One of our guiding principles this year is simplicity. We want to make a working mechanical ice sculpture, but we want the design to be simple enough that we can actually build it without compromising the design during construction. One way to gauge complexity is by counting mechanical parts such as axles and gears (I'm not counting bushings).
In our first year, we attempted to build a mechanical ice sculpture with 25 mechanical parts (9 independently moving assemblies). We failed but managed to assemble 6 mechanical parts (2 independently moving) almost functionally. In our second year, we attempted 22 mechanical parts (11 independently moving) and succeeded in building a functional mechanical sculpture of 5 mechanical parts (2 independently moving).
This year we hope to construct a sculpture consisting of only 8 mechanical parts (3 independently moving). I think this is an attainable goal. With the experience we now have under our belts, I believe we can produce a few more working parts than last year.