Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Contest: Make a mechanical vending machine

Contest: Make a mechanical vending machine
The good folks at the The Kugelbahn Blog have announced a competition! The goal is to design and build a coin-operated vending machine that dispenses small German chocolate bars. The deadline for the competition is January 31st, 2010.

Machine Specifications
The apparatus is to be purely mechanical and hand operated. With the input of a 20ct-coin the machine should output one little chocolate bar. The ALDI Moser-Roth chocolate package (found in Germany) contains 50 pieces measuring 5mm x 35mm x 35mm each, which are cheap and stack well (see the picture above). The coin-acceptor unit is to make possible the chocolate output with one 20ct-coin. Other coins with a smaller diameter should fall into the return area.

For all of the competition details visit KugelbahnBlog starts TINKERING COMPETITION for chocolate vending machines.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hand-cranked mechancial laughing device

Take a look at this beautifully made mechanical laughing machine. The Pink Tentacle web site does such a nice job with the description that I will just quote them (below.) I love this thing!

Description of WAHHA GO GO from Pink Tentacle:
According to the video, WAHHA GO GO is activated by spinning the torso-mounted metal disk (an optional crank arm can be used for greater speed). The disk's rotational energy is transferred to the machine's left and right arms via a gear assembly in the lower back. As the arms rotate, the accordion-like lungs expand upward, drawing in air that is then exhaled through the machine’s artificial vocal cords.

Another set of gear wheels in the spine transfers some of the spinning disk's rotational energy to the head assembly, which includes a pair of tiny arms that stretch and relax WAHHA GO GO's artificial vocal cords (thus regulating the pitch), as well as an arm connected to a valve that controls the flow of air from the lungs. This arm also opens and closes the mouth, which alters the so-called "formant characteristics" (resonant frequency) of the laugh, producing the "wa" and "ha" sounds.

By incorporating a series of mechanisms that work together to control the pitch, resonant frequency, and amount of air supplied to the artificial vocal cords, WAHHA GO GO is able to produce an uncanny human-like laugh.

Here is the original post: Video: Anatomy of WAHHA GO GO.

[ Thanks Joanne! ]

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

1800 Mechanical Movements, Devices& Appliances

1800 Mechanical Movements, Devices&  AppliancesAnother classic from Dover books...

From the product description:
A fascinating compendium of early-20th-century mechanical devices, this expansive work ranges from basic hooks and levers to complex machinery used in steam, motive, hydraulic, air, and electric power, navigation, gearing, clocks, mining, and construction. More than 1,800 engravings include simple illustrations and detailed cross-sections.

Here is a link to 1800 Mechanical Movements, Devices and Appliances (Dover Science Books)

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Del's peg & slot rotary drive with wooden chain

Del never ceases to amaze me with the amazing wooden machines he has built over the years. This one features a nifty drive made up of two discs -- one large one and one small. The large disc has a grooves cut into it that run from the center to the edge. The small disc has thee protruding pegs that engage the grooves and drive the larger wheel. Also of note are the nice wooden chains and sprockets -- one with a chain tensioner!

Check out Del's YouTube channel at

[ Thanks to Art and Del! ]

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Del's Beautiful Wooden Machine - Final Details

I posted a while back about Del Short's Amazing Wooden Contraption. He's added the final details and the machine is now finished.

The best news of all is that he says he has some new ideas and will probably work on them! Personally, I cannot wait to see what this master craftsman comes up with.

I also love the way Del and Art interact. I am putting my vote in for a cable TV show.

[ Thanks Del and Art! ]

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Papercraft Locomotive with Gears

Posted today on locomotive made with paper! This post comes to them (and us) via Neatorama.

Into paper gears? Maybe you want to try to Make Your Own Working Paper Clock.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Video and Images of Wood Machine by Del Short

Wooden Machine Craftsman, Del Short
I posted recently about an amazing wooden machine. I've learned that Del Short is the unassuming master craftsman behind this piece that he describes as "a nutty device".

Not only is the entire device a marvel, but it's held together with pegs and threaded wooden dowels with wooden nuts. It is even built in components, so that it can be worked on in sections. Remarkable.

If the YouTube video didn't satisfy, here is a higher resolution video of Del's Amazing Wooden Machine.

Also, here is a link to a few large photographs of Del's machine, courtesy of Art Maddox.

If you want to get started with this sort of thing (on a more modest scale), check out these books:
* Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood
* Making Wooden Mechanical Models
* Making More Wooden Mechanical Models

[ Thanks Del and Art! ]

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Amazing Wooden Machine Video with No Metals

With the exception of Brad Litwin's piece entitled Extra-Universal Movement, I don't know if I've seen such an elaborate hand-cranked wooden machine. This gentleman has constructed an amazing device using only wood and glue -- no nails, no screws or ball bearings. It is quite an achievement. It is my sincere hope I'm doing things like this at 70 years old. Bravo!

[ Thanks Falk! ]

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Video of Clever Mechanical Matchstick Lighter

While not as complex as this match-lighting alarm clock, check out this simple, but effective little device for lighting a wooden match.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

The Harmonium: Amazing Analog Gear Computer

The Harmonium - Analog Computer
I won't pretend to understand everything this thing is capable of, but from what I can tell it is able to print out various sine functions (like a graphing calculator) but does so by a purely mechanical means.
The Harmonium - Analog Computer
I gather that you can do two things with the machine. First, the machine will produce various sine waves for you on paper after you set values for the amplitude and phase angle. Second, in a reversal of this process, you can trace a curve and use Fourier analysis to extract the phase and amplitude of the curve.

The Harmonium is the invention of 64-year-old Dutch inventor -- Tatjana van Vark -- who has been building complex gadgetry since she was 14.

Here's a link to a site about The Harmonium Analog Computer which has tons of gorgeous photographs of the device. This info comes to me by way of the Retro Thing blog.

Thanks bhaaluu!

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