Monday, July 8, 2013

Tim Willis

Just recently i saw a foto on a photographer's page, and Friday past, Leon Bibb from WEWS 5 broadcast a goodly piece on Tim Willis, monster car mechanic, builder, and racer. The story was almost five minutes, about triple the length of most local news stories. I have known, Mr. Willis does vehicular work. I did not know, until then, about the robot. 

He is next door to a bus turnaround (now barricaded by plastic orange fencing), and on the other side of Central is Saint Adalbert. I had passed his property a few times. The Fairfax neighborhood bridges East 55 with University Circle, and the two medical behemoths. East 55th is often torn up, and Carnegie has a passel of cameras, and both have too much traffic.

The television story spurred me to see if he had the robot out and about. He did. He was entertaining children, brought by their mothers. They were climbing and investigating the rides. He told them, repeatedly, there is a casket in the one van, "Don't open it". He the adults told, there is a mannequin inside, and they will open it. In a few moments, children screamed and bolted from the van. People, who know him, are respectfully proud that he stays in the neighborhood he grew up in.

His humour (and talent) is joyous, and it brings good feelings to people. He truly enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences. He talks and talks. Someone should schedule him on Letterman, or other national programmes.
In January the work began on this unnamed robot. It took five and a half months to complete, with many nights of work and redesign. The fingers move, by joint. Each finger has three pneumatic cylinders. Robot is made from a quality Pennsylvanian carbon alloy steel. The original feet were too insufficient for support. Straight feet causes one to topple, to walk properly the feet need to be splayed. Robot is six feet wide, wider than the sidewalk. The sword weighs 150 pounds, and officialdom was worried of its sharpness being perilous. [Permits and permission of barely comprehending private and civil bureaucrats were constant obstacles.] Other objects were made for the other hand, and upper arms. Robot also spews fire.

Timothy thinks the robot is lonesome and needs a missus, and perhaps a dog. The mechanical dog would be more complicated.
operating the controls for the robot
As visitors and passing neighbors came and went, Tim greeted, chatted, and gleefully explained, and demonstrated. He tells people, he is 54 and now retired from racing. His energy is almost that of a child. He radiates happiness, and his work pleases and amazes many.

He brings his vehicles to many local neighborhood festivals. Upcoming is the Puerto Rican festival, and a week at the Cuyahoga County Fair.  His biggest local audience is the Patricio parade. The one year he painted some vehicles shades of green for that, for a time they remained so. They have returned to the older paint scheme.
 St. Patrick Cleveland parade 2011
 St. Patrick Cleveland parade 2013
21 October 2009 St. John on East Ninth Street
Tim brought a few of his many vehicles, a couple of times, to offer Richard Lennon travel out of Cleveland. The banner on this trailer reads:
 "Bishop your ride is here
You have got to go"
Cathedral security called the police department. Tim, and his vehicles were told to leave.
But before that, Timothy Willis spoke on the concerns of parishes, and parishioners.

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