This fall, I’m running the Autumnal Maker School (AMS). What’s required to be in the school, and to graduate? Make ten things between September 21 and December 21. Preferably useful things, but artistic things work too. I have made a 1) Volvelle, a 2) computer program that calculates the area of a hexagon, a 3) graphic design sample that shows how to make an Egyptian god, a 4) braiding disk, and 5) picture IDs for my school; there was also an 6) art exhibit in there, and guiding a group of students into 7) designing a manufacturing process.  The other day was 8) The Pulley Spinner.  And here’s 9) The mechanism (working!) for a Ratchet (along with some shelves for a pegboard) and the ratchet parts. And then there was 10) a string powered top.

Horizontal to Vertical Cam

 As you can see, I got the second of my mechanisms working.  This time my goal was to get a vertical cam to drive a horizontal cam.  I succeeded.

Along the way I built a box out of scrap wood to act as a stable platform for the V-2-H system.  This turned out uglier than I liked.  Because of the height of the horizontal cam’s initial design, I used a chisel to cut out about half of the ‘roof’ of the box.  This allowed me to continue using the cam; but the change in the geometry of the hole meant that I had to use a vertical-through system for the axle of the horizontal cam, which meant that I needed to rebuild the cam-and-axle combination.

Some of my readers may have no idea what I just said.  So I’ll say it simply: The green circle in the middle of the design on the right rubbed up against the roof of the wooden box, so I chopped out half of the roof.  But that meant that the axle on which the green circle was mounted had too much play- left, right, front and back, and it fell over.  so I had to drill a ‘pit’ into the floor of the box, and put an axle all the way through the green circle (cam), so that it rotated in the hole on the floor, and in the bushing  (tube/hole) in the ceiling of the box.

I started this before school ended, but I didn’t get to finish it.  Now that I know that it can be done, I can teach a group of students to do it in cardboard or similar simple materials.  When I look at the amount of wooden waste that I generated producing this design, though, I kind of shudder.  I assume that kids will produce 2x-3x more waste in the process of producing their design… and it’s just dismaying.

Still, it’s cool.  Once I produce 2-3 more of these things, I’ll try tackling a 2-movement cam or gear system.

Note: the model isn’t glued together in the video, so it looks a little more rough and unfinished than it actually is, or will be.