The Essential Mechanisms are a set of paper mechanisms that you can use as starting points for your own animated paper models. I’m working on a new addition to the set. The Crank/Cam mechanism is based on the mechanism used in the Flying Santa and the Die Fledermaus model. The crank turns one revolution per turn of the handle meanwhile the cam turns at a higher speed. That means that we can have, for example, a flying pig that smoothly moves up and down whiles the wings flutter frantically.

Here’s the first draft of the main mechanism. The three lobed cams drive the cam follower up and down three times for each turn of the crank. The cam follower can then be connected to a set of wings, arms or whatever you choose to bring the model to life. The drive is running a little stiff at the moment so I’ll be making a couple of changes before the next prototype. Meanwhile, why not download one of the other Essential Mechanisms to keep you going while you wait?