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tom in nh
12-30-2012, 04:34 PM
I always like to try to put a smile / amusement on a person's face whenever I can. Nothing wrong with trying to captivate their attention, especially children, for a moment. Get their gears to turn, so to speak.
But I prefer to do it via mechanical means. I have a small collection of noisemakers - mechanical horns, an old mechanical doorbell, steam whistles, etc. that I use when I have small visitors to my shop. This usually lasts about a whole five minutes. Hopefully they carry a lifetime of some memory with them.

It would be neat to have a somewhat complex mechanical, but pocket sized "toy", for when I am at the checkout line at the market, etc. ("Hey cashier, watch this while I dig out some coins from my other pocket") Although, I could do without the excess noise at this time.

I would prefer it to be of all metal construction (durability / pass on to future grand kids, etc).
Something that could be wound up and run under its own power for a bit. Cams and springs, oh my! <grin>.
Criteria (so far):
~ metal construction
~ complex, has to have movement - the more the better
~ permanent home in my front pants pocket - get your mind outta the gutter!

One item that pops in my head occasionally - I was at a museum many years ago and saw a musical cigar box. Correct details are a bit sketchy, but the gist are as follows:
Shaped like an octagonal carousel. When the curator wound it up, this device played beautiful rich music, meanwhile eight doors slowly and smoothly moved outwards, while sliding open sideways, then the eight hidden cigars were gracefully elevated upwards towards the lucky fellow(s) who were offered a stogie. My guess as to age could be about a century old. But I never forgot the craftsmanship of this piece. Several hundred (if not thousands) of hours in its construction.
I have always had an interest in automata - but the plans for the complex are just about non existant.
There are many simple plans for wood / other media models - some are nice, some are crude - but they do not meet the size and durability requirement.
Ideas anyone?
Thanks a bunch,
Tom

The Artful Bodger
12-30-2012, 07:00 PM
Gyroscope?

Tony Ennis
12-30-2012, 07:33 PM
Irregular gears? Geneva wheel? Adding machine?

tom in nh
12-30-2012, 07:44 PM
Gyroscope?


Too much of a bulge in my pants....jeez that sounds dirty.

tom in nh
12-30-2012, 07:46 PM
Irregular gears? Geneva wheel? Adding machine?


That is a bit on the simple side Tony. Think unique, odd, worthy of a family heirloom.

Toolguy
12-30-2012, 08:05 PM
There may not be anything like that available. You may have to invent your own. That would certainly be a project worthy of a skilled craftsman!:)

Tony Ennis
12-30-2012, 08:11 PM
Then here you go: Antikythera mechanism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eUibFQKJqI

Weston Bye
12-30-2012, 08:12 PM
Funny that you should mention automata. I am beginning a series on automata and automatons in Digital Machinist magazine. The first installment will appear in the Spring 2013 issue. My plan is for a series of individual projects of increasing complexity. No plans at this point for a pocket-sized project, but now you have me thinking...

Weston Bye
12-30-2012, 08:29 PM
Look at this one:
http://hackedgadgets.com/2009/06/01/inside-a-mechanical-singing-bird-box/
Not too complex if you are a master watchmaker.

tom in nh
12-30-2012, 10:20 PM
Tony - that is interesting, however a child may find it a bit dry.
Weston, I like that bird - but am not a watchmaker - am certainly not a master of anything. Maybe if I spent the rest of my life in isolation I would attempt a pocket sized version of it <grin>.
Keep the ideas coming please.

winchman
12-31-2012, 05:52 AM
Maybe too simple, but it might work on a checkout counter that's got a slight incline.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/winchman/Hexasphericon/th_MVI_0005.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/winchman/Hexasphericon/MVI_0005.mp4)

This does the same thing.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/winchman/Hexasphericon/Sphericon_2.jpg

Add hinges and a spring to eliminate the bulge in the pants.

johnnyd
12-31-2012, 07:28 AM
Don't worry,...the "bulge" goes away by itself as you get older. :(

Getting back to the subject matter.....
How about a pocket sundial hidden inside a pocket watch ?

alanganes
12-31-2012, 07:46 AM
While it would not be an automaton, you could make some interesting variation of the Pocket Stonehenge! (http://www.dailyfinance.com/2008/04/01/stonehenge-pocket-watch-20-off-at-thinkgeek/)

RLWP
12-31-2012, 08:06 AM
That cigar box sounds like the 'thing' at the beginning of the children's programme 'Camberwick Green'

There's a youtube video of it at about 45 seconds here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWNR-08Ff0w

Richard

darryl
12-31-2012, 08:49 AM
First thing that occurred to me was to build a mechanical amplifier. It would amplify a small change driven by temperature. Since a bimetal strip can have a fair amount of force, it could drive through multiple levers to move a display of some kind- possibly a rotating disc.

I see it as having a metal body and parts, with a glass window to show the innards. The rotating disc would have small pictures on it. At one end of the arc there would be someone dressed in a parka. The clothes are gradually shed until at the other end is a nude. You would set it up such that you would need slightly more than body temperature to show the nude.

Having suggested something sort of retro-looking such as this, I'm now recalling that there were lots of oddball gadgets that did funny things way back when. Maybe with the right search term some of these will show up. Might give other ideas.

darryl
12-31-2012, 09:00 AM
Ok, I just looked up retro gadgets. What a pile of junk. I did think of something useful though- a hand powered heater. It would have to have no visible means of actuating it. Somehow it would take a sustained powerful grip and turn that into heat- a lock de-icer.

How about a benign-looking pocket sized case that you can set to jump after 20 seconds or so. Set it down on the counter while you fumble for change- or just casually hand it to someone.

Weston Bye
12-31-2012, 09:13 AM
Darryl's mention of heat led me to think of a little stirling engine, encased in a sealed clear plastic or metal and glass container the size of a deck of cards. Motive power would come from the temperature differential between one of the flat sides and the other, using the heat from the palm of the hand, only about 30 degrees difference between skin temperature and surrounding air.

I've seen such devices at NAMES, just not so small.

RussZHC
12-31-2012, 11:21 AM
The criteria are confounding me...not unusual though.
I can think of some simple toys w spring mechanisms like the "clapping monkey" but those are not really pocket size but some of the plain walking ones were quite tiny. I can think of a one basic pocket size game w some variations like those "bb ball" games where you try in put it in the eyes/mouth/nose of the face painted on the bottom but there is no automation.
To me if you need it to "do" a lot that could require a more powerful or larger spring and that implies lying it flat (that fit in pocket detail) and then the "whatever" on top of that so thickness overall comes into play.
I am assuming the motion is to get children's attention...I think that was a big part behind those "bb" games, simple but with motion provided. The only other relatively simple automata that came to mind were those early tin banks but way too big for pocket.
Like winchman's idea and of using the check out belt to roll something...maybe something that could roll down the check out belt and if there was a way to load and trigger a spring to push out a "point" that would cause said item to hop into the air?

Edit: not that you need it, this helped me understand how they work http://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-clockwork-works.html

bborr01
12-31-2012, 11:45 AM
Tom,

I applaud your creativity but I hope you are behind me in the check out line and not in front of me.

Brian

tom in nh
12-31-2012, 12:27 PM
Winchman that is neat, I will try that for another time, though.
Alan, I do not think kids will understand that one.
Darryl and Weston are onto something - re: bi metallic spring(s) , and a case about the dimensions of a deck of cards.
Neat link Russ. Using metal as a projectile is asking for trouble. I will keep it contained.
Well Brian, it is too bad that you do not have the time to smile <grin>. Perhaps even losing the chance to meet a like minded individual.
Tom

fixxit
12-31-2012, 02:39 PM
The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre
Here is a link to a site that will offer some inspiration.
Lots of videos and articles by some very clever artists and designers.
http://www.cabaret.co.uk

fixxit

Mike Burdick
12-31-2012, 03:02 PM
Okay, this doesn't meet any of your requirements but it certainly will put a smile on everyone's face...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z86V_ICUCD4

Bob D.
12-31-2012, 05:30 PM
How about a small mechanism like in a music box? A tune would get a child's attention and bring a smile to almost anyone. No idea how to make one, but the info has to be out there somewhere...

Alistair Hosie
12-31-2012, 05:55 PM
tom as long as the bulge is at the front of your pants it's officially not dirty:o Alistair

RussZHC
12-31-2012, 07:45 PM
Really glad you started this thread, did not make the connection between "automata" and "automaton"...there is so much out there, found this site http://automatomania.co.uk/workshop/page/11/...and I am now far less certain that it could not be done to the size you want (my original thought was it will be very tough to make it small enough) some I have found is absolutely tiny and from what I gather it is a fairly hot topic at the cellular level (nanostructures and all that) and of course there is the opposite end with "robots" several stories high.
Materials used vary from common paper and cardboard to what can only really be thought of as jewelry. I can now envision something sort of like an old style pocket watch but instead of time, some action (an ice skater?) with music.

bborr01
12-31-2012, 07:56 PM
Winchman that is neat, I will try that for another time, though.
Alan, I do not think kids will understand that one.
Darryl and Weston are onto something - re: bi metallic spring(s) , and a case about the dimensions of a deck of cards.
Neat link Russ. Using metal as a projectile is asking for trouble. I will keep it contained.
Well Brian, it is too bad that you do not have the time to smile <grin>. Perhaps even losing the chance to meet a like minded individual.
Tom

Tom,

Sorry, I wasn't trying to rain on your parade. All of the sudden I was seeing myself waitiing in line for someone to put on a sideshow. Then I don't smile as much.

Actually, I am looking forward to seeing what the creative minds here will dream up and will follow the thread with interest. Thanks for starting the thread.

Brian

1-800miner
12-31-2012, 11:22 PM
A turtle the size of a pocket watch. Pull on his tail and the legs and head come out and it walks,push his tail in and he hibernates.
That was quite easy on my part. Now you have to build it.

darryl
12-31-2012, 11:57 PM
I have a spider that turns its head, the jaws snap open and closed, and the eyes light up in varying brightness. Each leg is hydraulically operated- the thing has an umbilical cord to the control in my hands. The control has a plunger under each finger. If I yank them all together hard enough, it will jump off the ground- just barely. Not an automaton, and won't fit in a pocket either. That was an interesting build.

Frank Ford
01-01-2013, 04:01 AM
For what it may be worth, I've noticed that I often overestimate my audience when I "show off" machining projects to the uninitiated. Most regular folk are not impressed by or aware of the skills involved. SO, my suggestion is to keep such displays very simple. Magnetic novelties, the "captive nut" and the "two slider" are favorites of mine:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Projects/CaptiveNut/captivenut09.jpg

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/StepByStep/TwoSlider/animaslider.gif

Ron of Va
01-01-2013, 08:59 AM
Although not something you can keep in your pocket, I designed and built the candy dispenser that required a coin in the tray to operate. I took it to work and the women and children didn’t care how it worked, they just wanted the candy. Most men, the first thing they wanted to know was “how it worked.” Definitely a different psychology.

The men wanted to know why the slide wouldn’t go under the candy if there was no coin in the tray. Where did the coin go? How did the coin get out of the tray? Why won’t it work with a penny? Why will it only dispense candy one time per pull? How do you get the money out of it, because there is no key or opening in the box? Beside the slide, it has only two moving parts and no batteries.

The one on the left doesn't require any money, but it cost a fortune to keep it full in an office full of a bunch of women. Hence the motivation for the coin operated one.
http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/PeopleFeeder35_.jpg

Jaakko Fagerlund
01-01-2013, 09:48 AM
Although not something you can keep in your pocket, I designed and built the candy dispenser that required a coin in the tray to operate. I took it to work and the women and children didn’t care how it worked, they just wanted the candy. Most men, the first thing they wanted to know was “how it worked.” Definitely a different psychology.

The men wanted to know why the slide wouldn’t go under the candy if there was no coin in the tray. Where did the coin go? How did the coin get out of the tray? Why won’t it work with a penny? Why will it only dispense candy one time per pull? How do you get the money out of it, because there is no key or opening in the box? Beside the slide, it has only two moving parts and no batteries.

The one on the left doesn't require any money, but it cost a fortune to keep it full in an office full of a bunch of women. Hence the motivation for the coin operated one.
Thanks, now the woman behind me says she wants those candies and the HSM'er in me says you got to tell us how to get them to operate on money so that the woman behind has to pay for her candies :)

Ron of Va
01-01-2013, 10:32 AM
Thanks, now the woman behind me says she wants those candies and the HSM'er in me says you got to tell us how to get them to operate on money so that the woman behind has to pay for her candies :)

How it works is the big secret. Would anyone care to speculate?

RussZHC
01-01-2013, 10:53 AM
Is the off-set between the coin and candy depressions important? My guess would be it is since my guess as to how it works would be two slides, one under the coin and one under the candy and the coin one has to open first.
Not sure how it "knows" the correct coin or any coin (though suspect it has to do with size) or how you get the coins out (one assumes a trap door somewhere). Partial answer?

Weston Bye
01-01-2013, 11:06 AM
How it works is the big secret. Would anyone care to speculate?

I can imagine that the edge of the coin pushes a thin detail the thickness of the coin to move a gate below the candy jar, allowing the candy to fall into the dispensing pocket. When the slide is fully pushed in, the coin falls down into the coin box. Pulling the slide out closes the gate and returns the coin-actuated detail before the slide is fully out.

<edit> I should have read more carefully. The thin detail I mentioned serves a different purpose: in my imagination, it cams a latch or pawl out of the way so that the slide can move the full travel.

Ron of Va
01-01-2013, 11:37 AM
Is the off-set between the coin and candy depressions important? My guess would be it is since my guess as to how it works would be two slides, one under the coin and one under the candy and the coin one has to open first.
Not sure how it "knows" the correct coin or any coin (though suspect it has to do with size) or how you get the coins out (one assumes a trap door somewhere). Partial answer?

Russ, you are getting warm.
The slide and the coin tray move as one piece.


I can imagine that the edge of the coin pushes a thin detail the thickness of the coin to move a gate below the candy jar, allowing the candy to fall into the dispensing pocket. When the slide is fully pushed in, the coin falls down into the coin box. Pulling the slide out closes the gate and returns the coin-actuated detail before the slide is fully out.

<edit> I should have read more carefully. The thin detail I mentioned serves a different purpose: in my imagination, it cams a latch or pawl out of the way so that the slide can move the full travel.
Weston, There is no gate below the candy jar. Other than that you are getting warm too.

If anybody gets any warmer, I will have to tell.

Techtchr
01-01-2013, 11:45 AM
You may find some mechanisms of interest at this Cornell University site. http://kmoddl.library.cornell.edu/facets/moon61899.htm It would be fun to copy some of them.
Matt

tom in nh
01-01-2013, 01:17 PM
Thanks to Fixxit , Mike , and Matt for the links.
Bob D - I like the music box mechanism and tune idea.
Brian - Don't worry about it. Sideshows can be neat....
1-800miner, Darryl, and Frank - good ideas.
Ron - that sure is a sweet tooth's paradise.
Keep 'em coming please.
Tom

kyfho
01-01-2013, 11:41 PM
Not exactly pocket sized, but elegant mechanism and beautiful work.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JV--AwLxiE

Paul Alciatore
01-02-2013, 12:20 AM
Perhaps a bit much, but how about a watch sized version of Weston's magnetic gear clock. Build the gear wheels so the magnets can not be seen to enhance the mystery. Perhaps put real gear teeth on them, but none of the teeth engage anything. You will need a clear case.

I don't think this would be easy.

TheAndroid
01-02-2013, 12:42 PM
A turtle the size of a pocket watch. Pull on his tail and the legs and head come out and it walks,push his tail in and he hibernates.
That was quite easy on my part. Now you have to build it.

This would be cool and an heirloom type item.

davidh
01-02-2013, 01:26 PM
and there are the little wire insects that are vibrated by a cel phone vibration motor. those tiny motors are really small.

Jaakko Fagerlund
01-02-2013, 03:13 PM
Although not something you can keep in your pocket, I designed and built the candy dispenser that required a coin in the tray to operate. I took it to work and the women and children didn’t care how it worked, they just wanted the candy. Most men, the first thing they wanted to know was “how it worked.” Definitely a different psychology.

The men wanted to know why the slide wouldn’t go under the candy if there was no coin in the tray. Where did the coin go? How did the coin get out of the tray? Why won’t it work with a penny? Why will it only dispense candy one time per pull? How do you get the money out of it, because there is no key or opening in the box? Beside the slide, it has only two moving parts and no batteries.

The one on the left doesn't require any money, but it cost a fortune to keep it full in an office full of a bunch of women. Hence the motivation for the coin operated one.
http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/PeopleFeeder35_.jpg
Okay, my guess is that there is a sloped pin or gate behind that coin thing that stops the slide from going enough in. But if you put a coin in that pocket (is is open bottom?), it can reach the slope on the blocking pin and lifft it just enough and just before the slide would contact it. This allows the slide to go in. Once it goes in enough, the coin falls (assuming open hole in that coin pocket) inside the base.

To retrieve money, insert coin, push slide in, (remove the jar) and tip it over.

Close?

Hawkeye
01-02-2013, 03:37 PM
Check out this link. http://www.mechanicards.com/ Should give you some ideas.

or... How about a automaton that dispenses the coins you need.

browne92
01-03-2013, 05:25 PM
Okay, my guess is that there is a sloped pin or gate behind that coin thing that stops the slide from going enough in. But if you put a coin in that pocket (is is open bottom?), it can reach the slope on the blocking pin and lifft it just enough and just before the slide would contact it. This allows the slide to go in. Once it goes in enough, the coin falls (assuming open hole in that coin pocket) inside the base.

To retrieve money, insert coin, push slide in, (remove the jar) and tip it over.

Close?

My guess: There's a 2 or 3 pins that come up from underneath the quarter around it's edge. If no quarter is present, they stab into the top and won't let the slide go any further. If the quarter is there, it get picked up against the top and drug to the back where gets pushed into a detent. When the lever gets pulled forward, the quarter drops into the box. If the coin is anything other than a quarter, it falls between the pins and won't stop them from stabbing the top.

That would be my initial design anyway.