make a zoetrope!

May 2012

I initially developed this workshop for Scitech‘s school holiday program in January 2012 and ran it again for Propel Youth ArtsNational Youth Week in April. I love this workshop so much because once the kids understand the mechanics of the stroboscope and moving image, they go wild with ideas. The constraints of a 13 frame loop allows them to complete at least one animation and see it in action with time to start developing a second. By the time they have to go home, they have  a full understanding of the animation process and a kit to practice with.

I was interested in animation at an early age, but pursued illustration instead, not seeing an obvious facility or incentive to do the tedious re-drawing. I had seen zoetropes and praxinoscopes and phenakistoscopes in museums and exhibitions but never thought of them as something I could take home! I started working on various iterations of the zoetrope kit in late 2011. Many designs were for lasercutter and some even had handles and gears. When a deal fell through just before my first workshop with Scitech I was forced to come up with an incredibly simple and fast design that could be made with cardboard and wire. I managed to make 30 kits in a day. Of course the zoetrope was a popular toy in the early 20th C and there are kits out there; but as far as I can tell my design is sturdy, easy to repair and replicate, and spins for much longer.

Here is an instructable on how to make one yourself!

 

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