Automaton Driving Leds and an Office Employee




I made my first "automata" in the last couple of weeks. Because it was my first try to make something like this, I needed all my attention to the making, not leaving any space for documenting the process. So, I ended up with a working automaton, but not enough material to make an Instructable of.

However, I got some pictures and a video. And a list of do's and don'ts. So here you go...

  • Sketch and draw the design before making it. Try to have a picture as clear as possible of the automaton you want to make, before starting to build it.
  • Start with the mechanics underneath the figure. The moving parts are the hardest to make. Get those right first, before proceeding with the rest of the scene.
  • Be precise, have patience and DON'T PANIC.
    I remade almost *all* of the moving parts at least one time, just because things worked out differently than I expected. The first time that happened annoyed me, to put it mildly. But gradually I learned to accept to remake parts as a part of "I'm-making-an-automaton-and-remaking-parts-is-something-I-just-have-to-do-to-get-to-the-result"
  • Adapt the sizes / measures of parts while building. Although I made sketches / drawings beforehenad of what I wanted to make, I decided on the size of parts while building the automaton, comparing new parts to ecisting oparts to determine the size. I hardly used a ruler or caliper.

  • Do not use cardboard for supporting movings parts, or for parts which measures are critical. Cardboard has a tendency to bend and deform, especially when painted. Computer Hans is made of cardboard, which I regretted in the end.
  • Don't try to figure out the exact measures of parts beforehand. It will turn out differently anyway :-s.

Links, if you (like me) want to bang your head against a wall out of sheer frustration, or if you're just looking for inspiration from the experts...
- The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, home of a whole people of automata-builders...
- Website of Keith Newstead, a miraculous automata-builder
- Website of Kazu Harada, wonderful and minimalistic automata's
- The uncrowned King of everything that is beautiful...


Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Be the First to Share


    • Fashion Contest

      Fashion Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Hot Glue Speed Challenge

      Hot Glue Speed Challenge

    11 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Well, that's why I made this a slideshow, and not an I'ble... I don't have pictures of that, and the head can't be removed without destroying the whole mechanism :-)

    The movement of the head is driven by the "shoulder", that is, the axis around which the arms are turning. It's hard for me to explain it in language (even in Dutch, in English it's impossible to me). I made a sketch before I started making it, so I'll post it here. But not now, because my car needs some new tires. Be right back :-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmmm, I hope this picture helps :-D

    Look for the phrase "Nokje A". It is mentioned twice on the page, with the head and with the arm/shoulder.

    Now, tell me honestly, did this answer your question? ;-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The sketch is included in the slideshow too, now.