Tortoise and Hare Automaton


Over winter break from work I built a "Tortoise and Hare" automaton, based on the nursery tale. I used some of my 3D printed automaton parts that I used in my "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon" automaton, refining them slightly.

Again, the automaton was housed in an upcycled cigar box. These boxes are well made, inexpensive, and are the perfect size for a small, hand-held automaton.

This automaton used an oblong cam, a round cam, a round cam follower, and a pivot to produce two different movements from the hand-cranked mechanism.

The parts were 3D printed in ABS at .3mm layer height, 10% infill.



The tortoise and hare models were remixed to size them and to add an attachment for the dowels.



I used square dowels to insure that the cams do not slip. The pivot is connected to a push pin.




The grass obscures the dowels a little and adds to the narrative of the automaton. It was programmed in TurtleArt then imported into Tinkercad for extrusion and sizing.






I decoupaged the cigar box with the TurtleArt blades of grass design. I printed the design on an inkjet printer then put it into the freezer overnight so it would not smudge when I put the Mod Podge on it.


The finished automaton is whimsical and fun to play with! The box top slides open to reveal the mechanism, or can be kept closed to preserve the mystery of the movement.





The movements complete the narrative: the tortoise plods along while the hare spins freely on the cam and gets nowhere fast.

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It was fun to revisit the nursery tale theme for automaton inspiration. I had fun with my first decoupage project and can see doing more of this fun craft. The 3D printed parts I developed earlier were helpful in rapidly constructing this project. 

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