Download e-book for iPad: Making Simple Automata by Robert Race

By Robert Race

A very good ebook that explains the way to layout and build small scale, basic mechanical units for fun—perfect for toy makers, woodworkers, crafters, and tinkerers
Designing and making winning automata comprises combining fabrics, mechanisms, and magic. Illustrated with colour photographs all through, this glorious publication explains the six golden principles for making automata along distinctive step by step tasks. Many fabrics are mentioned, together with paper and card, wooden, twine, tinplate, and plastics mechanisms mentioned contain levers and linkages, cranks and cams, wheels, gears, pulleys, springs, ratchets, and pawls. ultimately, there's the magic—an unanalyzable appeal, a powerful fascination in order that the total is greater than the sum of its components.

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Extra resources for Making Simple Automata

Sample text

Clockwise from top left, a wooden version from India; one from Mexico with the box and the snake’s head in wood, but the body of the snake in metal wire, covered with a loosely woven textile tube; one from Kenya in carved and dyed soapstone; a cut-out made from a sheet of printed card. A design using one mechanism can always be adapted. Changes can always be made, but it may not be as simple as it seems at first sight. One little change will probably lead to another … and another … Nevertheless it is a good thing to attempt such changes: you will really 53 have to get to grips with how the design works, and you get a greater understanding of the underlying principles.

An artist’s quick sketch may have more immediacy and vitality than the worked-up canvas. Something similar happens with automata: it’s not necessary to imitate life in all the complexities of its forms and movement. A surprisingly small and simplified movement is all that is needed to 51 make a figure seem to come alive. Nor is it necessary for an automaton to tell a long and complicated story: if you set the scene, and drop a few hints, then the onlookers will be very ready to fill in the details.

Looking at this exercise in respect of the six golden rules, there are some points to note: 1. Doubling up the birds is an experiment. I like the resulting look of Muttering Birds, but how about the way it moves? Operating it by turning a crank handle has a different feel to twiddling a knob. Possibly because each bird tends to mirror the other, the movement seems a little more regular, more stilted. Turning the handle very slowly seems to give a better result, and so does turning it very fast, which gives a manic effect that you could not get by twiddling the knob on Muttering Bird.

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Making Simple Automata by Robert Race

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