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An automaton by Walter Ruffler, showing a boy or man flying a kite. There are three movable parts in this scene, the kite, the kite-flyer's head and the kite-flyer's arms. A crank drives the kite, while a friction-wheel assembly drives the man's head. The arms just follow the kite's motion, though of course the impression is just the opposite, i.e. the man seems to control the kite through the lines.
I built the model straight from the sheets but improved somewhat upon the kite. I also added two more stiffeners to the horizontal friction wheel and glued them to the shaft bluntly, without gluing tabs. Lastly, I made the arms movable individually. As usual with Walter Ruffler's models, everything fit perfectly, came with clear instructions and was not difficult to build.
Maybe this is the Walter Ruffler model I like best, so far. It moves beautifully and shows a scene I like a lot.
(Click image to show it in large size in a new window.)
|Side view and a view that is a bit more from the kite-flyer's perspective.|
|Two more views. When you turn the crank, the kite makes an elliptical motion, and the kite-flyer's head moves to follow the kite. His arms also move as they direct the kite across the sky.|
|Close-up views of the mechanism. The drive shaft has two bearings; it drives the crank that moves the kite and also a friction-wheel assembly that moves the kite-flyer's head. This motion is limited by two arresters glued to the base plate. The arms just follow the motion transmitted by the kite control lines.|
|I built my own kite because I liked none of the two kite options offered in the kit very much (see image below). The delta kite seemed a bit small, and the standard kite too dull.|
|Close-up of the sportsman flying the kite; I messed up the cap, but painted with acrylic paint it looks just fine. The image to the right shows the two kite options offered in the kit.|
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, last change 2011-03-12