonardo's papers, Rosheim has reconstructed Leonardo's programmable cart, which was the platform for other automata: a Robot Lion, a Robot Knight, and a hydraulically powered automaton for striking a bell. Through a readable, lively narrative, Mark Rosheim recounts his adventures rediscovering and reconstructing da Vinci's designs.

Here's the link for Leonardo's Lost Robots at Amazon.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hand-Cut Dovetail Resource Site

Alan Foust has created a great little site dedicated to hand-cut dovetails. The dovetail joint is a favorite among fine woodworkers. While the box that holds an automaton's mechanism isn't subject to huge loads, the dovetail is an attractive joint in addition to being very strong. If not cut to fit too tightly, it can be assembled and disassembled during automaton construction.

The Hand Cut Dovetail Site has links to How-To resources including online articles, books, and videos. He's also added links to related tools including dovetail saws, chisels, mallets, and marking gauges.

If you like power tools more than time-honored craft, you can consider getting a dovetail jig for use with a hand-held router. I admit it...I have one.

Anyone wanting to learn more about cutting dovetails by hand should check out The Hand Cut Dovetail Site

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Automata Book Store

Announcing: The Automata / Automaton Store powered by Amazon.com. I've teamed up with Amazon.com to give automata enthusiasts an easy place to find books on automata, mechancial toys, wood toys, mechanical reference books, and paper automata kits. It has been set up to display some of my favorite books on automata and mechanical toys.

Visit and bookmark The Automata / Automaton Store

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Alexander Calder's Automata / Puppet Circus

Alexander CalderAlexander Calder created a miniature circus using handmade characters that are part automaton and part puppet.

At the suggestion of toy merchant, Alexander Calder began to make toys with articulation in the 1920s. Calder created his Cirque Calder, a miniature circus fashioned from wire, string, rubber, cloth, and other found objects. The entire circus could be placed and shipped in suitcases. It eventually grew to fill five suitcases. Calder would travel with his circus and hold performances on both sides of the Atlantic. He would manipulate the figures to perform certain acts of the show. The figures include jugglers, clowns and animals, recreating a real circus.

This book covers the Cirque Calder in detail: Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933 (Whitney Museum of American Art)

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Christmas Automaton Plans

Woodcraft MagazineCovering the Projects, People and Products of woodworking. Woodcraft Magazine offers projects for all skill levels, interviews with woodworkers, both hobbyist and professional, and guides for buying tools and supplies.

Woodcraft Magazine is the woodworking magazine that published plans for the exercising Santa Claus automaton (Issue#7, Holiday 2005).


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Automaton Hardwood Links

I've added a big section to www.DugNorth.com in the Materials section under Resources. You'll find a full list of links for hardwood for your automaton project, jewelry box project, figure carving, or other small woodworking projects.

Here is the Materials page on DugNorth.com.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Folded Paper Automata

Check out this site with great paper automata. They offer a wide variety of paper-based models by some of the best known paper automaton designers.

Visit the Paper Animations website.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mechanical Man from 1932

File it under 'robots' if you want, but it's an automaton to me! This is from Modern Mechanix November, 1932 via one of my favorite blogs -- Modern Mechanix.

Mechanical Radio Man Talks, Sings, Walks, and Rolls Eyes

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