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.

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LEGO Pendulum Clock

Put a case around it and it would be a grandfather clock but for now it’s a pendulum clock made from LEGO pieces. The video after the break shows a great overview of the build. You can see the workings at several different angles, as well as a clip that has been sped up to show the movement of the weights over time. One weight, made from dead AA batteries, drives the clock and the other weight switches the winding motor. That motor acts to automatically wind the clock when the drive weight reaches the end of its rope.

This is a nice departure from the majority of clock projects we see as it utilizes mechanical concepts instead of electronic. Most of [Pmroskelly’s] build details are shared as comments on the Picasa album found at the link above. There are also some other videos such as the one showing how the escapement works.

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