Part 1: Arduino Examples
Initially I forgot that the switch had to be tied to GND with a resistor, and because of that the LED would have erratic behavior. I wasn't sure which resistor to use, but I assumed that none of the resistors in the kit would enable to blow up my Arduino, so they were likely all safe to use. After putting a resistor to GND, it worked as expected.
Fortunately, the circuitry didn't change for the rest of the examples; it was only a difference in code, so the rest was easy and predictable.
Part 2: Automaton
My goal was to make an automaton that would have to bear-cat-mouse (or "Squeak-Gui"s) come out of a "bush" repeatedly, like they're checking to see if the coast is clear to come out.
Above is the sketches and planning of the device.
The main mechanism is a piston-like motion, as seen below.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work, and I think fixing the problem would be beyond the means of its current design (a lot of it has to do with the size of the piston, the fact that there's too much friction for the gears to smoothly drive them up and down, and more). Even this was a fix from an early iteration, where the gears merely ripped off the peg from the piston rather than driving it down (due to the fact that it was glued on and not forced in like it is now). Using literal hand power (by manipulating each component), the automaton kind of works, but otherwise I would call this round a failure too.
Here lies the remains for the first iteration :(
And this is all the wood I cut.
Of this entire processing, I can say I'm proud that I managed to make a component that could lock two pieces of wood together, inspired by the locking mechanism Prof. Myers demonstrated in Class 3.
It worked, but it proved not to be a good way to put gears in place. I'd like to make a "glue-less" automaton in the future, but that will take a lot more research to get it right.
One trick I found useful was engraving numbers on to pieces, so they were easier to identify.
I can say a lot of this automaton project was inspired by how Lego Technic sets work; I feel there is a lot to learn from how those sets are made.