I've done short posts in the past about the Engino Toy System. The system uses a variety of cool multi-faceted rods and connectors that are designed to be connected on up to 6 sides at the same time.
Previous posts include educational sets focusing on gears, cams, and linkages. These seemed like good choices because they are indispensable to automata making. The set shown here focuses on pulleys -- another very hand mechanical device for automata making!
From the product description:
Learn how pulleys can be used to transfer force with reduced friction and how to increase force or speed at amazing levels. Build 5 working models including an oil drill, a stationary bike, cranes, bridges and a machine blender.
A 40 page book is included with the set providing experiment ideas and detailed explanations of the different technological principles involved in pulleys.
Here's where you can get Engino Mechanical Science: Pulleys.