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Automata: Mechanical Marvels in Wood

Course Overview

Cranks wind, gears turn, dragons chomp and birds fly. Welcome to the whimsical world of automata: simple wooden machines that delight and amaze. Join Cecilia Schiller for a four-day exploration of the art of making wooden machines and the mechanisms that make things move. Starting with the design process in cardboard, students will learn mechanical principles by creating simple cams and levers. The instructor will provide a basic kit with templates for selected gears. Students will cut drill and assemble their projects, as well as design and craft the figure, animal or (insert your imagination here) that surprises and delights viewers when it comes to life with the turn of a crank.

Required Tools

  • Carving knife and/or any preferred carving tools you have
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Reliable compass
  • 6” adjustable square
  • Ruler
  • Sharp awl
  • Shoe box to store parts
  • Scissors

Optional Tools

  • Cutting mat
  • Mat knife
  • X-acto knife
  • Hot glue gun

Course Details