21 July 2020: Heads Up!

Heads have been difficult for me.  I’ve tried creating heads several different ways and am finally settling on Basswood armatures and Sculpey clay medium.  In the image you see: a) a 2″ long piece of 1″ X 1″ Basswood.  b) The armature that has been carved.  This armature sets the proportions.  c and d) completed heads.  These have been baked and are ready for installation and paint.  After I have the Sculpey head the way that I want it I bake it for 15 minutes at 275 degrees.  And if I want to do more I can make the changes and re-bake.  

In the past, I have whittled faces but I find that I do not have the control over the detail that I would like.  So I have used a two-part product called Apoxy.  Apoxy works pretty well…it handles detail and it’s very strong…however it starts to harden right after it has been mixed.  Working time is 2-4 hours.  I find the working time a bit frustrating so am now working with Sculpey.  In the image, the biped that is painted does have an Apoxy head.

I made my own whittling knife out of a Gerber hunting knife that I had laying around.  I worked the metal for a long time getting the right shape…and then I’ve been stropping it for months.  Finally, it’s (perhaps) sharper than a razor and a pleasure to use (and dangerous).

On the national political front: I have no comment this week.  You’ve heard it…”if you cannot say something nice don’t say it at all”.  I just sad about it all.

A mini production line for heads. Basswood is the armature and Sculpey is the media.
21 July 2020


11 July 2020: Peddler #1 has a face

The most difficult part of automata creation for me is the creation of the biped.  Of primary frustration are body shape, hands, and head/face.  I’ve finished the Peddler #1 biped.  My wife and I were looking at it today and I remarked that “it’s distorted enough to be fascinating and yet not so distorted that it’s not real”.  This particular biped is painted with acrylic paints and then waxed with hand-applied paste wax…several coats.  It’s the application of the paste wax that signals to me that I’ve finished a biped.  Once the paste wax is applied nothing else can practically be done…no more sanding…no more painting, etc.

I’m considering the purchase of a 3D printer.  High on the list of what I want to do with it is creation of heads and hands.  We’ll see how that goes.  COVID-19 has disrupted my revenue stream, so the purchase is delayed.  Meanwhile, new  3D printer models are being introduced and prices are dropping.

Peddler #1 is almost completed.  It’s got a motor in it that is jerking…so a replacement is ordered from China.  I might mention that the eBay seller that I’ve been dealing with in China has been EXTREMELY helpful.  The seller is efreeship…here is a link to their store.  I was in a hurry and screwed up an order.  They caught my mistake and worked with me to correct it.  It was very nice of them.  I buy my motors from them.

On the Trump front, I’m trying hard to disregard.  The Stone pardon happened yesterday.  What a jerk.  And I believe that it’s going to get much worse before he is out of office.

My next automata project is going to follow the theme of ‘All Lives Matter’.  It will be a Jim’s Gym creation.

Stay healthy, everyone.  And try to keep your communities healthy.



Peddler #1 has a face.
11 July 2020


2 July 2020: Back to the Basics

On my workbench, I continue to make progress with Peddler #1.  I’m currently focused on the mechanism that causes the Peddler to wave, and of course, he needs to be painted.  The motor is slightly jerky.  I’ve got a replacement on its way to me.

Back to the Basics:  Every once in a while we need to sit back and look at the basics of it all.  Right now I’m trying to get my head around ‘what should the USA be’.  I went back to the Declaration of Independence and learned that it says (in summary);

  1. All men are created equal.  Apparently the definition of ‘men’  was ‘free, white, land-owning men.  Women, slaves, and indentured servants were not considered equal’.
  2. All men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.
  3. Among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  4. To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
  5. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.

What I’m looking for is guidance on how the present should be.  While I do find the summary of the Declaration of Independence interesting I am not finding the answer that I am looking for.  Our country can not be governed by the Declaration of Independence.

Where I am with all of this at the moment is “follow the money”.  You’ve all heard of this before…money is a major driver of action.  Money, by itself, however, has no conscience, it has no values.  Money is not a thinking entity…it is something that is measured.

So it seems that our present-day value systems are “what is legal?”.  Our present-day value systems are made up of rules and laws that were formed in the past.  In the past, we had different influences than we have today.  Religion, for example, was more prominent in our value system.  Also, it was not until the last 50 years (or so) that we began to live in the world, rather than in the USA.  And then there is the Internet…instant international communication AND access to virtually all knowledge.

Also, our planet has never had so many passengers.  We are overpopulated relative to our ability to understand and care for our spaceship.

So when someone says “Make America Great Again” what does it really mean?  In my mind, it does NOT mean a return to the past.  I think that is not possible.  In my mind, it means understanding how the money flows and being a productive part of that flow.  But also, we need to be respectful of each other (all colors, all sexes, all nationalities, everyone).  And we need to be respectful of our spaceship and all aboard.

Unfortunately, humans are not naturally gentle, understanding, non-selfish.  We humans are greedy.  We are self-centered.  And so more laws will be passed, and more time will flow, and human nature will remain unchanged and in the end, we will either come to a nice balance between laws and human nature…or we will fail as a species.

In the meantime, I’m trying to live honestly.  I’m trying to be a positive force.  It’s not perfect.  There is always room for improvement.

Humans are so insignificant in the big picture.

The Peddler Drive Frame has been sheathed with Myrtlewood and Pistachio ‘planks’. 26 June 2020