Tabletop Octopus Whirligig

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Project by johnhutchinson posted 222 days ago 1248 views 7 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Doe asked how the wind-driven octopus whirligig works, so I’m posting a picture of a work in progress along with a video. This one is a crank-driven tabletop automaton, but the mechanics are the same – a rotating cam progressively displaces extensions of the tentacles below the top of the sea chest.

I’m upping the ante on this one by adding a reciprocating sailor’s hat. Making the cam a wedge, rather than a flat disk, adds vertical movement. As with the outdoor version, the head’s a fence post finial.

My “Menacing Octopus” will look something like this when it’s done.
For now, it’s a bunch of parts in a box. :)

I’m not an automata blogger … yet … but I do subscribe to The Automata Blog by Dug North. Dug’s a good friend and I highly recommend it.

Rob Ives also provides a wealth of gizmo information on his website.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

10 comments so far

View luv2learn's profile


1632 posts in 901 days

#1 posted 222 days ago

John, you are having too much fun. I like it!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View johnhutchinson's profile


506 posts in 227 days

#2 posted 222 days ago

Thanks, Lee.
Too much is never enough … or did I say that already? :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View hoss12992's profile


2458 posts in 491 days

#3 posted 222 days ago

Thanks for the video, it helps alot. Love your creativity and craftsmanship.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Doe's profile


924 posts in 1428 days

#4 posted 222 days ago

A million thanks! I ordered the book you mentioned in your previous post, plus a bunch more. I also subscribed to Dug’s blog and plan on buying some more books. This is going to be fun!

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View Jeffery Mullen's profile

Jeffery Mullen

319 posts in 1415 days

#5 posted 222 days ago

I really like making stuff like this and so I put in my favorite. Later when I get more time I will build one. I am very busy this season hauling food through out Oregon and Washington with not much tine to even to unlock my wood shop and just walk into it. Thanks for posting this what a fun project you have.

View johnhutchinson's profile


506 posts in 227 days

#6 posted 222 days ago

I’m down to the “some assembly required” stage. The hardest part was drilling the vertical hole through the finial for the sailor hat pushrod. I turned that job over to my younger brother—he’s a precision machinist who designs and builds wooden clocks. I work to .01 … he works to .0001 :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View NormG's profile


3987 posts in 1601 days

#7 posted 222 days ago

Looks great

-- Norman

View Randy_ATX's profile


664 posts in 1040 days

#8 posted 222 days ago

Just the skill to create the sketch/video is impressive. Nice work.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4348 posts in 890 days

#9 posted 220 days ago

Cool! Thanks for the blog (which I’ve added to my Bookmarks), and I ordered How to Make Animated Toys after your last post. You keep sharing and I may not be able to afford following your posts. LOL

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

13247 posts in 936 days

#10 posted 220 days ago

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

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