Wooden machine belongs in Willy Wonka’s factory

Behold the wooden machine¬†(translated) that is used for… well it does… it was built because… Okay, this is a case where asking what it does or why it was built is the wrong question. [Erich Schatt] began building the piece that he calls “Wheels” back in 1995. It took just seven years to complete, and is made entirely of wood. The video after the break shows a multitude of moving parts.

The chains were modeled after bicycle chains, which are used to transfer motion from the “rider” throughout the machine. The gearing for each segment was meticulously calculated, then perfected through trial and error. The complexity even calls for a differential and universal joints. It’s mesmerizing to watch and for that reason it’s made appearances at conventions and been featured in art exhibitions.

It’s also worth mentioning that this comes from a very humble-looking shop. [Erich] posted some pictures of his studio and aside from the abundance of bar clamps, it’s just your average garage or basement setup.

[Thanks Michu]

20 thoughts on “Wooden machine belongs in Willy Wonka’s factory

  1. “The gearing for each segment was meticulously calculated, then perfected through trial and error.”

    Then it wasn’t calculated properly :)

    1. Really? Have you built anything out of wood that does this? Just because perfection was done through trial and error doesn’t mean it wasn’t done properly remember wood is not plastic or metal depending on the moisture content of the wood and the air around it wood changes shapes and sizes.

  2. @hackerspacer:

    I imagine the need for trial and error came not from the calculation, but the implementation. The numbers can be perfect, but translating those numbers into perfectly cut wood without using a CNC machine would be pretty difficult to get right on the first try.

  3. The oddest bit I see in this is the off center round cogs…
    They mesh together nicely, except for the spindle of the upper (slave) cog rises and falls.
    I couldn’t see why, but then again, this purpose of this piece appears to be ‘because I can’.
    Nice engineering
    I think the creator must love old techni-lego

  4. WOW! Now thats a incredible wood machine! That makes me wish my shop was up to average.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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