Friday, February 08, 2008

Man swatting fly automaton by Dave Johnson

The maker of this piece, Dave Johnson, says it is his first automaton. I've got to say...this is someone with some mechanical aptitude! Note the worm gear and ratchet mechanisms: not the sort of thing one typically sees the first time around. I especially like the way the piece cycles and the great use of secondary motion created by free-swinging parts -- a great touch that adds a lot of life to the piece.

From the YouTube Description:

Since these crank-operated automata inherently cycle through their action, I liked the idea of a task that's never finished, like Sisyphus and his stone. But I didn't want it to be purely grim, so I chose Sisyphus as a young man, in a more pastoral and relaxing posture (perhaps after a picnic), trying to swat a pesky fly. And always missing.

The video of Little Man automaton is generous in showing the details of the mechanism. Dave Johnson also has a nice set of still photos (including sketches) of the piece posted on flickr.

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Anonymous philsing said...

Thank you for all these good links. It's a lot of work....philsing

February 9, 2008 at 8:04 AM  

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