2 Sept 2023

Finally Identified The Culprit Who Ate My Flowers

Today's blog post isn't related to puzzles. It's about wild animals around my house.

I've been growing Gazania in the backyard garden. 

The Gazania is a hardy plant. They make my garden look bright and cheerful.

However, there is one issue. Something eats the flower buds after the sun goes down.

I already knew Eastern bearded dragons that live around my house love to eat Gazania's flowers. 

They don't hesitate to eat Gazania in the daytime even though I watch them just in front of them. They eat my flowers confidently, look at me and seem to say, "What! Why are you looking at me?"


I'm not happy they eat my flowers, yet they don't damage the flower seedlings; they eat only a little, so it's all right.


On the other hand, something that eats my Gazania in the backyard is a bit different. 



Something eats many buds, so I cannot enjoy the flowers. They are all eaten before they flower. Therefore, I put a trail camera in the backyard. The first three nights, the camera couldn't get any animals. It was the fourth try this morning.

I Finally got some proof! Several videos were taken, and two successfully recorded the offender who ate Gazania. It was a wallaby. The camera recorded a chewing sound, too.

Then I went out of the backyard to check on the Gazania. Surely, there are buds on the ground that were bitten off.

How can I take action to prevent this? Covering the Gazania with a net is probably the best idea. Still, it's inconvenient to get rid of the net every morning. I changed my mind, I could leave them because the seedlings weren't seriously damaged.

There wasn't much rain this winter in Queensland, and the temperature was higher than usual. I believe this summer, many bushfires will occur, and it will be a hard time for wild animals. I decided not to worry about wild animals eating my flowers. 

I welcome them to visit my backyard. 

But don't eat uprooted flowers, mate!

26 Aug 2023

Happy Birthday to Me

It's my birthday today, but I did nothing special. My husband has been to Japan to meet his parents and brothers for the first time in 12 years, so I'm alone at home. If you are a kind of party person, you may feel lonely at home alone on your birthday, but I'm not that kind. I'm no problem at home alone. It might be a good opportunity to concentrate on designs for automata. I'm playing my favourite music louder than usual, facing the computer and thinking about the idea.

I have a rough picture of automata, but it's challenging to think of a mechanism. I made a table in Excel to find the best combination of the gears. I still need to get the ideal combination. If you could get a birthday present, I would like a good idea of the automata.
I will be alone for about a month from now, so I have plenty of time.
I believe that I could get a good idea.

22 Aug 2023

My Next Challenge

I finally finished making half of my marble run machine last week. Yes, it's only half. I want to complete it soon, but I think I'll not be able to finish it this year.

One month from this week, I cannot use the CNC router. Making something that requires accuracy is hard so that I will make simple automata. For making automata, one of the issues for me is sculpture. I'm not good at making sculptures. Luckily, I have plenty of offcuts to practice.

My making policy is the same as when making the marble run machine; I will try to make, as much as I can, something unique. I've already got an idea, but it isn't easy to make it happen. However, I learnt not to give up quickly while making the marble run machine. Sometimes, a good idea could come. As long as I don't give up, there are still possibilities.

I will show you on this blog if I can make an automaton.

19 Aug 2023

My Challenge to Make a Marble Run Machine - The Switch and The Half-Pipe

Since last week, I've been working on my marble run machine to add new parts. Two unique parts have already been completed with the help of my husband, Junichi.

One of them is a switch to split the balls in two directions. You may know the similar functions if you have watched marble run's video on YouTube. This is the one that is commonly used. A ball drops from a rail and goes into one side of the divided space, then the side where the ball enters tilts due to the weight. I don't know who invented it first; it's an excellent and convenient function. It's also easy to make.

This part can divide one ball to the left and right. 

However, I wanted a part to divide one ball to the left and two to the right. I've watched as many videos on YouTube as possible but couldn't find a similar part. I wondered if I could really make it.
What I thought at first was to extend one side. Here is a picture of the struggles I had.

In the picture, the design with the lower number was the first one I thought of, and the bigger number, the more improvements were made. These parts look all the same, but I changed the angle or the size slightly. I made them with MDF first; then, when I thought I got a good design, I cut them with timber.

Junichi and I tried testing so many times. Sometimes the balls went well, and sometimes more than three balls got stuck inside the part and didn't work correctly.

Somehow, we reached the best design and found another issue. My marble run is set up vertically. It's exactly 90 degrees, so the balls easily come off from the part. Yes, it needed a fence. 

The easiest way to solve it was to put something transparent in front of the part. I considered using an acrylic plate, but while playing with the marble run, I guessed the balls might leave traces on the surface. Then, Junichi thought of adding fences to the function, which went well.


After making many prototypes and trials, it finally works properly. This is the result of hard work. I couldn't have made this part without Junichi's help.

Two balls that pass through this part go to the next part, mountain. The one ball that passes through this component goes to the new part I have created. It's a half pipe.

The half-pipe is, as it's called, shaped like a snowboarding half-pipe. I glued several pieces of timber and made an arc. The balls drop on the left side of the arc and swing two or three times, then fall into a hole. The balls swung more than I estimated, and some jumped over the half pipe, so I added a little fence.


The timber used for the half pipe was American Black Walnut, Koto, PNG Rosewood, Fijian Mahogany, Iroko, and Black Bean. I love assembling different colours of timber.


Only half the marble run machine has been completed. Therefore, currently, it has some tentative parts. The red circles in the picture below are the temporary parts. I'm going to replace these parts later.

As you can see, about half of the board is empty.
What kinds of parts could I make?


7 Aug 2023

My Challenge to Make a Marble Run Machine - The Tray

Creation is a process of repeated failures as well as successes. I wonder how often I have made mistakes on my marble run machine. One of the issues with my marble run machine is the balls sometimes drop from the rail. I will fix the issue, not to drop the balls, but I don't think it will be easy to fix it 100 per cent. Then, I decided to make a tray to catch the balls falling from the rail. It can also be used for keeping the extra balls.

My husband, Junichi, gave me some beautiful timber, so I glued them together and made them a piece of the board. Here is the picture of gluing timber.

I held it with lots of clamps tightly and left it for a while. This is the board after being unwrapped. Amazingly, these colours are natural.

For use as the ball holder, it needs to be easy to get the balls. My idea was to drill a hole in the corner of the board. I'm going to make a wooden peg later. It must be convenient to pull the peg when I want the balls, the balls dropping from the hole.
Luckily, Juno gave me the idea to tilt the board, and I adopted it.

The board tilts 3 degrees and is attached to the marble run machine board. There is a groove bottom of the tray, and it's also tilted, so the balls go into the hole smoothly. It's awkward to make something tilted, but I somehow made it. I made two brackets that were also tilted.

Milling the board's surface with the CNC router is shown in the picture below.

I glued two brackets on the surface of the tray.
As it progresses, finding the room that can attach the brackets becomes more difficult.

Anyway, I could attach the tray as I wanted. The balls rotate smoothly toward the hole. 



For now, a small piece of scrap wood is placed over the hole to replace the plug.

Before ending today's blog, I wrote down the name of the timber I used for the tray for people interested in timber.