Saturday, August 09, 2014

Kinetic Machinery

The completed contraption
When Pascal and I spent some time soldering recently, we basically connected a solar cell to a big capacitor and a small motor. Today we built the rest of the contraption. This is a kit made by Solarbotics I picked up at Makerfaire earlier this year.

Pascal pulled most of the parts from the lasercut plywood bits and put the pieces together, while I watched and cringed at times on the inside hoping none of the more fragile bits would break. They didn't, and he was actually very careful, even when applying force to push pieces together. Final assembly was a bit tricky, so I ended up doing most of that.

Now, ... what does this thing do, you ask? There's a bunch of marbles being fed into the big wheel. The solar cell loads the capacitor, and whenever it reaches full load, it releases a power surge to the motor which turns the big wheel a bit, slowly but surely carrying the marbles to the top of the spiral where they spiral down.

In direct sunlight, the wheel moves forward every couple seconds, making it feasible to watch the show in a small video.

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