This is currently a work in progress. The kit is based on a pegboard which was designed by The Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio to accept Lego pieces. We don’t currently plan to include Lego in our kit but if you have some already it should fit. We have sent out the first prototype to the people taking part in our online workshop as well as a few other makers. The response has been encouraging and we are incorporating the feedback.
Below are the videos and text we’ve been posting on Instagram as we’ve refined the design – starting with linkages.
This is our first, very rough, test of a possible new product for experimenting with mechanisms. The pegboard idea came from The Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio as a design intended for use with Lego. We started a non-Lego version by trying the 3-bar linkage from our book using lolly sticks, o-rings, washers, dowel, foam, etc! See pages 70-71 of the second edition (or 73-74 of 1st). The yellow point is approximating a straight line and the orange point is tracing an ellipse.
Following on from our previous post, this is a crank-slider mechanism using parts from a #tinkering tool we plan to release in time for some yet to be determined event 😀 but if you want notice of its existence you can sign up to our new mail list.
Demonstrating different cam shapes using parts from a tinkering tool we plan to release sooner rather than later. The red line is an approximation of the path of the black dot which was made by motion tracking a point near the right-hand end of the top linkage. The idea being to give and indication of the differences over time, as opposed to the easier to see, up and down movement of the cam follower.
No more clamps! We added feet and next tried a bell crank. The kit is not ready to buy yet but if you want notice of its existence you can sign up to our new makers’ mail list) Stay tuned for the ratchet, intermittently 😃
From continuous motion to intermittent motion using a ratchet. The bell crank from the previous video is converting the up and down motion into a side to side movement that pushes the ratchet around. There isn’t really any backlash on the ratchet but if there was the pawl / detent at the bottom would stop that movement. We’ve used a little elastic band to keep it pressed against the ratchet. Dealing with the fixed pivot points of the pegboard meant that this took a bit of trial and error to get working.
This is our first lashed-together cardboard try out of the top ‘stage’ / platform piece. Also introducing gearing with pulleys and a rubber band, then, keep watching for actual gear wheels. We’re still refining the axle pegs for smoother running under load but we’ve covered enough mechanisms for the first iteration.
The Automata Tinkering Kit comes with two pulleys but you’ll need to assemble them yourself. The video above shows how to do it.
The start of the video will help you identify the parts; two outer and one inner piece for each of the two pulleys. Check the drying time on your glue. They should be ok to use after an hour or two but preferably leave them to dry overnight.
Using too much glue will make them more likely to slip out of alignment while drying as well as giving you more to clean up.