Introduction: Automaton Butterfly

In this instructable, I will share how I made a simple automaton butterfly by reusing cardboard box and some skewers. Go way to spend time with your kid during lock down.

An automaton is a self-operating machine or control mechanism designed to automatically follow a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to predetermined instructions.A known exmaple would be mechanical clocks. Automaton is commonly associated with automated puppets that resemble moving humans or animals, built to impress and/or to entertain people. (Wikipedia)

Step 1: What Do We Need ?

  • Cardboard box
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Fevicol or PVA glue
  • Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Sketch pen

Step 2: Butterfly

  • Draw butterfly wing on a piece of cardboard
  • Cut two wings and body of the butterfly
  • To attach the wings and body, I have used paper tape, keeping 1 mm gap between the body and the wings
  • I applied paper tapes on both sides, this works like a hinge
  • Draw / color the wings of the butterfly as desired

Step 3: Box

  • Using a thick cardboard sheet cut
    • 2 pieces of 5" x 2.5"
    • 3 pieces of 3.5" x 2.5"
  • I used 5 ply cardboard sheet , if you do not have this thick cardboard, stick two pieces of the cardboard
  • Using PVA glue or fevicol, glue all walls and partition in place as shown above
  • Leave it to dry for 1 hr
  • Once dried, you will notice that the box may be still wobbly
  • To fix the wobble, I added two right angled triangles at the bottom of the box as shown

Step 4: Gear

  • To make the gear, I cut 2 pieces of a 2" (diameter) circle
  • Glue them together and leave it to dry for 30 minutes
  • Fix a skewer, at an offset from it's center as shown
  • Do not glue the gear yet..

Step 5: Gear Assembly

  • Drill hole on the two sides at a height of 2"
  • Fix a wooden skewer with the gear and glue it in place
  • Adjust the length on the skewer
  • Add a handle on one side and stopper on the other

Step 6: Strings

  • We need 3 pieces of skewers
  • Out of these 2 are static, they keep the wings in place
  • While the body is attached to a longer skewer, the other end is attached to a cardboard piece with some weights on it.
  • Since the wings are made of cardboard, the joints works as a hinge
  • One can actually replace with good hinge mechanism
  • Since the gear is not fixed at it's center, it pushes the body attached on the middle skewers, up.
  • And the weight, pulls the body down, giving the flapping motion of the wings

Step 7: Tips

  • There may be too much friction between the gear and the middle skewer
    • I tried sanding
    • Paper tape
    • Reducing offset from center of the gear
  • The static skewers needs proper hinge

I hope you make one with your kid and play with it..