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Living in San Francisco, I am surrounded by super cool sites of technological and cultural history. One of these sites is the amazing Musée Méchanique on Pier 45 of the Embarcadero. The museum houses all kinds of mechanical relics from the turn of the century which reminds us of a time when the novelty of the arcade experience was cutting edge. Being a lover of machines, technology, history, and animation I was immediately interested in the Mutoscope in the museum when I found it!

The principle of the Mutoscope is very much like a flipbook. It is a series of animation cells that are hung from a mechanical spindle that advances the frames when someone cranks the handle, thus creating the illusion of motion.

Wanting to combine my loves of motion, nature, videography, photography, printing and fabrication - the mutoscope seemed like the best way to celebrate this skillset! The Dell Precision M3800 and it's Intel® Core™ i7 processor, was critical in making this project, as it allowed me to quickly capture and edit footage in the field, move to the lab for parts design, and print all the beautiful animation cells all from one computer.

Follow my journey in turning a movie into a mutoscope in the steps below!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Here is a comprehensive list of materials used for this project.


Materials & Tools used for Photographing and Capturing Video:

Materials & Tools used for Printing Photographs and Designing Parts:

Materials & Tools used for assembling Mutoscope & Enclosure:

  • Epilog 125W Laser
  • 3/16" Plywood
  • 1/16" Acrylic
  • Wood Glue
  • Acrylic Solvent Cement
  • Hot Glue and Hot Glue Gun
  • Zots Adhesive Dots
  • Brads/Brad Nailer
  • Bone Folder
  • 1/2" Threaded Rod, cut down from 3' to size
  • 4x 1/2" Nuts
  • Threaded 1/2" Crank
<p>Wow! way cooler than the one I made awhile ago!</p>
Wow that's so great I wish I could do that ??
<p>Fun build! Not so sure I'd need a high end laptop to build this though - feels a bit more like a Dell/Intel advertisement... Perhaps because it is total product placement...? I am sure the artwork is spectacular.</p><p>If you want to see a few original mutoscopes still in working order, take a run to Disneyland and visit the penny arcade! Giant drums on those machines!</p>
<p>I am betting this is better in person. </p>
<p>That is absolutely perfect!! I want to make one. Itsso crazy how sometimes we get disconnected from our foundations. Great to see you bring it back into light.</p><p>Thanks ! J</p>
<p>drool.... have to make one of these someday!</p>
<p>this is outstanding !!!!! you did such a wonderful job at this !!!</p><p>keep up the good work</p>
<p>This is so cool!</p>
<p>Nice project. I made a split-flap once which is something similar but is electronically controlled to be rotated to a particular frame, so not for animations. But still very similar in mechanism.</p><p>In the video, the animation isn't visible. I think it's because of the different frame rate of your Mutoscope and camera. A frame-by-frame GIF will really showcase this project well. Thanks for sharing such a cool build!</p>
<p>Wow- that is awesome!!</p>
<p>I love these things! Super cool job :)</p>
<p>Excellent project but I think the video doesn't do it justice. If you make time to redo it, include some closer views to really show off the details. The quality of the construction is inspiring! A huge thanks for sharing the project!</p>
<p>I loved the way you captured the butterfly shadow! This project would be so much fun to make. Thanks for sharing and do have a great week~</p><p>sunshiine~</p>
thank you for your sharing!
<p>I am totally smiling. This belongs in a gallery! ( with a sign that says &quot;please touch&quot; ) </p><p>Maybe a science museum! </p><p>Great instructable. thanks.</p>
<p>Wow. That is an interesting build! Thanks for sharing</p>
<p>Wow! Awesome instructable, thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>Thanks! It's the most ambitious project I had taken on in a while, but I was really happy with how it came out!</p>

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Bio: I'm an Instructables success story! After relying on the site to DIY my way through art school, I was able to join the Instructables ... More »
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