Introduction: Simple and Cute Octopus Automata

Cardboard Automata are a playful way to explore simple machine elements such as cams, levers, and linkages, while creating a mechanical sculpture.

To make an Octopus Automata, you will need:

1. Cardboard

2. Dowels

3. Skewer

4. Pencil

5. Thermocol ball

6. Pipecleaners

7. Googly eyes

8. Glue

9. Scissor

10. Circle cutter

All the above mentioned materials are present in a classroom, so its an easy STEAM activity

Step 1: Make a Frame

1.Take a square cardboard of approx 20 cm x 20 cm or larger.

2. Cut four squares of 10 cm x 10 cm as shown.

3. Make a square box or a frame for automata by joining all four square using a glue.

4. Apply a white sheet of 10 cm x 10 cm on one side of frame.

Step 2: Make the Cams

1. Using a circle cutter, cut a circle of diameter 5 cm.

2. Cut 3 such circles and glue together to make a cam.

3. Make 2 such cams (so you will need 6 circles)

Step 3: Poke Holes on Three Sides of Frame

1. Poke one hole on top of the frame covered with white sheet. You can use a skewer and tip of pencil to poke hole.

2.Insert a piece of straw on top of hole.

3.Now poke hole on two sides of frame. Hole should be poked a slight below the center point.

Step 4: Insert a Cam and a Cam Follower

1. Use a dowel as a lever(axle) and insert on one side of frame and attach a dowel. You can glue the cam if needed.

2. Insert a half dowel from top of the frame and attach a cam follower. You can glue the cam follower if needed.

3. Test the motion by rotating the lever (axle).

Step 5: Make the Sculpture

You can make any sculpture of your wish that you want to rotate. I have made an octopus as my daughter likes it and i have made for her. To make an octopus

1. First take a thermocol ball

2. Color it.

3. Cut pipe-cleaners and give it a shape of legs.

4. Paste googly eyes or draw as per your wish and make a hole at the bottom.

Step 6: Attach the Sculpture and Handle

1. Glue the octopus on top of the dowel.

2. Make a handle by inserting a piece of skewer in one circular cut cardboard.

3. Glue the handle on one side of axle.

Step 7: Explanation of Concept

An automata is a playful and inventive way to explore simple machine elements like cam, lever, linkages etc

The spinning element that you turn with a handle is called a cam.

The cam is attached with a lever.

The element that sits on the top of cam is called a cam follower.

When the handle is moved the force applied is transferred from cam to cam follower and at last to the object that we wish to move.

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