Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas model

Ello ello!

I have been keeping a low profile recently as I haven't been getting to my workshop as often as I would like (Mainly because it's so cold!). But, I am on annual leave this week and have therefore been pressing ahead with my model for Christmas. Check out the pics:

I started using tracing paper to work out the dimensions of the models ( I saw from his blog that Keith Newstead does this on his models). It worked out well and I was able to keep the design symmetrical. It didn't turn out symmetrical after carving but it's pretty close. Now all I have to do is make the frame (nearly done) and work out the design of the cam to make the movement. I also have to paint the chimney.

After struggling to use my green belting for pulleys, I put out a message on the Mechanical Adventures Facebook Group. I had a reply from a chap called Tony Compton (I think he's from Australia) and he informed me of the correct method. After doing this I managed to get the ends connected. Here is a model that Tony made. I personally think it's excellent.

Having the green belt will allow me to work on the pulleys for the Turtle and the Hand and also my Christmas model. I want a pulley system to slow things down. 

I haven't finished the design for my friend Zuleika yet and her commission. I'll get right on it after I finish the Christmas model.

My Crankaheads model is also coming along. The guy who is running the competition (Sergio Pinese) is asking for updates from people taking part. I'm not sure how much to tell him or not to tell him. I'll send him a picture of the prototype and give a little detail. I kind of want to make it a surprise though.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

New project

My good friend Zuleika has asked me to do a commission as a present for her Mother's birthday. The brief is her Mum likes dogs and beach huts. I'll get my thinking cap on. 

The crankahead model is coming along nicely. Time is creeping up so I'll have to get a move on with it as it is still in the prototype stage. I need it to be complete by the end of January. 

My Christmas themed model is taking priority so I can sell it before the big day. It's going to be of Santa stuff in a chimney, struggling to pull himself out. 

Onward and upward I say.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Things on hold

Once again my habit if getting bored easily has risen so I have decided to put the Turtle and the Hand on hold for a while and concentrate on other things. 

The thing which really did it for me this time was trying to strengthen the whole frame. Screws didn't really work as I couldn't get them tight enough to securely hold the individual pieces in place. I then tried using dowel rod as pins (which meant I could easily take it apart whilst designing) but my measurements were off slightly which meant other parts didn't fit. 

I'm gonna put in on the back-burner for a while and probably come back to it in the new year. My colleagues at work have suggested I try and make something for Christmas so I think I'll concentrate on that. 

There's also that tin can model to work on but that can wait...

Hopefully I'll have a more productive blog post in the future.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


I haven't really been doing much apart from working on the model for the Crankahead competition. The model is coming along nicely and the mechanism within the figure is set. I just need to work on everything else now. I have a prototype stage in which I can start adding things to check how everything works. The email I received states that over 30 people have entered the competition so I think it's going to be quite interesting to see what comes out of it. Professional automata makers are also entering so I don't think I'll win, but it'll be nice to have a model placed next to theirs (so to speak). 

I received the material for the pulley belts.

 I was initially concerned about the black rubber and how it would hold together if I superglued the ends but the bond is really strong with regular superglue. I put considerable pressure on it trying to pull it apart and it would not break. I wonder how much grip it has though. The green belt has a rough surface which would give it more grip but superglue would not work. From a facebook group in which Keith Newstead talks about it, he says it is melted, so I would need to try and use a heat source. I will try this when I get back to my workshop. 

Not a lot else happening. I have been experimenting with a scissor lift set-up, just using Popsicle sticks for the moment. It works well but I need to think about how to transmit the movement to it. 

There is also not a lot happening with my tin can model. I got as far as cutting out a chicken but no further in working out the movement. 

On a happy note, I sold my pumpkin headed automata on eBay. It sold for £22 which is double what I thought it would go for so I am pleased with that. I hope the person who bought it is happy with it and that it arrives safely.