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Working with Brass, Part 1 – Cutting Brass – Dug’s Tips 13

February 24, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Various tools for cutting brass rod, tubing, and sheets Brass is a metal that looks good with wood, is easy to work, and can be soldered. You can use it for specific parts or create entire automaton with it! If you are going to use brass, probably the first thing you’ll want to do is cut some. It comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at some of the more common formats and how to cut them. Remember to wear safety glasses when using any of these techniques.

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10 Handy Tricks for Woodworkers & Automaton-makers – Dug’s Tips 12

September 30, 2013 by · 12 Comments 

Tools and materials for a variety of tips and tricks10 Handy Tricks for Woodworkers & Automaton-makers

We’ve focused on techniques in this column up to this point. Now it’s time for some small tips that can make a big difference! Here are some woodworking tricks that I have found useful for automaton-making.
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How to Make a Ratchet Mechanism – Dug’s Tips 11

June 27, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

A simple ratchet made from a few dowels and pieces of  plywoodHow to Make a Ratchet Mechanism

A ratchet can be a very useful mechanism within an automaton. It can be used to keep the handle from being turned the wrong way or to divide the cycle of action into a series of small steps. This is one way to extend the duration of the performance. Let’s make a ratchet that is advanced by one step for every revolution of a crank. Read more

Making Urethane Belts for Automaton Projects – Dug’s Tips 10

March 7, 2013 by · 12 Comments 

Urethane belting material can be used to make belts of just the right size for your projectsMaking Urethane Belts for Automaton Projects

In the last article, we looked at how to make pulleys for automaton projects. We also made belts from O-ring gasket material. Custom-sized belts can also be made from urethane belting material. Joining the ends of this material is one of those jobs that seems to require three or four hands, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s take a look at an easy method that produces a strong welded joint. Read more

Making Pulleys and Belts for Automata – Dug’s Tips 9

October 31, 2012 by · 9 Comments 

Pulleys and belts can be used to change the location, speed, plane, or direction of a rotationMaking Pulleys and Belts for Automata

Pulleys and belts are incredibly useful to the automaton maker. They can transfer power from one axle to another and change the speed, direction or plane of rotation! Check out Cabaret Mechanical Movement for more information about pulleys.

In this article, we will use a simple approach to make a pair of pulleys and make a belt from O-ring gasket material.

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Creating Wooden Joints for Automata Figures – Dug’s Tips 8

June 22, 2012 by · 12 Comments 

A wooden knee joint that only moves on one axis and within a limited range of motionCreating Wooden Joints for Automata Figures

Often an automaton figure without jointed arms and legs will work just fine. But, if you want to create a character pedaling a bicycle, those knees will need to bend! To depict a realistic human motion, it is helpful if the figure�??s joints only bend the way real humans bend. Joints that only move in the correct way give you more options for providing the necessary input motion also. This, in turn, creates a greater range of resulting motions from which to choose. In this article, we will create a basic wooden knee joint that is easy to make and has dozens of uses.
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Building the Boxes for Wood Automata – Dug’s Tips 7

March 15, 2012 by · 9 Comments 

Boxes for automata mechanisms constructed with easy-to-make butt jointsBuilding the Boxes for Wood Automata

There is no rule that says the mechanism for a wood automaton must be contained inside of a box, but the practice does have some advantages. A box makes a sturdy base, provides even surfaces for mounting mechanisms and figures, and can make the construction process easier. While there are dozens of sophisticated woodworking joints, a basic one will do the trick!

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21 Rotary Tool Tips and Tricks for Automata-Makers – Dug’s Tips 6

December 19, 2011 by · 11 Comments 

A basic high-speed rotary tool and an assortment of compatible bits21 Rotary Tool Tips and Tricks for Automata-Makers

The high-speed rotary tool can do the work of dozens of other tools. With the right bits and accessories, this little powerhouse can cut, carve, engrave, drill, grind, sand, brush, and polish a variety of materials! Here are some tips to help automata-makers get the most from a rotary tool. Read more

A Man of Many Faces: a Prototype Wooden Head from Basic Shapes – Dug’s Tips 5

September 13, 2011 by · 8 Comments 

A prototype wooden head for creating different charactersA Man of Many Faces: a Prototype Wooden Head from Basic Shapes
Creating interesting characters is an important part of making a wood automaton because they are often the actors on the mechanically-driven stage. In this article, we will make a generic male head that does not require woodcarving skills or special tools. This head can be modified to create countless different characters for your projects.
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Dug’s Automata Tips, Techniques and Tricks – Tools and References

September 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This is a list of related books, materials and tools which may be helpful when reading articles from our blog series Dug’s Automata Tips, Techniques and Tricks.

Tips & Tricks No. 8 – Joints for Automata Figures

Further Reading
The Human Machine (Dover Anatomy for Artists)
Amazon UKAmazon US

Making and Manipulating Marionettes
Amazon UKAmazon US

Reference Models
Art S. Buck Artist’s Model – Female
Amazon US

Art S. Buck Artist’s Model – Male
Amazon US

Athlete Action Figures – Set of 2
Amazon UKAmazon US

Basswood Sheets 1/4″ x 4″ x 24″ (pack of 10 sheets)
Amazon UKAmazon US

Brads 3/4″ x 15
Amazon UKAmazon US

Coping Saws
Amazon UKAmazon US

Coping saw blades
Amazon UKAmazon US

Scroll Saws
Amazon UKAmazon US

Tips & Tricks No. 7 – Building Boxes

Further Reading
Basic Woodworking by Sunset Books (Out of print, but easy to find and inexpensive)
Amazon UKUS

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery by Gary Rogowski
Amazon UKUS

Tools for Doweling
Dowels Pins

Commercially made dowel pins come in a variety of diameters for joining different thicknesses of wood.
The 1/4? diameter dowels will serve your needs if you are using wood that is at least 1/2″ thick.
Amazon UKUS

Dowel Centres
Dowel centres are little metal caps that go into a set of holes that have been drilled for dowels The dowel centres have points that are used to mark the locations for the dowel holes in a second piece of wood. Sets include pairs of common dowel sizes.
Amazon UKUS

Dowel Centering Jig
This tool clamps to the edge of a board, automatically locating the center. Metal bushings of various sizes aid in drilling holes into the edge of the board.
Amazon UKUS

Corner Clamps or Right Angle Clamps
These specialized clamps hold boards at right angles to each other, making the drilling for through-doweling much easier.
Amazon UKUS

Collar Stops
Collar stops are rings that are temporarily attached to a drill bit. The bit will drill only as deep as the collar permits. This is handy for drilling the faces of board that will be blind-doweled.
Amazon UKUS

Tips & Tricks No. 6 – Rotary Tools

Rotary Tools
Rotary Tools – Amazon UKUS

Rotary Tool Bits
Rotary Tool Carving and Engraving Bit Set – Amazon US

Structured Tooth Tungsten Carbide Carving Bits – Amazon US

Abrasive Brush Set – Amazon UKUS

Diamond-Point Bit Set – Amazon UKUS

Glass Drilling Bit with Cutting Oil – Amazon UKUS

Emery Impregnated Polishing Disc – Amazon US

Rotary Tool Accessories
Right Angle Attachment for Rotary Tool – Amazon UKUS

Flex Shaft Attachment – Amazon UKUS

Rotary Tool Hanger – Amazon UKUS

Abrasive Belt Cleaner – Amazon UKUS

Further Reading
Power Carving Manual: Tools, Techniques, and 16 All-Time Favorite Projects – Amazon UKUS

Instructional DVDs
Frank Russell’s Power Carving Fur, Feathers, & Fins: How to Carve with Foredom Power Tools and Accessories – Amazon UKUS

Tips & Tricks No. 5 – Wooden Heads and faces

Wood Shapes

Hardwood eggs – Woodworks – UK, US
3/8 inch dowels – Amazon UK, US
Assorted wooden stars – Amazon UK, US

Hobby saws

Razor Saw – Amazon UK, US
Hobby saw miter box – Amazon UK, US
Pin vise set – Amazon UK, US

Further Reading

The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression – Amazon UK, US
Cartooning the Head and Figure – Amazon UK, US
Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists – Amazon UK, US

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