15 Sept 2021

I Love Interesting Objects

 I love objects that are interesting and strange. I also love impossible objects.
For example, there is a strange object that is made from wire. It seems like it's named "Mystery Spiral" or "Mephisto Spiral." This is a combination of two spiral wires and has a very simple structure. What's interesting is, those two wires look like being extended forever. Of course, it doesn't extend forever, it's very interesting to watch.

One day, my husband, Juno brought it when he went out. According to him, he took out Mystery Spiral when he was on a train in Tokyo and started pulling it. What happened was the passengers in the train couldn't help watching it. Passengers noticed what he was pulling and started staring at it. People usually don't stare at someone because it's rude, but they couldn't help watching it because it was captivating and strange. I love this kind of thing.

I remembered him taking a Mystery Spiral to an event that was held in Tokyo. A friend of ours had a booth for selling his creations there and we were asked to be shop assistants. While we were waiting for customers coming, he took out the Mystery Spiral and started pulling it. As soon as he did it, people started coming and they enjoyed looking.
He explained to people that those wires were invented by NASA using the latest technologies which is totally untrue. However, people knew it was a joke and laughed at hearing it and enjoyed it a lot.

So, he kept playing with it and went on with the NASA joke. It was good entertainment. After a while, a young lady visited the shop. She also listened to his joke that it was invented by NASA. What happened was, surprisingly, she believed it. We didn't think she'd believe the joke. We were going to make her surprised, but actually she made us surprised. She got us.

I had asked a seller who was selling Mystery Spiral who invented it. She said it was invented long ago and nobody knows, therefore it's copyright-free. Whoever invented it, it was a brilliant idea.

I always think that I want to make automata that stimulate people's curious minds and can't stop looking at it, but it's arduous. I wonder if I could think of at least one, it would be so nice.



9 Sept 2021

Automaton - Dancing Koala

I finally finished making my 6th automaton yesterday.


Originally, I was going to make a complicated design automation, but I thought that it seemed difficult to make it. So, I've decided to make it step by step.

Therefore, this automaton is a part of an automaton that I want to make in the end. I have made it for making sure whether those gears work well.
The feature of this automaton is two gears that have only four teeth.

These gears make the other gear that is connected to a rack always rotating the same, which means the gear turns the opposite direction on the way and it makes the rack swing side to side. Even those gears with four teeth rotate the opposite way, but the rack swings the same.

At first, I made a mistake with these gears that have four teeth. After I tried to rotate them, I noticed that I had to cut two teeth at each end of these gears a little otherwise the gears mesh with each other and get stuck.

I thought it did not look good with only gears, so I have made a koala doll on the rack.


The koala legs are connected to the rack and his legs, arms and head can move a little bit like he's dancing.
I had just added the koala for fun without thinking too much, but it was a bit difficult to attach him to the rack and a back board. Thinking about the movement of the koala, I should have used a steel washer between the back board and the koala. If I had used steel washers, the koala could have taken a more brilliant step, I guess.



It was disappointing that I could not hit on using steel washers, but it was a good try that I could make sure this mechanism works.

My next target is an automaton that I really wanted to make, but I know it is arduous. It is an automaton with a pendulum. I hope I am able to show you pictures or videos of my next automaton someday.

 


6 Jun 2021

Dear Mr Christopher Nolan

I use Netflix for both reasons, practicing English and entertainment. For the purpose of practicing English, Netflix is a useful tool. However, from the entertainment purpose, I have finished watching my favorite types of movies.


My favorite type of movie is like Christopher Nolan's. I am a big fan of him. I have never been anyone's fan before, but he is special. It is because his movies contain the factors I love. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find this kind of movie. If he could make a movie with puzzle factors like "Inception", I would be incredibly happy. So, I have decided to write a letter to Mr Christopher Nolan. I know it is almost a zero possibility that he will notice my writing, but I am writing this letter hoping he will notice someday.
 


Dear Mr Christopher Nolan,

Since I have seen your movie, I am your big fan.
I am a puzzle lover and there are lots of factors that I love in your movies: science, space-time, Escher, mystery, dimension, space, and complexity in a good way. Those factors make the movies more exciting.

There are people who love puzzles in the world. They are unfortunately a minority group compared with other hobbies, but they have good features. They love magic, juggling, tricks and the factors I have written above. The peculiarity of puzzle lovers is full of wit and the ability to think ideas that other people never think of.

Even though the number of puzzle lovers are a minority, I believe that those factors will intrigue most people. Unfortunately, there are not many movies that have the factors. As a puzzle lover and one of your fans, I wish with all my heart that we will be enjoying a movie that you made with lots of puzzle sense someday.

Best regards,

Yukari

25 May 2021

Trial and Error

I'm very happy with the latest automaton, "Flower Automaton" that I made last month. So, I got carried away and decided to make the next one.


Through trial and error, I got an idea of a fish automaton. It seemed like a good idea (I thought) when the idea first popped in my mind, yet as I considered it carefully, there were some issues. Even if I could make it, I don't think it would be that interesting. So, I put it aside and restarted thinking of a different design again. Things like this happen quite often. An idea that came up in my mind seems brilliant at first, then it gradually lost its glare.

An idea is crucial. Think, think! I mumbled to myself.
I tend to do something stupid while I'm thinking about these kinds of things, so I must be careful.

I remember when I was in Japan, I was a loyal reader of a monthly science magazine "Kagaku Asahi." There was a puzzle on the back cover, and I loved it. One rainy day I was thinking how to solve the puzzle in the magazine and headed to a subway station in Tokyo. Then I noticed that I was holding an umbrella left open at the entrance of the subway where there was an underground. The other passengers might have thought that I was a crazy person.

Unfortunately, I feel like I don't have as much ability to concentrate that I had before. If I think positively, I don't have to worry about holding an umbrella left open in a subway station or hit my forehead into an electric pole which is good. Luckily, I live in a remote area in Australia not in Tokyo. Even if I did something really stupid, people rarely notice, only birds and kangaroos. 



One day, I was watching YouTube looking for hints. Then, I found several videos of kinetic sculptures. There were two guys I found who make wooden kinetic sculptures, David C. Roy and Robert Hains. Surprisingly, one of them lives in Queensland, Australia. Their sculptures are so beautiful. Here are their works. 

Calligraphy kinetic sculpture by David C. Roy

 

Tip Turkey - Robert Hains



I admired their kinetic sculptures, and of course, I felt like making my own. Even though I haven't started making it, I have already imagined where I should hang the kinetic sculpture and looked for an empty wall. Yes, I know. I'm a bit impatient.
Come to think of what I have made, there is a little similar one, Moire Gears. It also used the moire effect. It seems difficult to make a kinetic sculpture, but I think I can do it if I spend a lot of time. 

When my first kinetic sculpture is finished, I will show you it someday here.

21 Apr 2021

The Flower Automaton

Hello, puzzle and automaton lovers! It has been a long time since I updated the last blog post. I had been struggling with an automaton.

In November last year, one idea of a flower shaped automaton popped up in my mind. It was a flower facing upward. I thought it would be good, however, when I searched the key words, "automata" and "flower" on YouTube, I found some flower automata that bloom upwards. If I could, I wanted to avoid making something similar to others. Therefore, I have decided to make a flower automaton that blooms horizontally.


Then, I started thinking of the structures of the automaton. I realized that a vertical bloom automaton could use gravity to open petals which is convenient. On the other hand, an automaton that blooms horizontally can be obstructed with gravity. It depends on structures, the upper petal would easily face down by gravity.

Hmm, it seems a bit awkward.

If it is alright having big linkage structures behind the flower, I thought it would not be difficult to make. I tried to imagine how it would look. No, no. It makes no sense if the structure is more conspicuous than the flower.

In the meantime, November was over. December passed very quickly having no good ideas. Then, January and February passed wastefully, and I was getting a bit anxious. I thought that I might have not been able to come up with any good ideas. When I was almost giving up, I picked up a book, "507 Mechanical Movements" and finally got an idea. The book gave me a hint! 

After many trials and errors, also having kind help of woodworking by Juno, I finally finished making the flower automaton yesterday.

Here it is, this is my flower automaton.


I named it "Columbine" because it happened to look like a Columbine flower. This is a double flower, and it caused many mistakes while I was making it. I guess that it would be much easier if I made a single flower. 



The petals are made from PNG Rosewood. Probably, you may notice that I used the rest of the timber that was used for the sequential discovery puzzle, "SDBB Master." The stem and the calyx are made from plywood that I bought at a hardware shop, the base is made from the off cut of American Black Walnut which has been used for Coin Case, Juno's Arrow, SDBB Master and so on. 



Before I started making this automaton, I had made a prototype. This prototype faces upward. The feature of this flower automaton is moving any angles. It moves regardless of the force of gravity. I am happy with the idea. Having said that, if I make another one, I will change some parts of the design because I have found some improvements. Sometimes you cannot tell shortcomings just by making it once, you know?

 

This automaton was 7th creation of mine including prototypes. The first one had quite a simple structure, it had only two cams. It is deeply moving to see the improvement and complexity of the design from only two cams automaton to the latest one.

I already have a next new idea for automaton. I will show you my next automaton someday on this blog.
See you then!