Puppetry in Motion

puppets-a02I delivered the almost complete Mary Chambers automata to the Archives this morning. We need to make one small change before it is finished, the rower is at the wrong end of the boat. Oops!

Apart from that it is looking great. Dawn’s puppetry is fantastic and just look at those delicious gears!

We’re working on several models at once as we come towards the end of the first phase of the  Archive project. Colonel Rutherford is almost done, I’m just finishing off his plinth and connecting up the last of the linkages.

donkeyAfter that will be the suffragette model with Catherine Marshall. Dawn has pretty much finished the puppetry so it is down to me to bring the characters to life.
In this model the donkey (Ass-Quith, tee hee) will be sitting between Catherine, a suffragist and another character who is a suffragette. Catherine offers a carrot then the suffragette threatens a stick. Hence the angry eye brows.

Here are the various characters waiting to be brought to life. I love Catherine’s teeth!


Gear Train for Mary Chambers Model

The Mary Chambers model was the first of the models in the Archive Project that we completed. As parts of the process of mounting the puppetry onto a plinth I wanted to update the mechanism so that the style matched that of the later projects.

There are three main movements in this model. The soldier rows the boat, the boat rocks up and down and the waves… well they wave. All three movements  can be based round a circular crank movement but they are all at different speeds. Fastest moving are the waves with the rocking of the boat slightly slower. The rowing movement is slowest. Slow and steady. I laid out this gear train which should so the job.gear-a05Time to transfer it to the real world.

I made a simple jig onto which I can build the gears.This keeps everything at right angles and makes sure that the key slots are aligned.gear-a01These pictures show the largest gear, the thirty seven tooth gear, being constructed. The gears are made up from three layers of laser cut ply . The gear part with the spokes is sandwiched between two disks and fitted onto the jig until the glue is dry.gear-a02

With the gear centre removed from the jig I fit the outer tooth rings into place front and back and clamp them into position whilst the glue dries. You can see the short section of rack in the picture that  I use to make sure that the teeth are lined up properly.


The finished gear.gear-a04

I’ve then constructed an arch to hold all the parts into position. Here you see the assembled parts, almost complete apart from the keys which will be fitted to the axles.

Running smooth!