Editor's Note: The following is the final installment in a
series of two articles. Part
1 can be found in Volume 3, Issue 1.
automaton, entitled Kermit the Dog.
a previous article, I discussed the fascinating woodcraft
of automata. In this article, I give a step-by-step explanation
of how to build an automaton and include a detailed plan
that outlines how to make the character described below.
This piece, which on my daughter's suggestion I have called
Kermit the Dog because my character reminded her
greatly of a frog, is adapted from artist Jan Zalud's
Dog That Barks. There are many versions of barking-dog
automata, but I like Jan's the most because of its simple
but clever mechanical design and lifelike result.
Meet the Character
Crank the handle and Kermit charges forward and then retreats
while his mouth opens and closes to mimic a barking motion.
A lever mechanism is used to open and close its mouth.
I used contrasting woods (pine and walnut) for the dog
and the base, and shaped the maple crank handle to resemble