Tuesday, May 29, 2007

File with a Scroll Saw - Scroll Saw Sanding Files

Scroll saw filesI have been using small sanding belts in my scroll saw for some time. They are sold under the brand name of Scroll Sanders. They are great. I use my scroll saw for sanding more than I use it for cutting!

Here is another good idea that I am ready to try: Scroll Saw Sanding Files.

Mount these little beauties into your scroll saw to turn it into a power filing machine. The product literature says that the silicon carbide abrasive is aggressive enough to cut as well as sand in most materials.

They can also be mounted into pin vises, craft knife handles, and mini hack saw handles, so I am sure to find a use for them. I'm going to order some today and I'll let you know if I like them.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Maker Profile: Dan Torpey

Check out this great video profile on maker Dan Torpey of Barking Dogs Automata.

You can see his work at Barking Dogs Automata.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Engineer's Sqaure and Caliper Set

Woodcraft is selling a set of three engineer's squares (which are much more precise than your average woodworking square), along with a nice little brass caliper. The set comes in wooden case for storage.

For $35, I consider this to be a pretty good deal.

Check out these Engineer's Squares at Woodcraft.com

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hitchcocks' Automata Exhibit @ Bridport Art Centre

Hitchcocks of Bath is a web site / gallery that features British mechanical toys, German folk toys, cut outs, and hand made wooden toys for children.

Here is a page showing automata that are currently on display and for sale at the Bridport Art Centre in Dorset, UK.

Among the distinguished automata artists are: Jan Zalud, Wanda Sowry, Robert Race, Simon Venus, Ian McKay, Peter Markey, Rachel Larkins, Ron Fuller, John Grayson, and Melanie Tomlinson.

Visit the page for Hitchcocks' at the Bridport Art Centre 2007

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Agreeable Sheep - Free Paper Automaton!

Fying-pig.co.uk is offering a free download of a completely updated version of the Agreeable Sheep model.

Download the free file, print it out, and make the model.

Using a simple cam, this model is the perfect introduction to paper animation kits and to automata-making in general.

When you turn the crank, the sheep responds in the affirmative to any question you ask of it. Great fun!

Visit the Agreeable Sheep page at Flying-pig.co.uk

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Automata Exhibits in the USA, Summer 2007

Want to see some automata in the USA this summer? Here's a few exhibits to consider:

1 - Cabaret Mechancial Theatre has a touring exhibit currently in Salina, Kansas

2 - The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection can be seen in Morristown, New Jersey

3 - The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to Maillardet's famous drawing automaton

4 - The Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham, Massachusetts has a small international showing of contemporary automata (with a Dug North included!)

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Trevithick Locomotive Model with Paper Gears

Though not as well-known a name as Newcomen or Watt, Richard Trevithick was a British inventor and engineer who built the first working railway steam locomotive...in 1801!

Here's a great site that features a model of Trevithick's steam locomotive. The paper gears are very nicely done (as is the entire model).

You can see a gallery of the model and download .PDF plans to make it yourself (for a $5).

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Chinese Magician Automaton - Another Photo

Here's a shot of the final moments of the Chinese Magician automaton's act.

A similar automaton can be seen the book Les Automates (1968, French), though the book shows a turbaned illusionist with a white beard. The book is out-of-print and pricey, but here is a link to Les Automates.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chinese Magician Automata to be Auctioned

There is another Skinner auction coming up on May, 25th of 2007. Here is a picture of spectacular magic-themed automaton that will be included in the auction.

I'll be in contact with Skinner's expert on automata and scientific instruments. Stay tuned for more photographs of this piece along with a description of the act it performs.

More information will also be available at Skinner's site soon also.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Grizzly Drill-Powered Hobby Lathe

Grizzy Drill-Powered Wood Lathe

Here is an interesting tool that converts your 3/8" power drill into a miniature wood lathe.

The details on this tool are limited, but impressive for the price. It can accommodate work of up to 24 inches and 6 inches in diameter. That's pretty big, really.

At about $46.00, this could be a handy tool -- especially if space is limited or you just want to try out a lathe of your own on the cheap.

The funny thing is that a well-rated set of lathe chiselsmight cost you more than the lathe itself!

Check out the Grizzly H2669 Hobby Lathe

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Featured Maker: Tom Haney

Tom Haney began his full time career as an artist making props, models, and miniatures for television commercials, still photographers, and movies.

He now makes automata. He uses a variety of methods to provide the motive force for his automata. What do I mean? For the mechanical source of power for his automata, Haney makes use of:
  • Key-operated work
  • Crank-operated work
  • Weight-driven work
  • Motor-driven work
And that's just some of what he does!

Many people have noted that he is particularly adept at giving his works an antique look. I would have to agree. Great stuff, truly.

Words from the Artist:
I enjoy making these pieces because they involve many processes including carving, mechanical design, assembling, painting and aging. Invariably, working with mechanisms presents a whole set of problems most artists don't have to deal with. With every piece, I become more of an inventor, which involves a lot of trial and error experimentation. But with every error, I learn something, and that's what I like most.

Visit Artist Tom Haney's site to see a portfolio of his "articulated artwork".

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Animated Paper Elephant @ flying-pig.co.uk

The tireless Rob Ives has a new animated paper model for you...

From the site:
Download the model, print it out onto thin card on your own printer, carefully cut out the pieces, glue them together and, with a couple of hours of your time you'll have your own paper elephant. Rock the body back and forth and the elephant raises his trunk in a delightful way!

Here's the link to the
Paper Elephant model page.

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