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An Introduction to Mechanisms

1 Planning your automata


Learn It

  • Have an idea

The best automata have a message or a theme. They can be moving works of art.

  • Research and find some ideas. Decide what you want to make.
  • Remember it is better for it to be simple and work than too complex and not.

Move It

Choose a motion or motions – note we have two followers which can have the same or different movements.

  • Up and down

  • Round and round

  • Up and down + round and round

  • Back and forth

  • Side to side

Very tricky as you would need to rotate the axle 90 degrees!

Design It

  • Sketch it out on paper.
  • Think about how things are going to fit together and move.
  • Show on your sketch how the automata is going to move.
  • Think about materials and sizes.
  • Label your diagrams.

Badge It - Silver, Gold and Platinum

  • Submit your idea to your teacher to make sure you are on the right lines.
  • Your sketch needs to be clear i.e. can your teacher see how it goes together.
  • Silver


  • For gold it needs to included materials and sizes.


  • For platinum it needs to be a fully clear what you are intended to build.