A new automata salutes Canada's furry woodworker.
SHOP OWNER: Charles Mak
LOCATION: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A self-taught automata maker, I labored about eight hours from design and research to production on my latest creation. I named it, "Proudly Canadian", in a kinetic sense. It is definitely the pride of my automata collection.
As one can see, there are three Canadian symbols in this automaton. First, our emblem, the beaver. Second, the less obvious Canada map - the cam follower attached to the crankshaft is cut in the outline of a map of Canada. And finally, a nickel, our five-cent coin featuring a beaver on it. The main wood used in this piece was recycled from a discarded pallet.
The buck-toothed beaver is partly credited with much of Canada's exploration and development. In the 1600s, to feed European demands for fashionable beaver pelt hats, explorers went into the wilderness to trap beavers and trade with Aboriginal peoples. In the process, many of the first Canadian towns were established! The beaver is famous enough to grace our nickel and receive official Canadian emblem status.
This automaton has two concurrent actions when the crank handle is turned clockwise or counterclockwise, in this case. First, the food it is holding in its mouth shakes, imitating chewing action (beavers are vegetarians) and second, its tail moves up and down. Because of the irregular shape of the cam follower, the actions are irregular too. In other words, the tail, for example, doesn't move up and down in a consistent manner, but rather follows the profile of the map outline.
Anyone could easily adapt this to make their own mechanical sculptures based on their own country or province / state, etc.. . . Charles Mak
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