There are some excellent resources on the web make good use of the following links:-

You will need to install Flash to see the animations on the first site.


You can install quicktime by clicking on this icon.

Cabaret Mechanical Automata
Very good for mechanisms - look at the animations and try to work out how they are done!

Also worth a visit if you are in Southend


Flying Pig - Automata site - very good for mechanisms.
A commercial site which includes lots of animations showing how mechanisms work


Study the following areas :-

Types of motion - linear, rotary, oscillating, reciprocating

Energy changes

Friction and lubricants

Levers and linkages - Linkages kit Download

The Crank and Slider



Sprockets and chains

Cams - don't forget the snail cam

Muscle wire (Nitinol - This is a smart material)

Systems and Control quizzes