Engineering and gagetry



I have been thinking about several discussions and how particularly kinetic art could be engineered for various effects. Trying to avoid things like living hinges or “kerf circles” and sticking with mechanical ideas that the Glowforge precision would make possible perhaps with assistance from things like Inkscape.

Starting from the issue of making carousel horses go up and down my mind wandered far afield to the general issue of ( usually ) hidden structural necessities and going for that “how did they do that look”

Gears of course come easily to mind but there have been many threads about them so I will start with the assumption that they are just “there” though centered , uncentered, and no shaft at all would again be considered as simple options without going into any more depth. Shafts and bearings do have a place as the materials and methods are not discussed much. However my own preference is to stay away from materials the laser cannot cut even if there is little need to do so.

A big consideration in my thinking is bamboo skewers as they are widely available and have very unique properties. Easy to split but very strong longitudinally and several consistent and reliable diameters, they can be cut with the laser but even nail clippers would cut the small ones to length and if you stuck a small bit of the sharp end on a flat face Ind then put it in a dead end hole the skewer would jam the hole and not fall out even if you wanted to pull it free.
Another surprising thought is that the tiny straws for hot coffee or drinks is about that diameter and some other drink straws are close to the diameter of the larger skewers thus they could be stand offs when larger than the hole that the skewer was fit to, or as sleeves to lower resistance where you wanted the skewer to turn easily in the hole. We are not talking about high speed in any of it so you would not have the accuracy needs of normal machines but well within the tolerances of more medieval gadgetry .

So as a first post of its type I am proposing a chain, like a motorcycle chain but made with the Gloforge with the link pairs made of sheet wood with the bamboo skewers holding the links together and short bits of sodastraw where the joints would move. The links could be any length or multiple lengths built to carry something as with an arcade target. Or built as wide as a table place mat or a rolling sign. The one gadget itself could run off to many directions.
A key problem I see is getting reliable 1/16" holes and 3/8" holes and where movement is needed or not needed enough control to accomplish that

Carousel Spinner

have you seen?


Great chain! very much the kind of thing mentioned, Also a great way for a marble lift to operate the marbles as a power source for the rest of the design! Instead of nails, you might find the small bamboo skewers, interesting though with most of it plastic the reason to stay as much with wood as possible is lost.

Cutting soda bottles with this gadget provides log continuous strips of that plastic that as short or long bits as they are strong and springy and could take pretty much unlimited slight bends without cracking or breaking. I have even considered gluing tinfoil to the end of short bits to create a very temporary low voltage switch that something moving by would cause say an led to blink but not impede what was traveling by.