Step by Step Writing Automaton Assembly

posted Apr 23, 2020, 11:39 PM by Shasa Bolton

If you have yourself Skrippy writing automaton kit, you can now follow along step by step with me in this video as you put it together. I hope this makes all the steps nice and clear for you. Don't hesitate to contact me if you need some help. 



How My Writing Automaton Works

posted Apr 7, 2020, 10:03 PM by Shasa Bolton

YouTube Video

I often get asked how to go about designing a writing machine. I finally got around to making a video explaining the mechanisms inside of my writing automaton kit. "Skrippy".

Skrippy was designed to be an improvement on my first writing machine Scriblo.

My criteria for this writing machine were to make it smaller with less parts, easier to assemble, fit all of the information on one cam and to give it more of a character. I was able to make it smaller by using two fishing-line cables to pull the gimbal about each axis. These cables attach to levers with cam followers which each follow a different half of the single cam’s profile. Rather than a spring loaded writing surface, I allowed the pencil to slide freely in it’s mounting and added weights to increase the pressure on the page. I made this machine to depict a small kangaroo as he comes from Tasmania, Australia, where I live along with many wallabies. He is called Skrippy and comes with a cam to write the word “yes” as well as some blank cams and software to create your own small word or picture. My girlfriend is the test dummy for my design instructions and made one that writes “70” for her father's 70th birthday.

I hope this slightly technical video is of any help to people who would like to design their own writing machine. Other wise you can always order a Skrippy Kit with all of the parts ready to assemble.


Memory Palace Mechanisms

posted Dec 15, 2019, 5:20 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Dec 15, 2019, 7:42 PM ]

My long term automata project is almost ready to share with you!
But for now, here is a sideline project exploring mechanisms of human memory.

What if I told you that The Very Hungry Caterpillar and all he ate, actually encoded the periodic table?

And that Hairy Maclary and his friends encoded the location of notes on the musical staff.

If you remember those stories as well as I do, you'd now be saying 
"Thank you Mum for reading me those children's books."

Sorry but as far as I know, those great children's stories won't actually serve you now as as adult with that useful information.

But that is the Idea behind the Memory Land series of children's books I have started writing.

Here is the first book in my Memory Land series that uses ancient memory techniques to plant stories in kids heads that they can later use as adults. This book encodes the notes in the musical staff.
It is now up on Amazon as a kindle ebook and a paperback.

My sister is about to have a baby, so I thought I better get cracking with some STEM experiments for this lovely plastic little new brain.

My book is inspired by the ancient Greek practice of memory palaces. You may have heard that our brains have specific place cell neurons which we use for processing information about spacial locations. The ancient Greeks knew that we could utilize these neural processes for efficiently storing information.

For example...
You might mentally store each item of a shopping list in sequential locations around your home. Each with a little story about why it is in that location. The weirder the story the better. Make it graphic, give it smell, texture, sound etc.
Later when you are at the supermarket, you will take a mental walk around your home and retrieve each item on your shopping list.

My first book in this (Memory Land) series is called
Mr Note and the Tower of Treble Clef
The story serves as a memory palace mnemonic for learning the notes on a musical staff.

So here's the blurb...

Do you effortlessly remember all of the characters from your childhood story books?

What if I told you that those characters actually encoded useful information that you can now use as an adult?

What if they served as a mnemonic for remembering the names of notes in musical notation?

Give your child the gift of reading music, while simultaneously reading them a fun and whimsical story. They won't even know they are learning. This is not just a book for children. Its powerful method works for parents and people of all ages. Follow Mr Note in Memory Land as he journeys through the Tower of Treble Clef, meeting ridiculous characters along the way.

click here to see it on amazon as paperback or a kindle ebook

I'm curious to hear how this story method works for you.

Have a great Christmas


Studio in a box

posted Dec 18, 2018, 5:44 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Dec 18, 2018, 5:50 PM ]

Ever wished you could fit your studio in a box and take it traveling? I had the pleasure of restoring and converting two old steamer trunks from the early 1900's into mobile art studios. 

These 2 Art Carts were commissioned for the Creature Tales Arts and Entertainment day sailing program onboard Spirit of Tasmania. 
These traveling trunks are complete with drawers, wardrobe and writing desk.
Here's a video...

Mechanism Inside a Traditional Singing Bird Automaton

posted Jan 17, 2018, 7:42 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Jan 17, 2018, 8:16 PM ]

Hi Shasa here
I've made you a video explaining how the mechanism inside a traditional singing bird automaton works. This is a piece in my mechanical gallery. Something very similar inspired me to set up my mechanical gallery and to make a simpler singing bird kit for people to put together themselves, 
(available here Tweet Kit)

You can purchase a traditional singing bird cage like mine from

Thanks for watching.

Inside My Little Bird Factory

posted Dec 7, 2017, 10:27 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Dec 7, 2017, 11:01 PM ]

Hi There

Sunshine and solitude streaming through the workshop window, an elegant, engaging project and intriguing podcasts on consciousness or free will murmuring in the background, these all make for a happy Shasa. I've been trying to make a habit of filming some of my workshop time to share with you. This week I turned my workshop into a little bird factory. 

I thought I'd better create a few more of my popular Hummingbird doorknockers in time for Christmas. Here is some footage of the making process. 

Now if you're still in need of a quirky Christmas gift, you can grab one on my webpage here

I've put another one of my original songs behind it. It's not quite about hummingbirds, but close enough. You can listen to the whole song here.

Thanks for watching, please like the facebook page if you feel so inclined...

Shasa Bolton Automata Showreel

posted Nov 20, 2017, 5:54 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Nov 20, 2017, 7:40 PM ]

Hi there!

I've made a showreel video of my work.
It's a quick blur of some of the mechanical sculpture projects I've worked on over the last few years. I was surprised to realize how many times birds or wings seem to feature.They are mostly...

 Automata / Mechanical Sculpture / Animatronics

You can find more detailed videos of each machine on my Project Gallery page.

Did you like the song? I wrote it one morning while looking at pigeons on the university library. I though it would be nice to be a pigeon for the day. No more assignments, I could poo on the library, and go flying around the world. you can download it from my CD here

Thanks for watching 

Like the Facebook page to stay up to date with things I'm working on.

Contraption Cart Demo

posted Nov 9, 2017, 3:36 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 4:17 PM ]
Here's the short video of my mobile market cart of Automata and Contraptions. 
It's made as a series of interchangeable boxes so I can swap in and out new machines as I make them. Press the buttons to watch the machines move. There are flat pack Automata kits in the cupboards which you can put together yourself.

The current set up is displaying Tweet, a singing bird Automaton clock, Wing Mech 1, a flapping machine, and Skrippy a writing Automaton that you can make write your own words and pictures.

The cart had it's debut at the Tasmanian Craft Fair this weekend, and was well received. I'm looking forward to making more mechanical sculptures to add to it, then taking it around to a few more events. Keep up to date by liking my facebook page and subscribing to my video newsletter.

Hummingbird Door Knocker

posted Aug 17, 2017, 10:05 PM by Shasa Bolton   [ updated Aug 17, 2017, 10:09 PM ]

Only once have I had the joy of seeing a real life hummingbird. They don't live here in Australia, but I spied one at fisherman's wharf San Fancisco. It blew my mind with its agility, robotic like precision and incredible tininess. This is my take on the traditional wood pecker door knocker. I sculpted the bird in wax then cast it in pewter. I laser etch the wooden mounting into Tasmanian Oak veneer then finish it off with one of my handmade glass beads.

Give it a pull and the hummingbird dips into the flower giving a tap to alert anyone in the room behind the door.

A novel and useful artwork, for your toilet, office or front door if your house is not too large.

by Shasa Bolton

You can order one here

Musical Marble Tree

posted Apr 25, 2017, 5:43 PM by Shasa Bolton

I have redesigned the ever popular marble tree. It is now a small flat pack kit, easily posted and assembled.

Available here

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