Introduction: The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar Automata

Picture of The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar Automata

Here I will show you how to create a cardboard automata of a moving caterpillar and a circling flower. This automata will work by using cams and pushrods.

Step 1: Gather the Materials Necessary

  • 8 green straws
  • Duct tape
  • Medium sized cardboard box
  • One sheet of cardboard
  • 1 foot square of hard styrofoam
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Glue stick
  • Colored cloth (1 foot by 6 inches)

Step 2: Gather the Tools Necessary

  • Scissor
  • Box cutter
  • Hot glue gun
  • Large pick
  • Needle and thread

Step 3: Build the Cams

Picture of Build the Cams

Use the shape of the tape rolls to trace four circles at the edge of the piece of cardboard. Next, use the scissors to cut the circles out.

Once there are four circles cut out of the cardboard, use the pick to create offcentered holes on three of them, and a centered one on the last one.

Step 4: Build the Axle

Picture of Build the Axle

The cams have to be attached to an axle in order for them to be moved remotely. In order to create an axle, cut the bends of the four stars of until you have four straight plastic tubes. Cave in one end of each straw, and then fit those parts into the open ends of the other straw, creating one large plastic tube.

Step 5: Fit the Cams on the Axle

Picture of Fit the Cams on the Axle

Slide the cams onto the axle such that the three off centered ones are next to each other and the fourth centered one is farther away. Make sure the three off centered cams have their holes at different altitudes on the circles. Also, ensure that the cams are spaced out well for the caterpillar (the three offcentered cams) and the flower (the centered cam).

Step 6: Build the Frame

Picture of Build the Frame

Use the box cutter to take the top of the medium sized cardboard box off. If the box has some cuts or holes, cover them with duct tape. Next, use the pick to create holes on two opposite sides of the box for the axle to go through. Once you have done that, put the axle with the cams on it into the box and through the holes.

Step 7: Construct a Top

Picture of Construct a Top

Use a piece of cardboard to build a top for the box. The top will hold the push rods that hold the caterpillar and flower. This top can be made from a large piece of cardboard that stretches across the area that has the axle under it. Once the top has been constructed, use the pick to create holes above the cams. After the holes have been created, take the other four green straws and cut them so that only the straight part is remaining.

Step 8: Build a Base for the Push Rod

Picture of Build a Base for the Push Rod

Use the scissors to cut a 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch square of hard styrofoam for each of the four bases. Then, use hot glue to glue the bottom of the straw to the middle of the styrofoam square.

Step 9: Put in the Push Rods

Picture of Put in the Push Rods

Cave in the top of the straws and then push them through the holes in the tops of the top. Make sure the holes are big enough for the straw to move smoothly.

Step 10: Stabilize the Push Rods

Picture of Stabilize the Push Rods

Then, cut one inch by one inch of hard styrofoam and put that on the straw above the top. That will stabilize the straws so that they only move vertically and not horizontally.

Step 11: Create the Caterpillar

Cut three more cardboard circles out of cardboard sheet, and then glue (using hot glue) those circles vertically on top of the push rods meant to hold the caterpillar.

Step 12: Create the Flower

Cut one cardboard circle and many petals out of the cardboard. Glue the pushrod (using hot glue) to the back of the circle, and then glue the petals onto the circle.

Step 13: Decorate the Automata

Glue any colored paper all over the cardboard box and on the top to cover up the brown and add aesthetic appeal. Then, glue the paper over the flower and the front and back end of the caterpillar. Use the cloth to create a cylinder around the caterpillar, creating its body. Use the needle and some thread to close the cylinder, and make sure that you do not make the cylinder too tight, as that would restrict movement. You can also use sparkles or other decorations to add appeal to your automata!

Step 14: Enjoy!

Enjoy your automata! Show everyone how it works and try to make more yourself!

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