THE BEST Automata

Karakuri Mechanical Paper Models

Karakuri Mechanical Paper Models

Karakuri is the Japanese art of making papercraft automata. Originally published in Japan by artist and “paper engineer” Keisuke Saka, this book is filled with designs for fourteen different Karakuri models, including a tea-serving robot and a penguin on an iceberg that moves when you turn its crank. Best for ages 13+.

Tiny Automata

Tiny Automata

Back in 2017, artist Federico Tobon of wolfCat Workshop built a series of 29 tiny kinetic sculptures from wood, wire, and paper, each of which was brought to life by simply turning a crank. There are lots of nifty designs, but the walking man and the creature with spinning eyes at the end are our faves.

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LEGO Cross-country Skier

LEGO Cross-country Skier

LEGO fanatic Jason Allemann continues to add to his collection of sweet brick-built automatons. His latest construction is a mechanized cross-country skier who effortlessly glides across the smooth LEGO snow below his tiny plastic feet.

LEGO Voyageurs Automaton

LEGO Voyageurs Automaton

Jason of JK Brickworks shows off another slick mechanical LEGO build – a canoe being paddled by a pair of brick-built French-Canadian fur traders. Like his other models, it can be hand-cranked or run with a LEGO Power Functions motor. More build details here.

Water Droplet Automata

Water Droplet Automata

Created by designer Dean O’ Callaghan, this wooden kinetic sculpture replicates the movement of a droplet as it splashes into a pool of water. We wonder how much further the design could be taken to add more ripples.

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