Monday, September 20, 2010

Physics and Illusions

I'm working on a track based on an idea I had: If I build a downward track made of widely-spaced tubing, and connect that to an upward track made of closely-spaced tubing, the ball should spin faster on the downward track than on the upward track. The result of this, if all goes as planned, is an illusion where the ball actually appears to speed up as it travels uphill. Early tests have been somewhat successful, though the effect is not as noticeable as I had first hoped, but I will keep tweaking the design.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More progress

Now that I have my new motor, I have constructed the 5th and final ball lift for my machine. All of the elements are now physically connected, and the structure makes a complete loop around my room. 2 bridges cross above the door, each going a different direction. I have also added 3 more path switchers, so 4 new paths will be created in this expansion.

Oh and if you haven't noticed yet, it's a fox. ^.^

New Motor- Back to work on the machine!

I just received my 4th plug-in motor from ebay, so I can begin construction on the 5th (and most likely final) lift tower, which will bring the balls up and over the closet door. Also, here is a picture showing my latest progress on the machine. I rebuilt the towers so they are the same color, and added a new path on the right.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

K'nex Tower - Night Photography

This is my favorite picture of my 38 foot K'nex tower. This picture was taken at 1 AM the day after it was finished, using a 15 second exposure time. Since it was taken at night, you can see the entire tower clearly from top to bottom, unlike the pictures from the first post.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

38 Foot K'nex Tower

This tower stands 38 feet tall and uses about 3500 pieces (new personal height record). It was built in 4 hours by Austin Granger and Paul Davis, and assembled in 3 hours by Austin Granger, Paul Davis and Simon Olson. It took 5 attempts to get the tower to stand, it collapsed during the first 4. The tower DOES stand on its own, but we added the guy wires to counteract the force of the wind, just to make sure it will last during the night. 400 feet of string was used to make the 4 guy wires.

The completed tower

Close-up of one of the 4 guy wires

Looking up the middle of the tower.
The interior X-shaped supports were added every other level near the bottom, but were used less and less frequently as the tower grew in order to reduce weight and wind resistance.
Here the tower has a slight curve to it as we had not yet tightened the guy wires.

Close-up view showing where the guy wires connect to the tower.

For the two or three of you who care... here's how we did it. We assembled the top 20 feet of the tower on the ground, with the guy wires attached, hanging loosely to the ground. One person pulled on 2 guy wires while 2 people supported the middle of the tower, and we hoisted it up to a vertical position. We then attached it to the base, which is weighted down with about 200 lbs of bricks. Next, 2 people got on ladders on either side of the tower while one person disconnected it from the base. The tower was lifted up 4 feet at a time, and a new section was added in-between. The tower remained free-standing for all of the lifts. When we completed the structure, we each grabbed a guy wire and tied it to 3 bricks, moving the bricks around to straighten out the tower. A total of 36 bricks are used to hold up this tower.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Improbable Tower

My friend Paul (co-designer of Labyrinth) and I constructed this 30 foot, 3000 piece tower in under 4 hours. This build set 2 personal records: Fastest build (3000 pcs in 4 hours) and tallest freestanding tower (30 feet). We were both surprised that this structure stood on its own, because the base was uneven and the tower leaned about 3 feet off vertical at the top. The tower stood for about 20 minutes, until we took it down and rebuilt a shorter, 22 foot version.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ball Machine Uptade - New Section Partially Integrated

I have just about finished the new section of my ball machine. Both lift towers are now completed, and it has 3 functioning tracks, including a new 5 foot long bridge which joins this segment to the automatic ball launcher. Within the next few days, I plan to construct the 5th and final lift tower which will carry the balls up and over my closet door, completing the circuit of the machine. I still have no idea how many paths the machine will have when completed, but I am aiming for at least 10.

The new segment, as well as the bridge connecting it to the rest of the machine.

Close-up of where the bridge joins the automatic ball launcher.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Ball Machine Update

I am making great progress on the next phase of my ball machine, which takes balls from the bridge which will go over my closet door and returns them to the beginning of the machine, the automatic ball launcher. Both lift towers are now completed, and the bidirectional Ferris Wheel stands in the center. Every aspect of this section of the tower is being designed to fit with a certain theme. If I construct it right, the tower should resemble something when it is completed.

This section of the ball machine will be home to 6 paths (3 of each kind, mirroring each other) and will contain roughly 5,000 pieces.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ball Machine Update (about time...)

Ok, I finally have some ideas for what to do on my ball machine. I am starting by building the most complex chain lift hill I have ever made. Modified from the dual-lift I created for Labyrinth, this mechanism also consists of 2 hills powered by 1 motor. This section of the ball machine will, assuming all goes as planned, be completely symmetrical, and center around my first bidirectional Ferris Wheel. The lift towers hang over the sides of the dresser here for added height, and the return track runs through the middle of the supports on the bottom.

The mechanism contains about 600 pieces and 34 gears.