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!