San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Catch the Victorian spirit of ingenious and fantastical mechanical invention by making a low-tech automaton controlled by cams, cogs and levers. There won’t be a microchip in sight!
Using pre-made components, participants will construct a basic crank and camshaft-powered mechanism. This skeletal mechanism is the experimental springboard to design and create an automaton powered by hand. It can be hacked around in any way - and more complex mechanisms built-on.
A variety of mechanical parts, construction and decorative materials will be provided. Please bring a bag of bits and pieces (nothing heavy though!). Tins, small boxes, odd little bits of wood, small old toys, curious found objects and old Xmas tree baubles – or anything that could be used to create whacky kinetic designs – are all good!
Creative ideas will most likely by sparked by playing around with the movements and harnessing their intrinsic characteristics. Fantasy, mischievousness and experimentation will be the order of the day.
About workshop leader Stephen Guy
Stephen has been involved with automata for many years, having first discovered them at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre when it had a permanent home in London’s Covent Garden.
He specialises in devising automata workshops for museums, science centres, colleges and schools - including London’s Science Museum, the V&A, the Design Museum - and of course Cabaret. He has run experimental mechanical theatre courses at Rose Bruford College, and co-founded Fire the Inventor to promote the culture of making.
His fascination with automata is rooted in the alliance of free artistic licence with the discipline of engineering, and the idea of machines as performers and entertainers. Best of all, he likes how – with a little ingenuity and an open mind – the simplest mechanisms can produce amazing results. Check out one of his past workshops here.
We will be providing a hot lunch from Pancho’s Burritos – please let us know if you have any dietary requirements when booking.
Ye Olde Hack Day is part of ‘The Ghosts of St Pauls’ - a series of MadLab events about the history of the Northern Quarter, supported by an ‘All Our Stories’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). All Our Stories is a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – and is designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups are carrying out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.
When & Where
Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab) is a grassroots innovation organisation, based in Manchester UK. Our primary areas of focus are science and technology; arts and culture.
We support a diverse range of communities and activities – from monthly meetups and courses through to public experimentation with new & emerging technologies, and collaborating with others to deliver new, interesting and exciting projects.
Our courses are learning for doers. Every one of our courses, whether it's electronics or coding, writing or making, is powered by the same magic. Bring your curiosity and a little bit of imagination, and we'll amaze you with what you can do!
Our main base of operations is a three-storey, 3000 square foot Industrial Revolution-era former weavers’ cottage centrally located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. We are less than ten minutes walk from Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria train stations, and just two minutes walk from the Arndale Shopping Centre. For directions, please see our website: http://madlab.org.uk/find-us/