Monday, November 30, 2009

Beautiful all-wood marble run machine

I don't know if this is part of a system, or something that some talented individual came up with, but this much is sure: it is one beautiful and well designed all-wood marble track. Love the wooden gears!


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ron Fuller's Sheep Shearing Man Automaton

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Here is a great little video featuring automaton-maker Ron Fuller explaining the mechanics of his classic piece Sheep Shearing Man.

Ron Fuller was one of the early contributors to Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and is one of many artists featured in the book Automata and Mechanical Toys.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Exploding and reassembling picture with gears

Here is a great wall-mounted kinetic sculpture featuring wooden gears and other wooden mechanical parts. The mechanism makes the frame of the piece come apart, then come back together. The piece is driven by an electric motor.

[ Thanks Art! ]


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Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Forest drinking king automaton clock

Justin Miller -- a fan of The Automata / Automaton Blog and collector of Black Forest clocks -- recently added a rare clock to his collection. He has been kind enough to share the piece with us. Made circa 1870 in the Black Forest, the clock features a drinking king automaton figure. Every 10 minutes or on demand the king comes to life.

The automaton's sequence of movement is as follows:


1 - The king's left arm holds a large beer. His arm raises the bottle across his chest above the glass. The wrist then tips the bottle to pour a drink.

2 - The arm with the bottle returns to his side.

3 - The right arm holding the glass is lifted up to his mouth.

4 - The mouth opens to accept the beverage.

5 - The eyes drop to the glass to confirm it is empty.

6 - The eyes return to looking ahead.

7 - The mouth closes as the glass is returned to resting position.

See this and Justin Miller's other wonderful Black Forest clocks on his blog, http://blackforestclocks.org/


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wooden clock sculptures by James Borden

I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking with James Borden, creator of mechanical weight-driven clocks last weekend at the Paradise City Arts Festival. "Clock" doesn't quite sum up what Borden creates however. His pieces are large, artistic expressions of time described in beautiful hardwoods, long graceful curves, and inventive structural configurations.

From the artist's site:
In his Timeshapes, James Borden presents a different vision of the passage of time: Less frenetic and urgent than the normal ticking of a clock; slower paced; peaceful; playful; something easier to live with.

Here is a close up of a mechanism from one of his pieces:

To see more wooden clock sculptures by James Borden visit the Timeshapes web site.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gary Schott's MECHANICAL PLAYTHINGS

Gary Schott's MECHANICAL PLAYTHINGS
Texas-based metalsmith, jeweler and educator, Gary Schott, will be holding his first real solo show, called MECHANICAL PLAYTHINGS starting this week.

The show opens Nov. 28th at Design Works, located in Galveston, TX at 2119A Post Office Street. The opening reception will be held from 6-9PM Saturday Nov. 28th, 2009.

It is sure to be a great show in which you can touch and play with some mechanical art-toys.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mario Hammer paper automaton download

Mario Hammer paper automaton download
Another Mario Brother's inspired paper automaton download is available at Nintendo Papercraft. The paper Mario smashes a Goomba with a large hammer.

Here's the page with the Mario Hammer paper automaton kit.

[ Thanks Alan! ]


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Monday, November 23, 2009

Walter Ruffler paper automata at Flying Pig

Flying Pig paper animations has announced the addition of paper automata by Walter Ruffler to their website. There are twenty seven models from which to choose.

Shown at left is Ruffler's model title "Off Road".

Visit this section of the Flying Pig web site for the full line of Walter Ruffler paper automata kits.


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Sunday, November 22, 2009

"The Pasha" automaton by Anatoly ZAYA-RUZO

The Pasha automaton by Anatoly ZAYA-RUZO
Here is the latest automaton creation from Anatoly Zaya-Ruzo.

From the artist's description:
"The Pasha" is a classical automaton 32" x 12" x 24"(H) with 12 movements and 72-note music mechanism playing three tunes. The action is operated by specially designed heavy duty winding motor with 50 lb-in torque. The Pasha makes his magic by transforming the girl from one tent to another. There are 5 characters in this scene.

More about this automata (including video) will soon be posted on Anatoly's web site www.automatadolls.com.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tempus Fugit automaton by Simon Venus

Here is a short video of a Tempus Fugit -- a mechanical tableau by Simon Venus.

Learn more about this automaton and Simon Venus at http://www.cabaret.co.uk/day-4-tempus-fugit/.


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Friday, November 20, 2009

Tiny functional solar-powered brass engine models

Szymon Klimek creates tiny solar-powered miniatures like the steam engine show in the video above. The parts are cut from very thin sheet brass. He then hand-shapes and glues them together to create the final machine.

Here is a nice article on Szymon Klimek on Internet Craftsmanship Museum site.

Here is the link to Szymon Klimek's web site.

[ Thanks Karin! ]


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A 'Convolution' of purely wooden mechanisms

Woodworker Ken Schweim built this collection of wood mechanisms and titled it Convolution. It is a wonderful assortment of drives, linkages, and gears. Well done, Ken!

From the video description:
This is a collection of wood mechanisms driven by a common wood crank. The entire project is wood, no nails, screws, wires, etc. Each assembly is removable. The wood is primarily common pine with some black walnut. Total time required was about 4 months with the majority in the design phase. I was going to add more to the open sides and the interior but decided against it for two reasons; one - it would require more cranking power and two, it would make it difficult to see the existing interior mechanicals. Plus, it now leaves the door open for another possible project to explore more wood mechanisms. In reviewing the audio I mistakenly said there is wire in this thing but not so, it is all wood.



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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wooden mechanical remote-control dinosaurs

Wooden mechanical remote-control dinosaurs
I've seen wood dinosaur models, and even wood dinosaur models with a motor and simple movements. This pair takes it a step further with the addition of a infrared remote control and three different operating modes.

From the model description:
The R/C Wooden Puzzle Dinosaurs go one better and add movement and sound to this classic dinosaur format. First you must assemble of course, but once you've jacked in the included motors and electronics you're ready to rumble. Not only can you control your dino's movements via remote, he (or she) roars and reacts to sound.

Here is the link to these two wooden mechanical dinosaurs with remote control.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jensen steam engine model kit

Jensen steam engine model kit
Here's a nice little working model steam engine.

From the product description

Build a real head of live steam in the boiler, ease the throttle open and watch the engine take off. The stationary steam plants have nickel plated brass horizontal boiler, water gauge, whistle, safety valve, throttle, 3" dia flywheel and power takeoff pulley. Our dry pellet fuel model (includes 20 fuel pellets) has a single action horizontal piston engine and comes as a kit. It requires about 2 hours to assemble and mount on its roughly 7" sq base, using simple tools like pliers and screwdriver.

Here the link for this Jensen Steam Engine Model.


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Mechanical Christmas tree stand with four tunes

Made around 1900, this German clockwork Christmas tree stand spins the tree around and plays four tunes.

For more info, visit http://www.automatomania.com.


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's exhibition in Spain

Here is a video with a few highlights from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's exhibition at El Parque de Las Ciencias in Granada, Spain -- including work from Russian theater company Sharmanka. I wish I could be there to see it in person!

Here is where you can learn more about the amazing Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Authentic, working replica of a praxinoscope

Authentic, working replica of a praxinoscope
Here is an heirloom-quality working replica of the praxinoscope -- an animation device invented in 1877.

About this praxinoscope replica:
Used to depict motion using a series of rapidly spinning images, it is considered the precursor to the modern motion picture, it was invented by French science teacher Charles-Émile Reynaud. A dodecagonal drum -- each face containing a 2 3/4" H x 1" W mirror -- sits concentrically inside a smooth, 8" diameter cylinder. A paper strip of 12 images is placed into the cylinder; when the brass finial is spun, the images are reflected in the central prism of mirrors, creating the illusion of movement. This replica comes with 14 image strips, including a galloping horse, two blacksmiths taking turns hammering a piece of iron on an anvil, and a rotund captain of industry rolling by virtue of his own girth. Beech construction.

Here is the link to The Authentic Praxinoscope.


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Friday, November 13, 2009

The amazing kinetic sculpture of the late René Ach

The amazing kinetic sculpture of René Ach
Sadly, I have only just learned of the remarkably talented kinetic sculptor, René Ach. The link below is to a long, well-made video that shows the tremendous skill and artistry possessed by the late artist.

Here is a link to a long QuickTime video of the work of René Ach.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Isis Impossible Titanium Puzzle

Invented by a magician and manufactured from high-grade aluminum (not sure where the 'titanium' name comes from) the Isis puzzle is a mechanical puzzle with an interactive twist. Solving the physical puzzle is just the start. Now we can all feel like characters in The Da Vinci Code.

From the puzzle description:
As the Isis puzzles are supposedly "The hardest puzzles in the world" the manufacturer gives you some clues, encrypted of course available on their website. The Isis is a high quality puzzle, similar to a combination lock. The object of the puzzle is to solve the combination and obtain the secret number inside. Each Isis is unique, and you will need to obtain the key number inside and enter the numbers onto the Isis Adventure website in order to access the "Pyramid Map". Many hidden pyramids will be found on the map, and fantastic monetary awards are available to those that can solve the location and the pyramid passwords.
Here's a link with more info on Isis Titanium Puzzle and its even more difficult cousin known as Ramisis Pyramid Puzzle.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Video profile of New Zealand automaton maker

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Blair Somerville is an automaton maker in New Zealand. Here is a nice video profile of him from a New Zealand news station. He really comes across like a warm, playful, and creative person.

Here is the link to the written profile of artist Blair Somerville.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death+Resurrection: In the Chamber of Reflection

Marvel at Thomas Kuntz's self-portrait based on a classic automata motif: the severed and restored head. The entire piece -- including the cams, levers, and actuating devices -- were hand-cut from brass, steel, and wood.

From the video description
This automaton, a nightmarish vision, was inspired in part by the 19th century Phalibois clown automaton. The first version was sold to a private collector and then this 23" tall automaton was made from a completely new set of sculptures with some added features and a completely new mechanical design. It is an auto-biographical self-portrait told through occult allegory and runs for one minute to complete the cycle.

See more amazing art by Thomas Kuntz on his web site.


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Monday, November 09, 2009

Karakuri: Make Moving Mechanical Paper Models

Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models That Move
Here is a book on how to make paper automata by Keisuke Saka.

From the book description:
Detailed explanations, accompanied by diagrams, explain the physics behind how karakuri move and operate, so you really learn about the properties of the different types of gears and cams. And to inspire you, also included are four fun, full-color karakuri models designed by the author, a well-known paper engineer.

Here is the link to Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models That Move


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Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Complete Modern Blacksmith book

The Complete Modern Blacksmith book
I recently gave this book to a friend for his birthday. An anthology of three out-of-print books, this book is a great value. The book covers much of what you might expect from a book with this title. What makes it really cool is its emphasis on making, repairing, and maintaining useful tools of every sort. I haven't found this information elsewhere yet. Very nice pencil drawings accompany the text. If you want to take your "making skills" to the next level, you should check this book out.

Here's amazon's info page on The Complete Modern Blacksmith.


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Saturday, November 07, 2009

5 ft tall wall-mounted rolling ball sculpture - 3 tracks

Check out this large wall-mounted rolling ball track with three distinct courses for the balls to travel. Excellent work!


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Friday, November 06, 2009

Two Maillardet Automaton drawings on eBay

Two Maillardet Automaton drawings on eBay
I was recently contacted by a woman who found two drawings while going through her late mother's photos and keepsakes. As it turns out, they were penned by none other than Maillardet's Automaton, now at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. She has been in contact with a number of experts who have confirmed these drawings were done by the Automaton.

Here's the eBay listing with the complete story behind the two Maillardet Automaton Drawings.


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Thursday, November 05, 2009

The White Series by artist Casey Curran

Take a few minutes to soak in this new series of wire-based automata by artist Casey Curran. The 11 kinetic sculptures were created around the idea of cultural detritus serving as a basis for micro-ecologies. Like the artist's previous works, the organic feel makes Curran's work truly distinctive.

See more kinetic art by Casey Curran at caseycurran.com.


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Large wooden spider automaton

Check out this automaton of a spider by Tim Douglas. Crafted of oak and walnut, the automaton beautifully depicts the motions of a spider.


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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Zombie Shooting Gallery mechanical toy

This would have been better to post before Halloween, but it's still a great mechanical toy. A new spin on an old shooting gallery game.

From the zombie shooting game description:
Take aim with the included laser assault rifle and blast the zombies as they pop up from the windows of the dark mansion. Too slow and they dine on the human hostages inside. Remember, practice hard... not much time before the real hell spawn arrive to feast on flesh of the living.

Here is the link for the Zombie Shooting Gallery mechanical toy.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Mini HoverDrone - the smallest flying R/C toy yet

Mini HoverDrone - the smallest flying R/C toy yet
Take a look at this very small flying toy...

From the toy description:
With a diameter not much larger than a silver dollar and a single propeller on the bottom, the HoverDrone somehow manages to float in the air as it spins and flashes its blue LED. The simple slider control allows only up-and down movement... but this makes it so easy to fly that anyone can instantly control it.

Here's a link to the Mini HoverDrone flying toy.


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Sunday, November 01, 2009

"The Beholder" - creepy mechanical sculpture

Check out the wonderfully unsettling effect of organic and robotic elements in this kinetic sculpture made with found objects by Nemo Gould.

See more of Nemo Gould's work on his web site.


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