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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.

Client feedback

  • In Engineering, you will be making products to solve problems for a person or a company.
  • When researching and designing a product, you must include the client (person or company) which you are making the product for.
  • This will help personalise the product to suit the client.
  • Once you have completed your design, pass it to the person sitting next to you and ask them to provide feedback. This could include, what they like or don't like about the product, any improvements you could make, any changes needed to solve the problem and any parts of the design left out that are still needed.
  • Please use a different colour pen/pencil to show this is the client feedback.
  • Please be respectful when writing on other peoples work.

Badge It - Silver, Gold and Platinum

  • Submit your idea to the silver badge on, you teacher will decide if your drawing can move up to gold or platinum.
  • 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.