Building an automatic bicycle transmission in a week

1

Every year, the ECE department of Carnigie Mellon University hosts Build18, an engineering festival intended to get students out of the classroom and into the workshop. [Andrew Toth] along with team members [Jenna MacCarley], [Peter McHale], and [Nicolas Mellis] have been busy this last week putting together an automatic bicycle transmission.

Most cyclists agree that a cadence of 80 RPM is just about right for most cycling. The team’s transmission uses Hall effect sensors to sense the cadence of the rider and will change to a higher gear if the cadence drops below 60 RPM and a lower gear if the cadence is above 100 RPM.

One of the requirements of the Build18 festival is the completed project must cost less than $250. By using an Arduino Mega and a servo to change gears, the team has a fairly low cost solution to automatically changing bicycle gears.

It’s a very cool project, and hopefully we’ll see a video once the competition is over at noon, EST today.

Retrotechtacular: Fluid Coupling

retrotechtacular-fluid-coupling

We realize the transmission fluid of an automobile’s automatic transmission is used to transfer the power from the engine to the drive shaft. But after watching this Department of Defense video from 1954 we now have a full understanding of the principles involved in fluid coupling. Like us, you probably have seen a diagram of a transmission which shows the fan-like blades that are affected by the moving fluid. But it’s worth watching the 12-minute clip after the break to understand how that liquid is moving and why that matters so much in the design. The motion of the rotors, along with the design of the enclosure, causes the fluid to move in a continual corkscrew —  the shape of slinky whose ends have been attached to each other. This type of illustration leads to an intuitive understanding of how it’s possible to facilitate an efficient power transfer using a liquid.

Check out some of the comments left in the Reddit thread regarding this film. We agree with [Runxctry]; there’s something about the format of the presentation that makes these informative and engaging to an almost addictive level. But maybe it’s just the engineering geek deep inside that’s cause these feelings?

[Read more...]

Plantenna: the plant antenna

The back story behind [Mike] experimenting with plants as AM radio transmission antennas antennae is rather interesting and worth the short read. But for those who just want the facts, [Mike] took an ATMega324, modified the PWM output into a sinusoidal AM signal (using a simple form of RLC circuitry), and connected the circuit to a plant no plants were harmed in the making of this project. The results? Well we’re not ones who would spoil the surprise, you’ll have to see for yourself in the video after the jump.

[Read more...]

LEGO automatic transmissions

[AviatorBJP] is building some impressive automatic transmissions using LEGO parts. Your best bet is to check out his YouTube channel as he’s got a slew of videos related to topic. We’ve embedded test footage of first and second generation vehicles as well as the most recent flywheel design after the break. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, let’s look at how the system works.

Each transmission centers on a mechanism that includes hinged arms attached to a central axle. The arms are held together with a rubber band but as the axle spins faster, they overcome the elastic force of the band and begin to pivot outward. This pulls the shaft in one direction, moving its gear up to the next position in the transmission box. To test the system [AviatorBJP] uses a treadmill. A string is attached to the front of the vehicle to keep it in place and the treadmill is switched on to simulate engine power.

This design is quite brilliant, and he’s not keeping it to himself. If you’ve grown tired of the manual LEGO transmission you built, you can follow his multi-video build process to make one of these for yourself.

[Read more...]

Double clutch transmission model

[Alan] did an extraordinary job building a computer controlled model gearbox. His project from several years back is based on a dual-clutch Direct Shift Gearbox that was developed for VW and Audi vehicles. His design uses a gear head motor to provide the locomotion to this transmission. Shifting is computer controlled through serial cable, with servo motors providing the physical motion to change gears. Seeing all these moving parts in the clip after the break might make you a bit dizzy.

This is some extreme model building. It reminds us of the guy who built that aluminum aircraft model that was all over the Internets in December.

[Read more...]

Disabling GM’s manual skip shift

shift

GM, in an effort to make their cars slightly more eco friendly, added a feature that puts your car in 4th gear when cruising along in 1st under certain conditions. This is apparently despised by many owners. I is despised so much, that you can buy a commercial product to disable it. That product costs between $20 and $40. Jalopnik has posted a simple solution to disable this feature for under $7 .  All you need is a replacement plug and a resistor. It’s really pretty simple.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,699 other followers