I was asked to do and online workshop and I came up with an idea for introducing beginners to making moving things. The idea is to build a single “engine” out of cork and wire (possibly a wire clip since they are easy to find) that can be moved back and forth between different contraptions. Building a single one also saves some time during a workshop.
The models can be built out of simple 3″ by 5″ index cards. And it’s nice to use the ones with a grid although they are less common. The grid makes it easy to mark the cuts and bends. The card itself also gives you a platform that can be pressed down with the cork when you are rotating the crank. Here are 3 models:
The first one is simply about turning rotary motion into reciprocating motion, notice how the wire fits into a long slit into the paper:
The second one is about how expressive paper can be with no straight creases, looks like a worm 🪱
And this one is about building a simple 4-arm linkage out of paper using a basic pop-up technique
A little wire bending can yield the next level of complexity with two alternating arms: