Introduction: Shark Attack Automata- Zoe Baumann

This Automata is made to look like two hands and a shark fin bobbing up and down in the ocean.


-eighth inch cardboard

-plastic straw (at least 4 inches)

-two skewers

-construction paper

-silicon glue (or other adhesive)

-painter's tape

-scotch tape

Step 1: Cutting Out Base

From your cardboard sheet, cut out two 4x6.25in rectangles and two 4x3.25in rectangles.

Step 2: Sanding

If using scissors, the edges will be rough; sand down the sides, but not too much as to disrupt the measurements.

Step 3: Poking a Hole in the Sides

Measure out the center on each of the 4x3.25in pieces of cardboard. Then poke a hole in the center with your scissors. The width should be about the size of a skewer; test by poking a skewer through the hole and make sure it can twist smoothly.

Step 4: Poke More Holes

Similarly to the last step, you are again poking holes. This time, take ONLY ONE of the 6.25x4in pieces of cardboard and find the center. Then, dividing it mentally into two squares, find the center of those as to have 3 evenly spaced holes. To poke them, use scissors, but do not make them too large. Once your scissor has poked through, stick the straw into each hole to make sure it can fit, but not move at all.

Step 5: Glue Together Box

Take one of the 3.25x4in pieces of cardboard and line the 4in side up to one of the 4x6.25in pieces at a right angle. Glue together with whatever adhesive you have, if hot glue, dispense right from the gun, but if there is no dispenser, just use a toothpick. Leave to dry for however long the adhesive says in a supported position.

Next, connect the other 3.25x4in piece to the other end of the 4x6.25in piece by lining up each of the 4in sides. Make sure the adhesive can dry before laying the last 4x6.25in piece over the top of the box. If the box feels flimsy, just add more adhesive. The finished box should look like the shape in the next step.

Step 6: Poke the Skewer Through

Poke one of the skewers through each of the holes on the 3.25x4in pieces, it should be flat and easily twistable if everything was done right.

Step 7: Cut Up the Straw

Now taking the straw, cut it into three 1.25in sections. Since the holes on the top were fit to this straw's size, they should fit snuggly, if not, add adhesive so they don't move.

Take each of the pieces and stick them in each hole on the top of the box, make it so that an equal amount of the straw sticks out on each side of the cardboard.

Step 8: Making the Cams

Put your box aside.

Going back to the cardboard, cut out three pear-shaped pieces with a height of 2in ad a width of 1.25in. You only have to measure out one, because you can use the first piece as a stencil for the other two.

Poke a hole into the center of the pear, however, make sure it is skewed to the more rounded side of the shape. Again, use the first piece as a stencil for the other two. The hole should only be big enough for the skewer to snuggly fit in, if it is too big, add adhesive so the piece cannot spin on the skewer.

Step 9: Add Tape to Cams

Take each pear and wrap at least three layers of painter's tape over the edge to increase the width. You can add more, but make sure the surface of the tape is smooth and sturdy. To keep it in place, you can add little pieces attached to the cardboard as shown in the picture.

Step 10: Put Cams on Skewer

Stick a skewer through each of the holes and evenly space them.

If you want each of the pieces (hands and fin) to bob at the same time, place each of the pears in the same direction, if you want it to be more random, tilt them in different directions.

Step 11: Add Axel to Box

Put skewer back into the box as shown before, it should still be easily twistable.

Make sure each of the cams line up to one of the holes above it, if not, just shift them so they are each right underneath.

Step 12: Make the Puppets

Take the second skewer and cut it into three 2.5in pieces. Now, cut four 2in tall hands out of yellow construction paper (or color whatever color you want). The first hand should be used as the stencil for the rest. Then cut out two 1.5in tall fins (use the stencil method).

For the fin, take one of the cut skewers and tape the paper cutouts on each side. Make sure there is at least a 1.5in gap left of the skewer on the bottom. Do the same for the hands.

Step 13: Waves

Cut out two 6.25x2in pieces of blue construction paper in a wave pattern. Then, make a little 0.25in fold on the bottom. With that fold, adhere it to the from and back of the top of the box (as shown in the last picture).

Step 14: Put in Puppets

Lastly, place each of the puppets into the holes of the straws. Make sure the hands are together so they look like a person bobbing up and down. If everything is lined up, the automata should mimic a shark attack!