New Automata

As it's been positively autumnal today I've spent the entire day on the new automata. The aim is to learn some new skills and work out how to use more types of mechanism. The automata will be loosely based on my last sculpture of a steampunk wheelchair but will no doubt change as I try at new ways of making the thing work,

Today I've built a basic frame and a mechanism to make the wheels turn. I was admiring the work of Keith Newstead who often makes all the movements originate from the wheels which are on rollers (check this video out). This seemed like a good idea and a fun challenge. My main problem was creating a smooth action where the wheels meet the rollers, if this isn't ok then the whole thing fails. I tried various wooden wheels but it quickly became clear that my cutting skills were not accurate enough; cutting a perfect circle is really hard, ask Giotto and he only had to draw one!
So I opted for using plastic bits I had in my junk box. I think they actually look better than the wooden ones anyway, you can see both versions in the photo. The rollers are covered in a piece of soft textured foam for traction.

Once this was worked out I cut a basic frame and base onto which everything else can go. The next problem is how to make the wheel movement operate the engine. I had planned to use an elastic drive from the wheel shaft to the next mechanism, but this just doesn't seem to have enough traction. So it will need a cog or crank on the wheel shaft. That is a problem for another day.


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