27 October 2019, The Electric Chair

Sometimes I drive a project, and sometimes a project drives me.  The Electric Chair is driving me right now.

I am enjoying the process of being creative…of having the right materials at hand so that I can move forward relatively quickly…and I am enjoying discussing this Electric Chair automata with others.  The reaction that I get from people is interesting.  Some ask me if Trump being our President is driving this effort.  I’ll admit that I’m not being driven by Trump consciously…but unconsciously…who knows.  I am extremely dissatisfied and frustrated with US Politics right now.  Extremely.  I wish folks could be honorable and keep their eyes on the important balls.

I’m in a good position right now with supplies being in stock in my studio.  I’ve got things working pretty smoothly in terms of reordering things…of having things that I need to have.  And I am working more efficiently in terms of time…not sure why.  My hands simply seem to be working better.  My hands seem to be creating better.

I ordered a couple of motors from China about three weeks ago.  They finally arrived this afternoon.  I’ll be able to place one of them into the Inclined Slide #1 test stand so that I can get this test stand working properly.

The Electric Chair is Taking Shape


18 October 2019, Automata in Public

In 2016 I created a 20 Pipe Street Organ and I have been playing it in public 2-4 times a month.  I’ve started taking Big Wheel Lift #1 with me to the venues where I feel I can control access (young folks) and to where I can actually transport.  It takes two trips to the car.  At some of the venues where I play the organ I simply cannot do two trips (that would mean leaving something ‘unguarded’).

Anyway, using the battery pack (that I mentioned 12 August) I turn on Big Wheel Lift #1 and start playing the street organ and people cheer up.  When they stop to visit the organ they almost always notice Big Wheel Lift #1, with many becoming fascinated.  And often the reverse happens…people notice the automata first.  The meter now reads 31,644 marbles cycled.  Big Wheel Lift is proving remarkably reliable…rarely dropping a marble or missing a beat.  If memory serves in the last 4,500 or so marbles…none have been tossed out.  Not bad.

Regarding “automata”, when people stop to chat and I speak the word “automata” many have never heard of the word…so discussion happens…which is good.  It’s good bringing automata out in public.

It is not unusual for someone from Europe to stop and chat.  They always remind me that Europe has much deeper automata roots than the US.

I’m very fortunate to be able to play my street organ in public and to demonstrate my automata in public.

Big Wheel Lift #1 displays alongside Misty, the 20 Pipe Street Organ. At the Bernardo Winery Farmers Market.

5 October 2019, The Automata Community

In late 2018 I discovered that Automata Magazine was going to be published.  I browsed the first two issues and then subscribed…and I am really glad that I did.

The world of automata is now much larger and much closer to me.  The articles in the magazine are at the very least interesting.  Many of them are excellent.

And then at the beginning of September 2019 the Automata Magazine Online Forum began.  Though still very young my life has already been enriched more than I was expecting.  It’s nice being able to participate and communicate with the similar minded individuals in the forum.

Inclined Slide #1 is progressing.  I’ve completed the upper drive frame and the marble lift and the ellipse that all will be sitting on. Next to be created will be the drive drum and the related ratchets and springs.

I’m enjoying creating the Jim’s Gym series…but am also starting to want to get out of that box and to do something different.  At this moment my top candidate is “The Electric Chair”.  Sort of a morbid but fascinating concept.  We’ll see.

The marble lift mechanism is being created.