Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Make Magazine Now Selling DIY Automta Kits

The ever-cool Make Magazine is now offering Designing Automata Kits.

I've never tried one of these kits, but it sure looks like a great way to try your hand it it -- even if you don't own tools. I bet this kit it would be a great gift for kids too. If any of you have tried these kits, drop me a line and tell me what you think.

Head on over to the Make Store to get your Designing Automata Kit.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Paper Automata Download Shop

Flying-Pig Paper Animation Kits has created a whole new storefront for their downloadable automata. He is offering many of his designs as downloads!

Make your own paper automaton:

STEP 1 - Purchase and download the design of your choice to your computer. Each kit comes as an acrobat file (PDF).

STEP 2 - Print out the illustrated instructions onto regular paper. Then, print the parts pages onto thin card stock.

STEP 3 - Score and cut out the pieces. Glue the parts together with white glue.

In a few hours time, you have your own working automaton!

Downloadable models are paid for using the secure PayPal, so you can order from anywhere in the world using any currency and your order will be with you in minutes.

As of now, there are almost 30 designs to choose from!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Making Mad Toys Book is Now Shipping!

Making Mad ToysThe new book from Rodney Frost (the author who wrote Whacky Toys, Whirligigs & Whatchamacallits) is now shipping from Amazon!

I have not received my copy yet. I will write a longer review once I have it and have had a chance to read it. Here is what the publisher has to say about the book...

Rodney Frost's collection of playful mechanical contraptions will captivate anyone who operates them -- and they'll entice the creative woodworker too, because these whirligigs are as much fun to make as to maneuver. The secret to these movable marvels: propellers and other action-filled parts made from wood or metal. Full-size schematics and drawings, plus detailed written instructions, will guide woodworkers smoothly through building, carving, and assembling many enchanting projects!

Check out Making Mad Toys & Mechanical Marvels in Wood

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Featured Artist: Ken Hayashi

The Automata / Automaton Blog is thrilled to share with you the work of Japanese automaton artist Ken Hayashi. He works primarily in paper.

The site is in Japanese, so for English-speakers some random exploring of the navigation on his site is required. It is well worth it.

The piece shown here is amazing. Here's a link to a movie of the piece in action. The mechanism page for this piece makes me feel that I am witnessing the work of a master.

Here is Ken Hayashi's home page.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Convert Dremel into Miniature Milling Machine

The New ACRA Mill Plus was designed with the serious model maker in mind. It is so easy to use, even the beginner will find it a great asset. You can do the most simple modeling tasks (sanding, grinding, polishing, etc.) and the most precise jobs -- working to within .001" if needed. All of this, by mounting a Dremel Rotary tool, or any Dremel-style rotary tool.

Though I have already bought Mini Milling Machine and a 7" x 12" Mini Metal Lathe, this tool little beauty is almost too tempting to pass up. Let's see how long I last before I break down and buy one.

Check out the ACRA Mill Plus.

As usual, this gem comes to me by way of Make Magazine's extraordinary blog.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Automata Homage to Canada

Here is an automaton that celebrates Canada. Created by automaton-maker Charles Mak, this automaton features several Canadian symbols, including a Beaver. As I am originally from Vermont and appreciate engineering of all sorts, I have a great fondness for the animal sometimes known as "nature's engineer".

Take a look at the automaton entitled: Proudly Canadian.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hand-Cranked Metal Fly Automaton

Check out this excellent metal fly automaton by
Seattle based artist Casey Curran. Very, very cool.

I learned of this video from a post over at Make Magazine's Blog.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Master Pocket Hole Jig System - Wood Joinery

Are you inclined to make things yourself from wood, but are short on the skills required for complex wood joints? Are you an accomplished woodworker who just wants a faster way to make a variety of clean joints?

You've got to look into pocket hole joinery. The idea is simple: a jig and special drill bit allow you to drill an angled hole that both pre-drills the wood pieces and provides a recess for the screw head. Special pan-head screws hold the wood pieces together. This technique can be used to make a wide variety of wood joints -- even face frames.

Kreg is the leading brand and they offer systems from $50 to $140 -- all are highly rated. I bought the $50 version and now wish I had the case that comes with the $75 version. Note: you need screws of the right length to match your project.

The basic setup ($50) : Kreg R2 Rocket Pockethole System

The mid-range set ($75) : Kreg K3SP K3 Pocket Hole Jig Standard Pack

The deluxe set ($140, $120 with rebate) : Kreg K3MS K3 Master Pocket Hole Jig System

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Scientist Recreates Heron's Automata Mover

Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria is one of the first well-documented automaton-makers in history. He designed many ingenious devices. The folks over at The New Scientist have made a working model of a self-propelled, programmable cart that was used on stage. Very cool.

I learned of the video first from BoingBoing.net.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Chomping T-Rex Automaton Picks up Objects

This is The BEST paper automaton idea EVER.

Turn the handle and the Tyrannosaurus Rex reaches down and bites! The T.Rex snatches up any small object placed beneath his mighty paper jaws.

I only wish I thought of this idea!

Follow the illustrated instructions and -- with an evening or two of your time and some white glue -- you can have this little beast.

Check out this Chomping T-Rex Automaton.

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