Introduction: Automata Project


1 shoebox

1 roll of duct tape (scotch tape will also work)

2 76.2 cm (30 in) long wooden dowels, .6 cm (.5 in) diameter

1 pair of scissors

1 pair of clippers

1 8.5 x 11 in sheet of printer paper (any color will do)

1 1.8 cm x 1.8 cm x 7.7 cm block of wood

1 power drill

1 7/32 inch drillbit

1 19/64 inch drillbit

1 straw

extra cardboard

paint + paintbrushes (optional)

Step 1: Moving Parts

cut out four circles that are about 6cm in diameter. cut out two more shapes that are no larger than 6cm x 6cm.


paint the four circles black on both sides. on the two other shapes, make a unique design on each side with paint.

Step 2: Make a Background (optional)

using paint, make a pattern on a piece of printer paper.

Step 3: Paint the Shoebox (optional)

Paint the shoebox entirely black.

Step 4: Drill

for two of the black circles: drill a hole using the 7/32 inch drillbit in the center of the circle. for the other two circles, drill a hole of the same size 2cm from the edge of the circle. when drilling make sure to press down a scrap piece of cardboard on top of the circle to safely ensure it stays in place.

Step 5:

on the shorter sides of the shoebox, measure 5.1 cm from the side and 8cm from the bottom. drill a hole there using a 7/32 inch drillbit.

Step 6: Drill Again

fold the attached lid of the shoebox over the side. tape the lid and the side together using duct tape. then, measure 10.5 cm from the left and right edges, and 5.1 cm from the front edge. drill using the 19/64 inch drillbit in these two locations. make sure it goes through the lid and the side of the box.

Step 7: Straws

cut two 3cm lengths of a straw. place them in the holes you drilled in the previous step.

Step 8: Handle

cut a length of dowel that is 10cm longer than the shoebox. cut another piece that is 10cm. drill 2 holes on opposite ends of the wooden block using the 7/32 inch drillbit. glue one piece of dowel into each hole. wait for the glue to dry.

Step 9: Insert Handle

once the handle is dry, insert it into the hole that was drilled on the right small side of the shoebox. then, slide the off-center circles onto it as shown in the picture. then, slide the end of the handle through the final hole on the left small side of the shoebox.

Step 10: Add Background

Tape the background to the lid of the box, facing you.

Step 11: Final Step

cut two 10cm long pieces of dowel. slide the two extra cardboard shapes onto the top of the dowels. put these through the straw holes cut in the top of the box. then, slide each of the two centered circles onto the dowels. the centered circles and off-center circles should be offset, as shown in the picture. rotate the handle and the pieces at the top should rotate as well!