So I guess I’ve gotten firmly into the tile-a-day habit. I’m trying to get back into the papercraft habit as well. I completed a few pieces as gifts for the holidays, and the pressure burned me out on model building for a while. I normally have at least one paper model project going, sometimes more like a hundred. >.> So I’ve picked up this cool automata. Designer J_Hodgie was kind enough to include a blank template PDF. Take a look:
Tile first: Another circle (zircle!). This time, I used the top to a large Yankee Candle jar. Now the tile carries a faint aura of Holiday Sage. 😛
Random.org told me that I would be using Molossus’s Wisket, Rick’s Paradox, Rick & Maria’s Hurry, and Suzanne McNeil’s Whirls. I goofed a bit on Hurry, but it still came out looking okay. When I got to Whirls, I was more interested in the wave pattern grid than the spiky spiral bits, so I figured I’d just Knightsbridge the grid and be done with it. But those big white spaces begged to have something fill them up. I finally watched the Betweed video last night, so it was a no-brainer.
As for the papercraft: I encourage you to go to the link and take a look. Even if you’re not into walking robot tank things, the animation of the thing moving shows off the paper mechanisms that make it tick. It’s definitely inspired by Rob Ives’s paper automata work.
When I was a kid, my mother used to give me cast-iron mechanical banks for holiday gifts. I had quite the collection, and each one had its own unique, humorous way of getting the coin from the starting point into the drop slot. Paper automata work in the same way, using simple machine principles to produce a moving, usually cyclical result. Plus, they often use coins as counterweights, so there’s your bonus connection. Most automata have an opening to view the mechanism at work. Hey, if you’re going to spend eight to twenty hours scoring, cutting, and gluing something in paper that’s cool enough to walk (or fly, or explode and reform, or…) when you turn the crank, why not show off the nifty greebles in the middle?
I started tangling the blank template a little before Solstice, when I felt settled enough to start Zentangling again, but the form hadn’t clicked in my head yet. There are lots of tangles all over the thing, but my sense of form and space was limited. I would do it differently now. Still, it doesn’t look bad. And I’ve only barely begun work on the top, so I can make the star of the show look good. 😛
There are lots of paper mech models out there, many of them built to be jointed, and I have this crazy idea to test several of them against this base so that almost any of them can be made into automata. We’ll see if my will matches my ambition. o.o
A note about “automata”: It’s the plural for “automaton”, but in the papercraft community, it’s become the singular as well as the plural form when describing paper models which use machine principles to convert force from a crank, lever, or other manipulator into a motion effect in the model. These sort of models don’t really fit the definition of “automaton”, so the word is not only stripped of its singular form but also misapplied. Even so, it’s become a convenient shorthand, so I’ve swallowed my dedication to precision and grammar in favor of using what is essentially jargon. May God forgive me.