Mekanikos vs. The Minotaur Automaton by Dug North


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Great job! It’s much more theatrical than a lot of pieces I’ve seen.


@sockdoll Thanks very much! I gave this one a lot of thought and hope it conveys a bit of a story.

Well done! This is beautiful!

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Really great. The under-stage action kind of breaks the fourth wall, revealing the minotaur is an automata, at the same time being an automata . . . way cute.

I bought a how-to book on automata making at Maker Faire, but found it so intimidating! I should look into kits to begin with.

That’s most excellent. If you’re taking questions, what’s the secret to getting the figures bio-mechanical motions so lifelike?

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My guess is that Dug is an alchemist and enchanter as a well as a mechanist, and turns captured hobos into tireless homunculi, forced to perform when the turning of the wheel torments them with electrical shocks.


How I wish I had an extra $10,000 lying around to buy this wonderful contraption!

Beautiful work, Dug. Bravo!

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@stefanjones Thanks for the kind words! Which book did you get? I’d say kits (wood or paper) are a great way to get started.

@Old There is no easy answer to that question. I would say that giving the figures a range of freedom in which to move then applying an input motion that isn’t entirely regular is very important. The two figures above the stage work in this way, while the two below are animated in a more conventional way. I think the difference shows.

I can neither confirm nor deny the alchemist/enchanter speculation at this time.

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@Boundegar I wish you did too! If it turns up in another pair of pants, drop me a line.

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What an amazing build! I love it! And the music was perfect! What was it?

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That’s Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns.

The book was soft cover, spiral bound, with “cabaret movement” in the title. I’m afraid I did little more than browse through it once. So many projects . . .

dug, great to see your work. Followed your blog for many years. Peace. --jsb

Wonderful piece. Love the poster on the wall with the Minotaur plans, and really love the motion of the strongman. Well done.

@stefanjones That’s a great book, no doubt. Its focus is on concepts and techniques. It doesn’t have any start-to-finish plans to follow. Other books do. Check out Making Mechanical Toys by Rodney Peppe, for example.

@John_Barnard Thank you! And, thanks for following The Automata Blog too!

@TantoKowalski Thanks a lot! I try set the scene as well as the one that may have come before it.