If there’s one thing we’ve learned from [Chris] at Clickspring, it’s that a clockmaker will stop at nothing to make a clock not only work perfectly, but look good doing it. That includes measures as extreme as this complete re-toothing of a wheel from a clock. Is re-toothing even a word?
The obsessive horologist in this case is [Tommy Jobson], who came across a clock that suffered a catastrophic injury: a sudden release of energy from the fusee, the cone-shaped pulley that adjusts for the uneven torque created by the clock’s mainspring. The mishap briefly turned the movement into a lathe that cut the tops off all the teeth on the main wheel.
Rather than fabricate a completely new wheel, [Tommy] chose to rework the damaged one. After building a special arbor to hold the wheel, he turned it down on the lathe, leaving just the crossings and a narrow rim. A replacement blank was fabricated from brass and soldered to the toothless wheel, turned to size, and given a new set of teeth using one of the oddest lathe setups we’ve ever seen. Once polished and primped, the repair is only barely visible.
Honestly, the repaired wheel looks brand new to us, and the process of getting it to that state was fascinating to watch. If the video below whets your appetite for clockmaking, have we got a treat for you.
Continue reading “Stripped Clock Wheel Gets A New Set Of Teeth, The Hard Way” →
On the technology spectrum, railroads would certainly seem to skew toward the brutally simplistic side of things. A couple of strips of steel, some wooden ties and gravel ballast to keep everything in place, some rolling stock with flanged wheels on fixed axles, and you’ve got the basics that have been moving freight and passengers since at least the 18th century.
But that basic simplicity belies the true complexity of a railway, where even just keep keeping the trains on the track can be a daunting task. The forces that a fully loaded train can exert on not only the tracks but on itself are hard to get your head around, and the potential for disaster is often only a failed component away. This became painfully evident with the recent Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which resulted in a hazardous materials incident the likes of which no community is ready to deal with.
Given the forces involved, keeping trains on the straight and narrow is no mean feat, and railway designers have come up with a web of sensors and systems to help them with the task of keeping an eye on what’s going on with the rolling stock of a train. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting engineering behind these wayside defect detectors.
Continue reading “Feeling The Heat: Railway Defect Detection” →
There are a variety of wheel designs out there that can provide for rotation and translation in various directions. The differential swerve drive, though, as demonstrated by [WildWillyRobots], uses regular wheels on a complex mount to achieve impressive directional flexibility.
The design uses a regular round wheel mounted on an axle, which has a gear on one end. This allows the wheel to be driven. The wheel and axle is mounted upon a circular carrier, which is then fitted with a pair of surrounding gears on bearings. Differentially driving these gears changes the way the drive behaves. With both gears driven in the same direction, the wheel rotates on its vertical axis to point in different directions. If both gears are driven in opposite direction, the wheel itself is driven. Relatively varying the speed of both gears allows the direction and drive of the wheel to be controlled. The result is a wheel that can rotate to any angle, and then be driven forwards or backwards as well.
Fitting a set of these wheels to a robot creates a highly maneuverable platform. As a bonus, it doesn’t have the drawback of poor grip that is common with various omniwheel-type designs.
Continue reading “Differential Swerve Drive Is Highly Maneuverable” →
[Liebregts] is working on a trike design, and needed a pair of wheels to go up front. Regular bicycle wheels wouldn’t do, as they’re not designed to work with a single-sided support. They also wanted to be able to mount disc brakes. Thus, they set about building a set of custom wheels to do the job.
The build began with a regular set of 20″ bike wheel rims with all the spokes taken out. A ring of steel rebar welded on the inner perimeter gave the rims more strength. A set of hubs and axles were then fabbed up with a welder and lathe, with provisions for bolting on disc brake components. Lengths of rebar were then welded in as non-adjustable spokes. Next, it was time for a coat of paint. Finally [Liebregts] mounted the tires and brakes, and called the job done.
Obviously, it is possible to buy wheels specifically for trike builds. However, [Liebregts] found it difficult to find exactly what they wanted, particularly where the disc brake option was concerned. The best option was a custom build. The resulting wheels are obviously much heavier than traditional bike wheels, but they’re also likely a fair bit stronger, too. If you need to weigh down a tarpaulin, for example, these wheels might just do the trick.
We’ve seen some other crazy wheels on trikes before, too! Oh, and who says wheels need to be a full circle, anyway? Creativity will never cease to amaze!
It’s not a question you ask yourself every day, but it’s one that the [Brick Experiment Channel] set out to answer: how fast can you spin a LEGO wheel by hand? In their typical way, they set about building an increasingly complex contraption to optimize for the very specific case of maximum RPM.
The build starts with a LEGO wheel fitted to an axle, supported in two LEGO Technic beams. A white flash mark is also attached onto a part of the axle for measuring the rotational speed with a photo-tachometer. A first attempt gets as fast as 1,700 RPM. Upgrades come thick and fast , and with a three-stage compound geartrain, the handcranked wheel reaches 6,300 RPM. Adding a further stage introduces the problem that the plastic Technic axle begins to twist under the torque input by the hand.
Taking a new approach of pulling on a string to turn the wheel, the first attempt nets 8,300 RPM. Gearing pushes this further to 12,900 revs, but adding more gears again leads to the problem of axles bending under the strain. A bidirectional rope pull design helps, though, and the system reaches 13,100 RPM.
Some of the parts have been damaged thus far, but a rebuild with fresh parts that are nicely lubricated provides a huge boost. The now-slippery shafts run smoother and the wheel hits a blistering 19,300 RPM as the mechanism disassembles itself.
It’s a less complex pursuit than some earlier works from [Brick Experiment Channel], like the impressive pole climbing designs we’ve seen previously. However, it’s a video that shows the power of iterative design and the gains possible from that process.
Continue reading “How Fast Can You Spin A LEGO Wheel By Hand?” →
One of the biggest reasons for playing older video games on original hardware is that emulators and modern controllers can’t replicate the exact feel of how those games would have been originally experienced. This is true of old PC games as well, so if you want to use your original Sidewinder steering wheel or antique Logitech joystick, you’ll need something like [Necroware]’s GamePort adapter to get them to communicate with modern hardware.
In a time before USB was the standard, the way to connect controllers to PCs was through the GamePort, typically found on the sound card. This has long since disappeared from modern controllers, so the USB interface [Necroware] built relies on an Arduino to do the translating. Specifically, the adapter is designed as a generic adapter for several different analog joysticks, and a series of DIP switches on the adapter select the appropriate mode. Check it out in the video after the break. The adapter is also capable of automatically calibrating the joysticks, which is necessary as the passive components in the controllers often don’t behave the same way now as they did when they were new.
Plenty of us have joysticks and steering wheels from this era stored away somewhere, so if you want to experience Flight Simulator 5.0 like it would have been experienced in 1993, all it takes is an Arduino. And, if you want to run these programs on bare metal rather than in an emulator, it is actually possible to build a new Intel 486 gaming PC, which operates almost exactly like a PC from the 90s would have.
Continue reading “Retro Gaming With Retro Joysticks” →
Sometimes there is pleasure in watching an expert demonstrating his craft, particularly so when the craft is unusual or disappearing. A video came our way of just such a thing, and it’s of a craft so rare that it’s possible few of us will have considered it. We’re used to buying tyres for our motor vehicles that come pre-made in a mould for the size of our wheels, but how many of us have considered where the origins of the rubber tyre lie? How did a 19th-century horse-drawn buggy get its tyres? [EngelsCoachShop] take us through the process, putting rubber on a set of wooden carriage wheels.
These wheels would originally have had iron rims, that must have provided a jarring ride on cobbled roads of the day. English coach-builders of the mid 19th century were the first to fit solid rubber tyres, and it’s this type of tyre that’s being fitted in the video. Instead of the rubber ring we might expect the tyre is cut from a length of vulcanised rubber extrusion with a significant overlap, then a pair of high-tensile wires are fed through holes in the extrusion. The impressive part is the jig for creating the tyre, in which the rubber is compressed to a tight fit on the wheel before the wires are cut and their ends brazed together. Once the wheel is released from the jig the compressed tyre expands to the point at which its ends meet, making a perfect circular tyre held tightly on the rim. Few of us will ever see this for real, but we’re privileged to see it on the screen.
We may not deal with wooden wheels very often, but this isn’t the first set we’ve seen.
Continue reading “Rubber Tyres Before There Were Tyres” →