3D Print Your Own Seiko-Style “Magic Lever” Energy Harvester

Back in 1956, Seiko created their “magic lever” as an integral part of self-winding mechanical watches, which were essentially mechanical energy harvesters. The magic lever is a type of ratcheting arrangement that ensures a main gear only ever advances in a single direction. [Robert Murray-Smith] goes into detail in this video (here’s a link cued up to 1:50 where he begins discussing the magic lever)

There is a lot of naturally-occuring reciprocal motion in our natural world. That is to say, there is plenty of back-and-forth and side-to-side, but not a lot of round-and-round. So, an effective mechanism for a self-winding watch needed a way to convert unpredictable reciprocal motion into a unidirectional rotary one. The magic lever was one way to do so, and it only has three main parts. [Robert] drew these up into 3D models, which he demonstrates in his video, embedded below.

The 3D models for Seiko’s magic lever are available here, and while it’s fun to play with, [Robert] wonders if it could be integrated into something else. We’ve certainly seen plenty of energy harvesting projects, and while they are mostly electrical, we’ve also seen ideas about how to harvest the energy from falling raindrops.

20 thoughts on “3D Print Your Own Seiko-Style “Magic Lever” Energy Harvester

  1. I have the video poster, Robert Murray-Smith, blocked on youtube. He presents as a genuine science/engineering channel, but frequently presents pseudoscience and misinformation as fact. He’s causing confusion and IMO causing more harm than good in the educational YouTube space.

      1. It’s sort of the opposite of an escapement. You’re most likely thinking of an anchor escapement. Those are designed to regulate the release of energy. The coil pushes on a gear that is the start of a clock, but there’s nothing controlling it so you see the clock spin a couple hundred times in a second and stop.

        The escapement regulates that release, so a certain amount is allowed out with each rotation of the pendulum (there’s non pendulum escapements like the Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement but the principle is really the same). As the premium swings the gear rotates one tooth forward, the clock advances one second, everyone is happy.

        The Seiko “magic” lever takes motion and uses it to wind that coil spring in the first place. It runs independently of the escapement. They’re both hooked up to the same coil and do the inverse job.

      1. in early days, he post home made supercap and claim how it cheaper than anyone and stores more than normal.. but never shows the data only half truths (i.e. running a random small motor for x time.) I think he scrubbed those videos now.

    1. I second the comment from theTruthBeSold: that’s a pretty strong claim, so I took a couple minutes to scan his videos. I was expecting something like perpetual motion videos or such. I didn’t find anything like that, so if there’s a problem, it’s more subtle. I checked a random short, he gave accurate info about the history of coffee. Since you seem to be invested enough to give us a vague warning, how about an example?

    2. I haven’t blocked him because some of the stuff is interesting but just a glance at the comments section on this video alone shows 90% of the commenters think this is FREE ENERGY and spout all the usual BS that goes along with that – and RMS appears to do nothing in any of his videos to actually educate them or dissuade them from these beliefs as I’m sure it’s good for clicks.

      1. Did he write those comments? If he has made thousands of accounts to post garbage under his own video’s, then you would be right. But he doesn’t. Most creators don’t even read the comments. Even if he does, why would he attack his viewers? That’s his income. Your entire post makes no sense because of it. Blaming someone for something he did not do, is just evil. Blame the people making the comments.

  2. I’ve had my Seiko self-winding watch for around 30 years now, it keeps perfect time (better than any previous watch I’ve owned) and has been powered throughout solo by my everyday movement. It still amazes me how good it is .

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