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toozie21

Where to find gears and other items

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Hey everyone. I have done the computerized (microcontroller) displays and wireframes, but now I want to move onto a motorized display. I have a plan for what I want to do, but I don't have much of a mechanical background. Where does everyone go to buy things like gears and chains (for the gears)? Also other sort of joints that will allow me to make small movements based off of rotating disks (I can't think of the term for what I want to do right now).

I am not sure if there are brick and mortor stores that sell this kind of stuff, or if I need to get a kit of various sizes online to get me started. Any tips/thoughts to nudge me in the right direction would be great!

In case someone is curious, I am thinking of making a small display that shows santa's workshop and have moving elves (with their backs to you) that saw and paint wooden blocks as they move down a conveyor belt (really three different conveyors).

~Jason

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How about bicycle chains and gears for the larger stuff. It's cheap compared to the more industrial items. Do you have recycling centres in the USA? If so, that may be a good place to look for older / surplus equipment that contains gears.

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I will check that website out, thanks. They look like they have a pretty good assortment.

Bike chains seem like a good choice. I guess the key with them is to make sure to get sprockets that have the proper teeth spacing to work with the chain.

How about for other mechanical items? I am thinking of something that can take the circular motion of the turning gear and turn it into a back-and-forth motion for the elf to simulate sawing. It would be some sort of double pivoting rod (don't have a better name for it). Is there a source for these types of things?

Also, would you guys recommend they dual pivot routine for simple back-and-forth stuff, or can a servo stand-up to the rigors of doing that 6 hours a night for a month every year?

Thanks for the help.

~Jason

Edited by toozie21

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For back and forth motion, I'd probably use a slow turning wheel with a pin near the edge to attach the push rod. Just like a steam train. Yeah, I have no idea what you call it either! :giggle:

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Any motor will work if you use a cam. This will give you the back and forth motion you are looking for. Here are some examples. I use wiper motors for most of my props.

http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=33060

http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=31771

http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=30378

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This is a link to my winder video. It has an indexing arm so the cords don't wind in the same spot on the roll. If you watch carefully you can see how a crank arm and connecting arm work. The motor for the indexing arm is located under the black control box.

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Thanks for the advice (and websites) everyone, that really helps!

Dano: That stuff looks great! My workshop is a similar concept, but will have the conveyor belt internal (and nothing will be wrapped). My plan is to have three conveyor belts and two elves with their backs to the viewer (the elves will be spaced so they block the ends/beginning of the conveyors). The belt on the one end will have a rough piece of wood that moves towards the one elf, that elf will look like it is sawing. Then the middle conveyor will have a nice piece of that is cut into a square moving towards the second elf who looks like he is painting. The third conveyor will have a finished block (the kind kids play with that have letters and numbers on the sides) and it will look like it is falling into santa's bag.

toymaker: I could see the arm, that makes a lot of sense. I don't think the arm movement will be really easy, but I think the thing I am most worried about right now is the conveyor. I thought it would be easy, but now I am not so sure. I figure each conveyor will be roughly a foot long, and they need to be synced up. I imagined a bike chain that encompasses all three conveyors and sprockets on all the wheels to keep things from slipping. But as I think more about it, I don't know how to make the wheels on the conveyor belt sturdy so the belt doesn't slip, yet allow the wooden blocks be attached to it.

Do you guys have any suggestions?

Thanks and have a great New Year!

~Jason

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