I've taken a few different mechanisms and combined them in this new project. Most of the paper animations that I make complete their story with a single turn of the handle. With this design I'm hoping to have four turns of the handle to make one story. Here's the effect I'm going for: turn the handle and the eagle turns left, faces straight ahead, turns right then faces straight ahead again, each move corresponding to one complete handle revolution.

I'm aiming to make a rather grumpy looking eagle who will look around him and flutter his wings menacingly. The blue shaft will be the main rotating shaft to which the head will be attached.

The Geneva drive makes a nice divide-by-four mechanism. For each turn of the handle the Geneva cross turns a quarter of a turn.

The Geneva cross is then linked to a crank and thence to a scotch yoke. The moving yoke is connected finally via a linkage to an arm protruding from the blue vertical shaft twisting it from side to side. It works well with me holding the parts in place.

The shaft connected to the handle is quite long, you can see it dissapearing behind my index finger in the picture above. Hopefully I'll be able to connect some sort of cam to this shaft and use it to move the eagles wings.

My next step is to mount the whole thing into a single box.

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Sun 11th May 2014

Can't believe I missed this video from friend of the web site, Mr Cool. Check out his take on the Flexibot model. Nice work cool022883

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Download Rockin' Rabbit
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This paper rabbit nods her head driven by a simple pendulum.

Members can download the parts sheet for free at the link, non-members can download for £2.50

The project is on a single sheet and is line only, there is no colour on the parts. I've printed mine out on piece of card preprinted with my recent sprinkles pattern. It also works well with a single sheet of pre-coloured card. You'll need to print out the eyes and tail on white card.

Score all the dashed lines and cut out the parts.

If you are using patterned card, glue a couple of offcuts onto the back of the ears. then cut them out carefully so that the ears are coloured front and back.

Roll round the body and glue it down.

Cut along the two black dart lines to the top of the glue areas.

Fold in and glue down the two darts.

Fold over the arms to make double thickness card ten carefully cut them out.

Glue the arms to the grey areas as shown. The seam on the body is at the back.

Glue together the legs and feet.

Glue the legs to the body.

Make the tail from double thickness card.

Glue the tail to the back of the body.

Glue the neck to the head.

Tuck the neck in and glue it down.

Glue up the nose and glue on the eyes.

You'll need a couple of small coins for this stage. I used UK pennies, one euro cent and one US cent also work well. (20mm diameter 4grams each)

Wrap a scrap of card round the coins and glue it into the bottom of the neck.

Balance the edges of the neck on the edge of the top of the body roughly where the arms are. Move the rabbit slightly and watch her nod!

Try different coloured versions with different coloured card. Have fun!

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Sometimes mechanisms don't do what you expect them to do. Case in point, this little number which I was hoping to use as part of a low profile mechanism to drive the oars of a rowing boat. Despite the fact that it wasn't what I was after, it was still rather interesting. Note how the movement of the hand back and forth is virtually flat despite being drive by a wheel, notice also how the right-left movement is much quicker than the left-right movement. I'm sure it will come in handy for something shortly!

The mechanism is actually a four bar linkage. The four bars aren't immediately apparent so I've marked them up on this image. The baseboard itself makes the first bar linking the wheel to the orange bar. The other less obvious bar is the wheel. It is a fixed length piece that holds two joints at a fixed distance apart, it is still a bar in the mechanism sense even though it is round.

Expect to see this mechanism popping up in a character based automata soon!

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Thu 8th May 2014

This morning Agustín Mateo Rodríguez left the message

" I am 999 ;-) great job Rob"

"Hmm, actually older than that really old guy in the bible..." I initailly thought, until I noticed the 'Likes' on my facebook page. 999! Thanks Agustin! Who will be number 1000?

Anyway, that totally arbritary milestone based on our use of the base 10 numbering system set me off to looking at all my other stats. Here are some of the interesting things I found.

(Facebook Page)


86 followers. Does anyone care to join and swell the figures? At least get me to three digits :-) My Instagram account is a heady mix of pictures of whatever project I'm currently working on, arty pictures of the local area and portraits of fine cups of coffee. How could you possibly resist?


Currently 682 followers. I once read that if you need at least two thousand followers to be taken seriously in the twitterverse. That can't possibly be true can it?


This is a good one! I have 735 subscribers, 80 videos and last time I looked, over half a million views! Thanks everyone!

Email newsletter.

I have two newsletters. One is the weekly or so newsletter with over six thousand subscribers, the second it the subscription feed that sends you a copy of every blog post direct to your email inbox. I have a very gratifying three hundred plus followers on that one. Thanks for your interest everyone! You can sign up for both on the website.

The final stats snapshot shows this last month's webpage visit courtesy of Google Analytics. In the last month I've had roughly a thousand website visitors a day.

The chart here shows how the geographical location of visitors breaks down.

Interesting stuff!

I suppose the most important stat of all, as far a making a living from what I do, is the number of paid subscribers. As it stands at the moment I have a little over two thousand annual subscribers. Thank you everybody, as I keep saying, I literally couldn't run this website without you! If you haven't signed up yet, now is the time!

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Wed 7th May 2014

I've completed my YouTube ident. I'll be splitting this video in half and using it as an intro and outro for upcoming YouTube videos. More details about the prep work for this video here.

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Tue 6th May 2014
Download sprinkles
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Sprinkles! A free pattern to download and print out. The sprinkles pattern originally appeared on top of the Birthday Cake project, this improved version has a range of different of colour schemes to suit different projects.

Non-subscribers can download the blue based pattern for free, paid members can download a file with five different colour schemes including the four shown here. Thanks for signing up!

The picture below shows the Geneva / Crank mechanism with cover parts printed onto a blue sprinkles pattern sheet. In this version the the pattern is printed at double size making the sprinkles twice as large.

Other pattern papers are available here

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I'm working on an ident for my YouTube video, a quick five second clip where I can add subscription links and links to the site.

I'm using the paper lettering that features on the top of the website homepage. In the original version they are made from hollow paper, I remember the construction being rather tricky and the original parts are long lost so I thought that I'd use corrugated card letters to fill the core of the letters giving each one rigidity.

For each letter I cut out three with the corrugations running vertically and three with the corrugations running horizontally.

I then glued them together in an alternating sandwich.

With a solid core it was much easier to make the 3D paper letters.

I then glued each of the words together making two separate units.


Video Storyboard

Here's the plan for my five second video.

The word "ives" slides in from the left...

The word "rob" is place on top.

Paperrob comes in from the top lifting up the ".com" flag as his feet touch the floor.

I'll then complete with a "Subscribe" "Favourite" and "Website" button across the bottom of the screen. Next: filming.

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Sun 4th May 2014

You keep your eye on the forum right? Just in case you missed it though, check out these two recent posts by friend of the web site, Smelter.

The first is a picture entitled Paper Rob's Nightmare and, I think, speaks for itself! Nice work Smelter.

The second , entitled Stand & Deliver feature Smelter in person manning a paper engineering stand at the Barley Model Exhibition. Keep checking back with the forum, it has all sorts of interesting stuff!

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Download Geneva Mech
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Here's an interesting mechanism for you to download and make. The main handle links to a four-step geneva drive. The movement from this is an intermittent quarter turn rotation which is connected directly to a crank.

The result is this curious motion which can be used as the starting point for your own character based paper animations or made simply as a mechanical curiosity.

Members can download the project for free. Click here to sign up! If you are not a member you can download the parts for this project for £2.50 at the link on the top of this post.

Let's get started.

Print out the pages onto thin card (230 micron / 67lb) Score along all the dotted and dashed lines, cut out all the holes then carefully cut out the parts.

Roll up and glue down each of the four paper tubes. Note that each one has a different number of small triangles. You'll need this to identify the correct tube as the model is assembled.

Join the two parts of the box together.

Inside the box, glue in the two box stiffeners. Glue them as close as possible to the holes with one of the flaps tucked under as shown in the picture above.

Fold round and glue together the box.

Make the Geneva stop from double thickness card leaving the centre tabs unglued.

Fold up one of the two short square tubes and fit it into the Geneva cross. Thread the tube with four triangles into the square tube, lining it up with the end of the square tube. A small dab of glue will hold it into place.

Glue the side piece onto the inside of the drive wheel. Make sure that the square holes are lined up with each other. Repeat the process with the other side.

Roll the drive pin up tightly and glue it down.

Fit the drive pin and short square tube into one side of the drive wheel.

Fit the other side of the drive wheel into place.

Glue the drive wheel side to the tabs at one end of the drive wheel.

Work you way round gluing it down onto the rest of the tabs to complete the drive wheel.

Thread the longest tube (five triangles) onto the drive wheel so that it is lined up with the two grey lines.

Fit the Geneva shaft into the lower hole of the box from the side with the small 'x'

Fit the drive wheel into place next to the Geneva cross pushing it fully home.

Assemble the handle in three steps as shown above.

Glue the handle to the drive wheel.

Assemble the two crank sections as shown.

Fold up the medium length square section tube and slide it over the drive wheel tube.

Glue the first of the crank pieces to the Geneva wheel shaft.

Make up the two pushrod ends from double thickness card.

Glue the push rod ends to the end of the push rod and slip the three-triangle tube in place.

Glue together the remaining section of the crank as shown finishing it off with the short two-triangle tube.

Glue together the three pieces of the cover.

Fold up and glue down the two triangular tubes on the lower edge of the cover. Make sure that they are right angled triangles.

Make right angled triangle tubes from the three top sections.

Glue the cover to the box fitting the drive shaft and crank shaft ends into place.

Fold in the four side tabs and glue them to the inside walls of the box and cover.

Assemble the linkage piece.

Join the linkage to the grey area on the push rod as shown.

And there it is complete. Use the completed model as an interesting mechanism or as the starting point for your own charaacter based automata.

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