Raising the dead automata





I've nearly finished this latest automata after a week long session in my studio over the holiday period. My aim was to experiment with gears that would allow different figures to move at faster or slower speeds by using a ratchet (see alst blog) This was actually fairly easy, but it took me a while to get the rest of the movements correct: a coffin lid slowly opening, a corpse sitting up and then falling back down, the witch swaying from side to side and a ghost appearing in the background.


The coffin was the hardest part and then putting all the bits together so they sycnchronised. I tried various versions and took the whole thing apart many times but finally have something that works. There will be a video of the movement later, but for now I'm putting the finshing touches to the figures and background.


Making the coffin work
Below you can see the cam which opens the coffin lid, it took ages to get this right. The cam, operated from the ratchet, slowly turns and pushes the bar down, this in turn pulls a lever which lifts the coffin lid. I've added a curve to the wooden part of the bar because as the cam turns, getting bigger and so applying pressure further from the bars it's axis it started to drop again



Here you can see the mechanism through the coffin, the mechanism above pulls the lever which opens the lid, the weight of which closes it again.




The mechanism from the other side. On the right you can see another cam which will operate the corpse. basically as the cam turns it pushes the wooden bar down, when it gets to the end of the curve the bar drops back into place, allowing the corpse to fall back into the coffin.


 The Witches mechanism
I've split the mechanism into two halves, on the other side of the ratchet mechanism is a cog and crank operating the witch. As the crank turns it moves the witches arms up and down by pulling on the cords.
On the right you can just see another cam which will make the witch sway from side to side. These mechanisms are turned by the handle at the back and like previous sculptures move at the speed the handle is turned.
On the left is another cam, this time operating from the second, slower movement allowing a ghost to sway slowly from side to side.


I've used a number of cams in this automata as they are a simple way of moving something, the diagram below, I hope, explains the basic principle.

The corpse
Now that the mechanism is sorted I can focus on the actual characters, although there will be a few more movements to add as I go. I'll add more detailed shots later, but for now here is the corpse the witch will be rasing from his coffin.


wakey wakey

I'm continuing experimenting wth automata and am now attempting something a bit more complex. I want to create a piece that has a sequence of events rather than just continual repeating actions. The plan is for a witch, standing over a grave, waving her arms while a coffin lid slowly opens and up rises a figure.
Someone suggested using a ratchet, so I decided to experiment.
You can see the results so far, and although it's a bit rough it seems to do what I intended
video

Some of the movements need re working, and the cams which opperate the coffin lid and zombie need changing in size so the lid stays open longer but so far so good.
I made the spiral shaped cam by drawing 2 circles, adding lines every 20 degrees and then marking a point x cm from the centre, each subsequent point slightly further away and then joining them. Not mathematically perfect but works.