The Big Wheel Lift automata series

This is a fun one.  Occasionally when I am playing my street organ in public I’m able to take Big Wheel Lift #1 with me.  People love it

How does it move?  When either the hand crank is turned or the motor is turned on the big wheel picks up a marble at the bottom while dropping one at the top.  The dropped marbles roll to the bottom where the big wheel recycles them back to the top.  The biped powers the Big Wheel Lift by peddling and pulling levers.  Magnets are used in several places on this automata that act as shock absorbers.

Jim’s Comments: This one is special to me…I really like it.  People that I show it to become entranced.   It’s a good conversation starter and comfortable to be around.  As of about May 2020 Big Wheel Lift has cycled 38,000 marbles (there is a counter).

Big Wheel Lift #1


Dimensions (approx)

Height: 21″
Width: 25″
Depth: 9″
Weight: 8-1/2 lbs.


Allow me 3 months to create.

#2 is the next available in this series.


Commission Info



Big Wheel Lift #1 Project Sheet

As I create automata I attempt to update the Project Sheet weekly with narrative and images.  These project sheets are available on my website.  The project sheets give viewers a sense of what I’m working on and how I work.


Big Wheel Lift #1
Disassembly for Paint document

After an automata has been initially assembled and is functioning it is then disassembled and painted.  This Disassembly for Paint document is important to me.  It helps me to re-assemble, and it helps me remember ‘how I did it’ for future builds.  The document documents with photographs a teardown and then the painted reassembly.  These documents are sometimes 50+ pages long.  The link above will take you to the Disassembly for Paint .pdf, which you may download if you wish.


YouTube Video 

The biped on Big Wheel Lift #1 is copper leafed.