Thursday, December 31, 2009

Two homemade steam powered praxinoscopes

Check out this set of steam-powered praxinoscopes. Both of the small steam engines and the praxinoscopes were made from scratch by Adriane and Marc Horovitz over the course of a year.

Here's a toy praxinoscopeand small Jensen steam enginewith which you might be able to recreate this build.

for some of your own experiments.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hand-cranked metal flower automaton

Here is a hand-cranked metal automaton by Jeremy Jackson.

See more pieces by Jeremy Jackson on his YouTube channel.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

THE JAILER - automaton by Pablo Lavezzari

Another amazing automaton by Pablo Lavezzeri. As usual, the video production is as impressive as the automaton!

See more automata by Pablo Lavezzri on his web site.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snap Circuits Extreme 750 with computer interface

Snap Circuits Extreme 750 with computer interface
Snap Circuits Extreme is Elenco's largest set of snap-together circuits featuring 750 experiments -- including 73 computer interface experiments. The kit covers electromagnets, strobe lights, transistor AM Radio, solar power, and vibration switches in addition to all the other experiments included in their smaller kits such as the SC-100, SC-300, and SC-500.

Here's the link to Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Animated sculptures by Nedko Zhechev

Animated sculptures by Nedko Zhechev
Check out this excellent mechanized wooden hand by artist Nedko Zhechev.

See more animated sculptures by Nedko Zhechev on this web site.

[ Thanks Philsing! ]

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Contraption - automaton by artist Tom Haney

Contraption automaton by artist Tom Haney
Here is another great new piece from automaton artist Tom Haney. This one is titled Contraption.

See more images -- including his great "in progress" shots -- and videos of Contraption on Tom Haney's web site.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mechanical door knocker interior mechanism

Taylor Shepherd, an artist working out of New Orleans, created this wooden cam-driven machine which rhythmically interrupts the audio circuits on AM an FM and CB radios contained in a box fronted by a two-way mirror and triggered by a motion sensor. The piece is included in an installation by the Society for Decoration and Sacrifice at Barrister's Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Silver plated singing bird box by Griesbaum

Silver Plated singing bird box by Griesbaum
Here is a nice miniature singing bird box for sale on eBay.

From the eBay listing:

The case is completely decorated with flower arrangements and birds in art nouveau style. By moving the bird shaped button, the lid will jump open and a little bird will appear. It will turn from left to right moving its beak and wings and sing a song with a loud and strong voice. After it is finished it will return into the box and the lid will automatically close again. This is a great collectors piece of high quality. Made around 1950 in Germany by Griesbaum. I have had the complete movement cleaned and a new bellow fitted so it is again in perfect working order. The silver plated case measures 10 x 6,5 x 4 cm ( 3.8 x 2.5 x 1.6 inch)

Here's the full listing for this Singing bird box by Griesbaum

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mechanical cigarette dispenser music box

Take a look at this charming mechanical cigarette dispenser music box...

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Place de la Musique - home of mechanical marvels

Check out this news story about a massive collection of music machines, arcade games, and other mechanical marvels.

From The Sanfilippo Foundation web site:
The Sanfilippo "Place de la Musique" is known worldwide for its magnificent collections of beautifully restored antique music machines, phonographs, arcade and gambling machines, chandeliers, art glass, the world's largest restored theatre pipe organ, the most spectacular European salon carousel in existence, street and tower clocks, steam engines and other functional mechanical antiques, displayed within a breathtaking French Second Empire setting.

Learn more at The Sanfilippo Foundation web site.

[ Thanks Joe! ]

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Destkop #51 - portable rolling ball sculpture

Here is a little something mechanical, brass, and hypnotic to start your, yes...rolling.

See more insanely cool contraptions by Matthew Gaulden on his web site

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Muse Descending A Staircase - kinetic sculpture

Here's a fun piece of kinetic sculpture by featuring wooden gears, steps, an electric motor and several ping pong balls.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Levitron - floating top supported by magnets

Levitron cherry wood floating top gizmo
The Levitron top floats in space -- supported only by magnetic waves and the balance imparted by the spinning top. This is the upscale version of the Levitron featuring a cherry wood housing and brass leveling legs. Very nice.

From the product description
Classiest Levitron Anti-Gravity Top - Elegant, wood housing with brass-tone leveling legs. Unique base design amazes onlookers as the high-flying top levitates mysteriously above the opening in the center! Strong magnetic forces hold the top and lifter plate securely in place for easy carrying and storage. A Self-Starter is highly recommended for purchase with Leviton Cherry Wood. Ease in setting the top is essential for not damaging the elegant cherry wood.

Here's the link to the Levitron in cherry wood and brass.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Solar Flier: solar-powered desktop airplane

Solar Flier - Solar-powered desktop airplane
This tiny airplane model is equipped with solar panels built into the wings. When sunlight (or any bright light) shines on the airplane, the solar cells generate electricity to turn the propeller. This causes the little plane to fly in circles around its base.

From the product description:
The Solar Flier makes a perfect gift for anyone who enjoys flight or is curious about the solar power generation process. A dynamic executive or teacher gift, you cannot go wrong with this new great invention from Fascinations.

Here's the link to the Solar Flier, solar-powered desktop model Airplane.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Kuku impenetrable metal ball puzzle(s)

Kuku Impenetrable Metal Ball Puzzle
Imported from the UK, this precision aluminum puzzle is made by the same folks who make the Isis Puzzle. And, like the Isis, it is a puzzle within puzzle. If you manage to open the Kuku, inside you will find a token that can be registered online to play a game -- which itself is a puzzle requiring you to decode a picture clue to come up with a 10 digit code. Should you solve this second puzzle, you are admitted to a special vault area where you will have 5 minutes to explore and perhaps lay claim cash or other prizes. Clever idea.

Here is the link to more info on the Kuku Impenetrable Metal Ball Puzzle.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

K'Nex Motorized Madness Ball Machine

K'Nex Motorized Madness Ball Machine
Consisting of over 2000 pieces (OK...2,004 to be exact), the K'Nex Motorized Madness Ball Machine is a towering ball run contraption for the ambitious builder. A motorized ball lift continuously carries the 5 balls to the top of the tower, where they are dropped to find their way down 3 different ball runs.

From the product description:
The downward spiral sends balls down a dizzying ride to the bottom. The hammer drop transports the balls off the track and onto 2 swiveling elevators, and the funnel drop sends balls on an express ride straight to the bottom.

Appropriate for builders of 9 years and over, Amazon claims you can still order this with their Standard Shipping to get it by December 24th.

Here's the link to the K'Nex Motorized Madness Ball Machine.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

David Knight's watchmaking as miniature sculpture

David Knight's watchmaking as miniature sculpture
David Knight is a watch repairer turned watchmaker. He designs, engraves, crafts every part except for the jewels and springs! He does not use any other mass produced parts, or outsource any of the work to others. His unique, sculptural watches typically take at least 2,000 hours each to make and are priced in the tens of thousands of GBP.

See more images and read some articles on David Knight, maker of sculptural pocket watches.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Verge and Foliot clock escapment in wood

My appreciation and interest in clock mechanisms is growing all the time. Here's a wood version of one of the earliest of all escapements: the verge and foliot.

Wikipedia on the verge escapement:
The verge (or crown wheel) escapement is the earliest known type of mechanical escapement, the mechanism in a mechanical clock that controls its rate by advancing the gear train at regular intervals or 'ticks'. Its origin is unknown. Verge escapements were used from the 14th century until about 1800 in clocks and pocketwatches. The name verge comes from the Latin virga, meaning stick or rod.

Its invention is important in the history of technology, because it made possible the development of all-mechanical clocks. This caused a shift from measuring time by continuous processes, such as the flow of liquid in water clocks, to repetitive, oscillatory processes, such as the swing of pendulums, which had the potential to be more accurate. Oscillating timekeepers are at the heart of every clock today.

Here is a link to Wikipedia's article on the verge escapement.

[ Thanks Steve! ]

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Satyr Head of Mystery - magical mechancial prop

The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Blog has been ups to some really great things this month. Yesterday, they posted about this amazing mechanical prop meant for use by a stage magician. It's wonderful prop, though it seems like it may take some practice to get the hang of it.

From the video description:
Made of strong papier mache, gessoed and painted with leather eyelids and fine glass eyes in the tradition of the Parisian automata makers. Designed to produce one or two items from the mouth and top of the head. The final issue is due to awaken in the Spring of 2010, expressions of interest are invited.

Here is the link to the full post on The Mechanical Blog.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Timberkits - wood automata kits make great gifts

Timberkits - wood automaton kits
It's not to late to get the people in your life the gift of automata for the holidays. One nice option are Timberkits -- all wood automata kits featuring a variety of themes and characters. Shown here is their Penguin Wooden Model. All of their kits come with pre-cut parts that need to be pegged together and glued. You can leave it unfinished or add a personal touch by painting it.

Here is a link to a full range of Timberkits Wood Automata Kits

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Articulated metal figure in bronze and steel

Articulated metal figure in bronze and stainless steel
Shown here is the beautiful human figure titled "Artform No. 1" by artist Mark Ho. The initial model -- bronze and stainless steel, like the one shown here -- was 6 years in the making!

The figure is fully articulated, stands 17 inches high, weighs in at 16 lbs, and is made up of over 500 parts. This is a limited edition run of 25. Each Artform No. 1 figure comes with a clever magnetic base which can be activated and de-activated, allowing you to pose and "freeze" the sculpture into any shape the human form is capable of.

See more animations and photographs of this amazing metal figure at ZOHO ARTFORMS web site.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mechanical sculpture featuring wooden gears

Another excellent mechanical sculpture by Brett Dickins featuring wooden gears and other mechanical parts -- all made from wood!

See more videos of mechanical sculptures by Brett Dickins.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fully automatic electric crossbow

Granted...this is a little off-topic for this blog, but its overwhelming mechanical awesomeness requires me to repost it.

See more amazing crossbow creations on the creator's web site.

[ Found via Hack A Day ]

Labels: , , , , ,

Realistic dachshund clockwork automaton

Made in Paris around 1900 by Roullet & Decamps, this is a life-sized paper-mâché automaton dog. The clockwork mechanism housed inside the dog's body makes it nod its head and open and shut his mouth -- as if panting -- for about 20 minutes.

Visit AutomatomaniA to see more images of this very realistic dachshund automaton.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Birthday of Eli Whitney Jr., Inventor

There is a tribute on the Make Magazine Blog to this American inventor.

From the Make Blog:
"On this day in 1765, Eli Whitney, Jr. was born in Westborough, Massachusetts. Whitney would go on, most famously, to invent the cotton gin, which revolutionized cotton production in the antebellum South. He eventually became the most famous early American proponent of interchangeable parts, and also invented one of the world's first milling machines."

Here's the Make Magazine post about Eli Whitney.

Labels: , , , ,

Le Bureau Automatique automaton by Paul Spooner

Take a look at this clever automaton by famed maker, Paul Spooner, titled Le Bureau Automatique.

Learn more automata-making legend, Paul Spooner, at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 07, 2009

The assorted wood automata of Michel Fleau

The wood automata of Michel Fleau
Check out this wood automaton by Michel Fleau, entitled Mister Bone.

Here is a link to more images and video of automata by Michel Fleau.

[ Thanks Charles! ]

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Large-scale all wood "pocket" watch

Back in March of 2007, I posted about a real wooden pocket watch. The one shown here is also made of wood and also a pocket watch. The big difference is that this one isn't at pocket watch scale. It's actually 10-1/2" in diameter and 3" thick. Even so, this is a stunning demonstration of artistry and craftsmanship.

Some details on the watch:

The escape is a double-roller Swiss Lever with a half-second balance wheel. ...The escape has banking pins and a safety roller, so - like a watch - it runs in any position. You can even shake it or bang it around, and she keeps on ticking!

The balance wheel is in Teflon bushings and the escape wheel is on ball bearings. The pins on the balance wheel have small screws inside to adjust the poise. The cherry pallets are adjustable. The anchor for the "hairspring" (actually a very small clock spring) moves with an adjustment lever to regulate the watch. It keeps perfect time.

Here is a link to see more images of the wooden watch.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The world's smallest remote-control ornithopter

The World's Smallest Da Vinci Ornithopter.
Check out this tiny remote-controlled ornithopter inspired by Da Vinci's drawings. It is about the size of a hummingbird and stays aloft by flapping its little wings 40 times a second.

From the product description:
"Digital proportional flight control enables smooth turns, climbs, and dives with the dual-stick remote. The ornithopter's frame is sturdy, lightweight plastic, with tear-resistant mylar covering the wings and tail. Its rechargeable lithium polymer battery provides seven minutes of flight after a five-minute charge from the controller. For indoor use only."

Here is the link for this miniature remote control ornithopter.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 04, 2009

Colorful mechanical pictures by Kristine Suhr

Colorful mechanical pictures by Kristine Suhr
Back in December of 2007, The Automata / Automaton Blog featured a piece by artist Kristine Suhr. Then, as now, it's worth heading over to her web site to see large images and video of her colorful wall-mounted mechanical pictures. The mechanisms are constructed from birch plywood or MDF plates. The pictures are painted with acrylic paints.

Shown her is a piece entitled Whose turn is it for washing up? Two pull tabs on opposite ends of the painting make the cowboys draw their pistols.

Here is a link to see more mechanical pictures by Kristine Suhr.

[ Thanks philsing! ]

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hanayama O'Gear cast metal brain teaser puzzle

Hanayama O'Gear  cast metal brain teaser puzzle
The object of the O'Gear Cast Brain Teaser Puzzle is to remove the 5-pronged gear from the square box, then replace the gear into box so that gear tooth with hole (not shown here) is inside the box. Rated as a 'medium' level of difficulty.

From the puzzle description
First developed in 19th century Britain, this die-cast zinc cube and key is an ancient puzzle that still baffles minds today. A prizewinner from the 2001 1st Annual World Puzzle Design competition, this puzzle was designed by the young Dutch phenomenon, Oskar, consider to be one of the world's brightest creators. The gear exhibits a unique kind of movement. Once together in its final form of beauty, the gear fixed in place in the cubic box could very well serve as a desk decoration to satisfy a kind of soothing, intellectual curiosity.

Here is a link to the Cast O'Gear Puzzle

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Contest: Make a mechanical vending machine

Contest: Make a mechanical vending machine
The good folks at the The Kugelbahn Blog have announced a competition! The goal is to design and build a coin-operated vending machine that dispenses small German chocolate bars. The deadline for the competition is January 31st, 2010.

Machine Specifications
The apparatus is to be purely mechanical and hand operated. With the input of a 20ct-coin the machine should output one little chocolate bar. The ALDI Moser-Roth chocolate package (found in Germany) contains 50 pieces measuring 5mm x 35mm x 35mm each, which are cheap and stack well (see the picture above). The coin-acceptor unit is to make possible the chocolate output with one 20ct-coin. Other coins with a smaller diameter should fall into the return area.

For all of the competition details visit KugelbahnBlog starts TINKERING COMPETITION for chocolate vending machines.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Flying Couch Potato by Keith Newstead

Here is a piece that Keith Newstead made about 6 years ago. He just had it back in his possession in order motorized it and shot this video. He is a master at creating crazy flying contraptions!

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site.

Labels: , , , ,