While researching my previous piece on automata, I discovered a great French web site called Robot Factory.
Serge Jupin makes table-top robots. Some are mechanical, some electrical. The common danger in this genre is that the viewer can recognize component as flatware or electric mixer inserts, but Serge manages to obtain unusual parts and he modifies them with a craftsman's touch. There are exceptions, but most of his works look like they were machined to order.
When he does work in familiar items, such as in his lava lamp robot, the originality of the idea is exhilarating.
Serge's site is organized such that I would have to copy a huge page of robots if I wanted illustrations, so I wrote him and he graciously agreed to supply some individual photos. This gives us some eye-candy here but you mustn't miss seeing the site, which is beautiful and clever and screams of a madman's workshop. These are mere snapshots to the site's wonders, and anyway, you'll want to see them in action.
I have a robot. He is about four inches tall and apparently mass-produced, but of pleasing quality. I was rummaging through an interesting dumpster one afternoon when I noticed a pile of sand at the bottom. I climbed down and ran my fingers through it, and out came my robot. He keeps me company by my computer. If anyone recognizes him, please let me know the details of his origin.
Serge Jupin is now based in London.
Top: Caroline. Bottom: Ying and Yang [sic]. Center: My dumpster robot.