Sunday, April 11, 2010

DIY hand-cranked geared string winding machine

video
One dedicated reader of The Autoamta / Automaton Blog made this cool prototype string-winder contraption. It makes a center-pull ball of string with a diamond pattern. To generate the gear profiles, he used Matthias Wandel's Gear Template Generator.

Here is a nice schematic drawing of the device followed by an explanation.
DIY hand-cranked string winding machine

From bhaaluu's description:

The hand-crank turns a 30-tooth peg-wheel gear which drives a 10-tooth peg wheel gear. The 10-tooth peg-wheel gear spins on a fixed vertical shaft. connected via a wooden tube to the spindle head, which rotates at a 3:1 ratio. At the top of the fixed vertical shaft is a 15-tooth spur gear. It is fixed to the vertical shaft and doesn't move. At the base of the spindle tube is a 42-tooth spur gear which rotates on it's own axis, which is tilted at an angle. As the spindle tube rotates around the vertical shaft, the 42-tooth spur gear rotates. The spindle tube, a heavy-walled cardboard tube, is connected to the 42-tooth spur gear, so every time it turns around the fixed vertical shaft, it rotates. This is what gives the diamond pattern. This string winding contraption is a prototype.

[ Thanks bhaaluu! ]


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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leonardo's: Machines in Motion exhibit, Nebraska

There is an exhibit that looks simply amazing titled "Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion" at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. The models for the exhibit are gorgeous and nearly all of the displays are interactive. The Leonardo exhibit runs through May 9th, 2010.

Here's info on the Leonardo exhibit at the Strategic Air & Space Museum web site.

[ Thanks Rusty! ]


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Sunday, February 07, 2010

The whimsical machines of Edmund Dohnert

The finely crafted & whimsical machines of Edmund Dohnert
Edmund Dohnert designs machines that are meant to be amusing celebrations of mechanical movement. Shown here is a piece titled Victor Rat Trap No. 3.

The artist describes this machine:
In a deliberate escalation beyond Victor Rat Traps Nos. 1 and 2, this one is powered by not one, but two rat traps! Both springs are connected by a steel rod, which is attached to a Swiss cheese-like structure that has a cord wrapped around its edge. (The "cheese" is mounted off-center so as to even out the pull on the cord over the full range of the springs' travel.)

This cord pulls the springs back, and through an arrangement of pulleys, connects to a crank-wound gearbox on the right. The gearbox's output shaft connects to a vertical shaft running through a support structure, on top of which is a 'planetary gear' arrangement with two hollow spheres attached.

When the vertical shaft rotates, not only do the "planets" rotate about their own individual axes, they also orbit around the central shaft (hence the origin of the term 'planetary gear'). Connected to the main gearbox is a second gearbox that operates a small fan which not only helps control the speed of the machine through air resistance, it creates a unique whirring sound.

While the machine only runs for about 30 seconds, it's quite interesting to watch, for the movement is reminiscent of a medieval astronomical orrery.

See more amazing mechanical creations from Edmund Dohnert on his web site.


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Solar Flier: solar-powered desktop airplane

Solar Flier - Solar-powered desktop airplane
This tiny airplane model is equipped with solar panels built into the wings. When sunlight (or any bright light) shines on the airplane, the solar cells generate electricity to turn the propeller. This causes the little plane to fly in circles around its base.

From the product description:
The Solar Flier makes a perfect gift for anyone who enjoys flight or is curious about the solar power generation process. A dynamic executive or teacher gift, you cannot go wrong with this new great invention from Fascinations.

Here's the link to the Solar Flier, solar-powered desktop model Airplane.


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Birthday of Eli Whitney Jr., Inventor

There is a tribute on the Make Magazine Blog to this American inventor.

From the Make Blog:
"On this day in 1765, Eli Whitney, Jr. was born in Westborough, Massachusetts. Whitney would go on, most famously, to invent the cotton gin, which revolutionized cotton production in the antebellum South. He eventually became the most famous early American proponent of interchangeable parts, and also invented one of the world's first milling machines."

Here's the Make Magazine post about Eli Whitney.


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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ingenious marble manipulating machine

From the clever mind of Osamu Kanda: take a look at this hand cranked marble-moving machine. It looks as though the blocks on top can be reconfigured to cause the marbles to follow different paths.

See more of Osamu Kanda's kinetic creations on his web site.


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

'The Machine' - mechancial animation short film

Check out the Machine, a stop motion animated film short from director Rob Shaw. The director informs me that the work was highly inspired by mechanical theatre. It shows!

See more films by Rob Shaw on his blog.


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The dangers of an automated snuff machine

Check out this wooden mechanical snuff delivery device. It is ingenious in a sinister sort of way. Let this poor fellow's experience be a lesson to us all!


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Acra Mill Plus - create your own mini machine shop

Acra Mill Plus - create your a mini machine shopThe Acra Mill was designed to help model makers perform a wide range of tasks from sanding, grinding, and polishing to machining small pieces to with precision tolerances. The Acra Mill holds a Dremel or similar rotary tool. The Acra Mill comes ready to use. There are many configurations and accessories. If you are tight on space and work with small parts, this is an option to consider.

Here is where you can learn more about the nifty Acra Mill Plus (Warning: ALL CAPS AHEAD).


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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Proxxon precision mini-lathe - 30 lbs of awesome

Proxxon 34004 PD 230/E Lathe
The Proxxon Lathe PD 230/E can be used to perform precision turning on plastics, steel, brass and aluminum. It boasts a lot of very nice features for such a small lathe.

From the manufacturer's description
Comes complete with automatic feed, thread cutting capability, headstock chuck, live center and top slide for taper turner. It may be used to part, turn, and cut tapers. The numerous optional accessories add the versatility you need to complete all your miniature projects. Weight approximately 30 pounds and dimensions approximately 21inches by 9.8 inches by 5.9 inches. Has features of full sized lathe and can be packed away after each use. Practical hand wheel with zero adjustable scales 1 division = 0.001 (0.025 millimeter) 1 revolution equals .04 (1 millimeter). Combination of 3 speeds and additional electronic speed control allowing speeds from 100 to 3000 rpm are among the many features standard on this precision lathe.

OK, so I'll add this to my wishlist: the Proxxon 34004 PD 230/E Lathe


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill: small, green & awesome

Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill
Oh, make no mistake: I want one of these.

From the Amazon.com Product Description
Proxxon micro mill MF 70 - This small and beautiful unit is ideal - the accurate mill for lab, optician, jewelry, electronic and model building projects. Mill is made with a cast iron base. The vertical column and compound lathe are treated, high quality aluminum. All axes are play-free and have adjustable slides. The headstock, made of die cast aluminum, houses 24 pole balanced special motor and provides stability even at high operating speeds. This stability facilitates the use of the finest cutters.

Here's the link for more info on the Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill



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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Del's wooden escapement drive machine

Del has shared with us a wonderful wooden machine he built around 1985. This is a nice example of a mechanism that converts reciprocating motion into circular motion via a ratchet mechanism. The really cool thing about his particular design is that it does not matter which direction you turn the crank -- the ratchet will always rotate in the same direction. Very clever.

If you would like to communicate with him directly, visit Del's YouTube channel.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Simple machines: 4-in-1 hydraulic machines set

4-in-1 Hydraulic Machines Construction Kit
This kit lets aspiring engineers and tinkerers of all ages build four simple machines that explore the mechanics of hydraulics. This set allows you to build a Platform Lifter, Scissor Lift, Cherry Picker, and Excavator.

Each working model uses water as the hydraulic fluid, comes with pre-cut wood pieces, and instructions. You supply the white glue and the time to put them together.

Here's the full product listing for the 4-in-1 hydraulic machines set.


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Del's First Wooden Machine, circa 1982

Here is a video demonstrating Del Short's earlier wooden mechanical device, made back in 1982. High-maintenance, but no-less amazing.

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