I hope you'll enjoy seeing a bit of the behind the scenes operation that takes place in the workshop of this interesting and self-taught engineer, artist, and musician.
The Making of a Steampunk Valentine
Brad's first step is to create an illustration that he prints on adhesive paper and adheres to high-density paperboard.
The first few MechaniCards prototypes were cut by hand with a #11 razor knife, including the gears. Now he uses a computer-controlled, high precision, CO2 laser cutter/engraver.
Including the rivets, crank, and corrugated mailer or wooden display box, this Valentine model has 48 parts that are assembled in a reliable, repeatable way.
Where slot and tab assembly isn’t practical, custom gluing jigs are made to accommodate precise parts placement. Design of these can be a challenge due to irregularly shaped parts. All of the glued assemblies are put together with high viscosity cyanoacrylate.
Forgive me... I've made the executive decision to skip ahead many steps to the happy ending where one gear smoothly turns another and another - a hand crank is rotated, the panes cross, and a Be Mine message appears. Sweet!
Brad signs and numbers each card, glues it to either a wooden display box or corrugated mailer, includes simple operating instructions, and sends it on the way to a special someone.