The Pactuator: A Clockwork Pacman

Now, this may look like just another steampunk-influenced design, but it goes above and beyond the scope of typical steampunk art in one particular way – it’s functional. This is a clockwork Pac-Man – nicknamed “Pactuator” by its creator, Jonathan Guberman – that chomps away when you turn the crank on its mount.

To get this Pac-Man device to continuously open and close its mouth while the crank is turned, Guberman crafted a mechanism with a five-gear loop that alternates opening and closing. The alternating motion comes from a gear in the middle that has teeth on one side of the gear; for half the turn, it drives the mouth-opening gear and for the other half, it drives the mouth-closing gear. It’s a pretty neat idea, and it means that the crank never has to be turned the opposite way for the closing motion.

clockwork pac man 1

The mechanism itself isn’t the only neat thing about the Pactuator, though – I’m also very impressed with the intricate details on the laser-engraved frame. The frame is meant to look like a Victorian picture frame, except that all of the details are Pac-Man-related. The design features vignettes of all the ghosts in the corners of the frame, power pellets and pac-dots, and there are even cherries adorning this neat work of art.

clockwork pac man 2

The only possible way to improve upon this neat gadget would be to add a spring that could be wound up and left to run on its own, like a metronome or a music box. As it stands, it’s still a really cool and innovative little gadget. It’s always interesting to see how different artists will modify a simple concept and turn it into something completely different.

clockwork pac man 3

For more Pac-Man goodness, be sure to take a look the Pac-Man mobile and Pac-Man bottle opener – and don’t forget to check out this oddly mechanical Pac-Man LEGO Walker.