29 May 2019: First Life
Big Wheel Lift #1


Big Wheel Lift #1 began on my workbench early January 2019.  Yesterday, May 28th, it moved for the first time under electrical power…first life.  I’m pleased with this automata.  I like the way it moves.  It is reliable.  It is quiet.  It is fun to watch.  Lots going on.

Next steps are to run it through three to five thousand marble drops of testing, then disassembly for painting, then reassembly and final testing.  This is the #1 so it will not go to market.  All number ones belong to my wife.  If I create additional Big Wheel Lifts they will all be based on this #1, but none will be identical to it.  Each will be better than the last.

Enjoy this Big Wheel Lift #1 First Life video.  Captured with my Pixel 2XL.  Edited with KDenLive.  The Big Wheel Lift #1 Project Sheet is here.

 

Big Wheel Lift #1 is finally under power. A good day.

 

20 May 2019: New Drive Frame
Big Wheel Lift #1


As I have been adding components into the Big Wheel Lift drive frame I’ve run into a clearance problem between the lever cam followers and the pedestal drive belt.  To fix this problem I’ve been tweaking and adjusting things…but that has not been enough.  So, I’m biting the bullet and relocating the Big Wheel Idler Cluster, which means that I’ve got to re-create the drive frames.  This is an image of the new drive frame in the scroll saw, almost completed.  Sometimes doing it the ‘long way’ is the right way…and I want my creations to be right.  I want to be at peace with each one…knowing that I’ve done my best.  The Big Wheel Lift Project Sheet is here.

A Sunday Drive remains on my workbench as priority 2.  I’ve got all the little body parts dismembered and am letting them tell me how they want to move.

I live near San Diego, California.  The climate is defined as Mediterranean.  The usual cycle is rainy winters and drought summers, with an average rainfall here of about 14″.  We are at 21″ so far for this season…with more rain on the way…very unusual.  The native vegetation is loving all of this rain.  Everything seems very healthy and green.  Sooner or later the rains will stop…and then we will start worrying about fire.  Someday my wife and I will live somewhere that has more water and less fire.  Someday.

 

Big Wheel Lift #1 Drive Frame, version 2 is in the process of being created.

 

10 May 2019, Pedals and Magazines
Big Wheel Lift #1


It’s been a good week.  I’ve got a few electrical parts in transit.  They will be here early next week.  Meanwhile I’m creating the pulleys and the hand crank and cams.  Most else is completed  I expect Big Wheel Lift #1 to be under power late next week.  The Big Wheel Lift #1 project sheet is here.

I was pleased to receive the April-May issue of Automata Magazine.  I’m glad that this magazine is available and hope that it will continue to be published for decades to come.  There is a lot of good information in this little gem  Here is a link to Automata Magazine.

I’ve identified the A Sunday Drive passengers. I’ve got the body parts laying around on my bench…teaching me how they want to move. The A Sunday Drive project sheet is here.

Monday thru Friday I begin my day doing an hour of Tai Chi.  I’ve been doing Tai Chi for about 3 years now and appreciate the positive impact that it’s made on my body.  It used to be that I had back pain all the time.  Now I rarely have back pain.  I blame Tai Chi for that.  Another part of Tai Chi that I appreciate is the ‘meditation time’.  Some of my Tai Chi sets are done in my studio.  I have automata in front of me as I exercise.  I’m able to contemplate…to consider…to ‘what if’.  

Big Wheel Lift #1 is nearing completion. Almost ready to power up.

2 May 2019: The Pedal Pedestal
Big Wheel Lift #1


This past week has been interesting.  I’ve completed the On-Off switch assembly.  This micro switch based assembly is linked to a trip lever on the Big Wheel.  The Big Wheel Lift is turned off after one revolution of the Big Wheel (12 marbles).

And I’ve got the Pedal Pedestal almost completed…should be done tomorrow.  The frame is 1/16″ Baltic Birch plywood.  The sprocket is 1/8″ Baltic Birch, handcrafted and run-in in the test stand.

This morning at 0800 I went online and ordered some drive belt poly tubing from McMaster.  I had the tubing in-hand at 1500.  Can’t beat that service.  I love dealing with McMaster.

The Big Wheel Lift #1 Project Sheet is here.

I’ve done nothing more with A Sunday Drive…but it’s still cooking in my mind and in front of me on the bench.

Regarding motors in my automata:  I’ve just come to the realization of why power cords with the “bricks” at the plug end are powering everything.  I realize now that I should be putting 12 volt motors into my automata, and then powering the automata with the correct power cord…120 volt or 240 volt.  I’ll not change the motor on Big Wheel Lift #1 (it’s 120 vac and will stay in this country).  Future automata will all be equipped with 12 volt motors.  I cannot believe it took me this many years to understand this little piece of international commerce.

The Pedal Pedestal is nearing completion