I spotted this Rastafarian automaton, made by Keith Newstead, on page 2 of an old Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's newsletter. You can see it here https://cabaret.co.uk/pdfs/news8.pdf
Sadly, there are no photos or videos of it on the web.
I'm intrigued by the quirky mechanism. It's different from most of Keiths automata of that period. He's gone to a lot of trouble to make a worm drive and an offset horizontal gear. It appears the horizontal gear has a rod attached to it, which passes through a hole in the top of the mechanism box and is attached to the body of the character. If I'm correct, that would make the Rastafarians body gyrate which is very unusual to say the least!
I used my animation software, Moho, to make the video of how I think it works. Unfortunately, I don't have the skills to make the tiny toothed brass gears and worm drive, so I can't make a copy.
If anyone has seen one working or has one for sale please contact me.
This is the head which I designed and carved this weekend. The character is called Sk8er Dude. He's an IT nerd and social media influencer. He's camped out at Loch Ness to try to spot Nessie. Unfortunately his phone keeps pinging with tex messages, Facebook notifications, etc. Inevitably, as soon as he looks down to read his phone, Nessie rears up from the loch, waves and does goofy things before diving back down into the deep.
The head is about 2 inches tall and carved from basswood. I left the 'handle' attached so I have something to hold and keep my hand well away from the Stanley knife which I carved 95% of this with. I strop the Stanley knife frequently which keeps it super sharp. I was able to use it because the figure is so small and predominantly convex.
It's a different style to my normal one. It's based on a simple geometric shape - a funnel with a baseball hat on! I decided to try this because many famous automata are very simply carved and because I may need to write a series of articles on wood carving for beginners. These will appear in future editions of Automata Magazine.
The drawing below is to scale. The grid is 1-inch. feel free to have a go at trying to carve it yourself. Let me know if you'd like me to write a 'how to' to explain how I went about carving it.
I'll post further pictures of this project as work progresses.
Here's a way to make a knee (or elbow) joint using a couple of screw eyes and a brass Chicago screw.
It's quite a bit quicker to make than a traditional mortise and tenon joint. I could have used a nut and bolt instead of the of the Chicago screw, but I think this looks a bit nicer.
Local pebbles for my automata
I make whimsical wooden automata