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Big Bean Goose

Average: 5 (4 votes)

Back in 2006 I designed this Big Bean Goose for my friend Hal Faruta of Molen Co. The Big Bean Goose is the symbol of the Japanese city Agano, near to where Hal-san lives. He commissioned me to designed the model on behalf of the Agano district.

Hal-san has a fabulous collection of automata from all sorts of makers, check out his Instagram Feed here. It's full of wondrous pictures and animations.

Paper Swan to download and make.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

The Swan project from the previous post was one that was originally commissioned by my good friend Haru-san from Molen Co. It looks like it is no longer available on the original website. The good news is that nothing ever completely disappears from the Internet. Smelter was good enough to track it down on the internet archive, follow this link to download the parts and instructions. The file is in Japanese but even if you are not a native speaker you should easily be able to follow the illustrations and make your own swan.

This image was originally posted on my Instagram Feed

Flying Swan Video by Michael42er

Average: 5 (3 votes)

I've been rather busy with website updates and then fixing website updates and then chasing down tricky website issues. As a result I've neglected to share some of the delightful images and video that I have been sent in by subscribers. The level of website firefighting seems to have calmed down considerably of late so I'll be going back through my emails and the comments on the site and making sure that I bring proper attention to some of the fine work I've been sent. Starting off with this little treat by perennial favourite Michael42er who has adapted the Crank Cam mechanism and the Swan models from the site and added a figure to make this little gem. (It looks like the swan has vanished from the its original site, here's a link from web.archive tracked down by Smelter.) 

Check out the YouTube video of the model in action!

Paper Alphabet to Download and Make

Average: 4 (4 votes)

Available now for everyone to download for free! Print out and make your own alphabet!


Use the letters to make your own 3D message.


Also available uncoloured shortly. Print them onto white or coloured card or decorate them with your own designs. Check out the Brother Int site for download details.

Paper Alphabet Coming Soon

Average: 5 (1 vote)


As easy as ABC! I'm just finishing up a new project for Brother Int. The last of the letters have been assembled...


Just the photography to do. Check back soon for details of how to download the entire alphabet.

Flying Fish Prototype

Average: 5 (4 votes)

Time to try adding an animated character to the Crank/Cam project! For this rough and ready prototype I put together a simple Flying Fish model. I cut out two identical fish shaped sides and glued them together at the nose and tail. I then glued the fish body to the top of the main push rod.


The fins/wings are made from double thickness card. To make the joint as flexible as possible I slotted the wings through a hole in the body side then glued on strips to stop the wings falling out.


You can see where I have tried different attachment points for the wing push rod. It worked best with the push rod close to the body.


The other end of the wing push rods are connected to the crank driven slider tube making the wings flap quickly as the handle is turned. The result works a treat! I will probably make this into a downloadable project shortly.

Crank/Cam Prototype - Almost Complete

Average: 5 (4 votes)

I've completed the layout of parts for this Crank/Cam Essential Mechanism. The final tweaks to the cam profile have made the finished mechanism run beautifully smoothly. As the handle is turned the main orange push-rod traces out an almost circular path above the box top.


The pink cams move the yellow cam follower up and down on the push rod three times for each turn of the handle.


The mechanism will make a really interesting starting point for your own paper animation characters, especially as a flying model where the character's wings flap briskly and the character rocks back and forth. Next step, assembly photography then I'll release the completed kit.

Prototype Crank/Cam Essential Mechanism.

Average: 5 (3 votes)

The Essential Mechanisms are a set of paper mechanisms that you can use as starting points for your own animated paper models. I'm working on a new addition to the set. The Crank/Cam mechanism is based on the mechanism used in the Flying Santa and the Die Fledermaus model. The crank turns one revolution per turn of the handle meanwhile the cam turns at a higher speed. That means that we can have, for example, a flying pig that smoothly moves up and down whiles the wings flutter frantically.


Here's the first draft of the main mechanism. The three lobed cams drive the cam follower up and down three times for each turn of the crank. The cam follower can then be connected to a set of wings, arms or whatever you choose to bring the model to life. The drive is running a little stiff at the moment so I'll be making a couple of changes before the next prototype. Meanwhile, why not download one of the other Essential Mechanisms to keep you going while you wait?