I started by experimenting by making a motor-driven cam and follower mechanism. The up and down motion of the follower was fascinating and I looked at it as a potential story-telling tool.
The box shown here (image tot the right) is all laser cut. The axle and the cams are also laser cut on an acrylic sheet. The followers are made out of thick paper.
The motor's spindle was finally glued onto the axle as the power source to rotate the axle.
COMING UP WITH THE CONCEPT
The follower's motion resembled a dragon's body following a wave - something similar to a huge dancing Chinese dragon.
I imagined sections of the dragon's body on four different followers and with the consecutive up-down motion of the cams, the dragon would like it was flowing.
In line with the prompt's context, I was picturing a dragon cut on a clear piece of acrylic and with LEDs embedded on its features (like scales and eyes).
MAIN IDEA: When the follower reaches the maximum height, the LED's glow up, lighting up the scales or other features of the "clear" dragon.
The dragon came a long way, I guess!
This project still stays amongst one of my favorites and I hope to make a neater version of the Electro-Mechanical dragon in the future.
While this mechanical version is more in my comfort zone, I hope to explore more ways of incorporating simple circuitry into automaton building. Fingers crossed!