Project Sheet
Auger Lift #1

creation began 26 October 2020


18 November 2020
Auger Lift #1

I will be using several different mechanisms in Auger Lift #1 that I’ve not used before.  When I get into this kind of situation I build a “Proof of Concept” machine.  In the POC machine, I marry rough creations of the different mechanisms to see how they work individually and how they work in concert with each other.

In the image to the right is a 20 rpm motor driving through Pinwheel Gears to a long auger.  At the top of the tower is what I call a marble tipper mechanism.

What I’ve learned from this so far:

  • The plastic hubs don’t work at the motor.  The motor shaft gets too hot and the hub starts to slip on the shaft.  Metal hubs are the solution.
  • A 20 rpm drive motor is a perfect speed.  Going into this project I was planning on using a 10 rpm motor.
  • The auger lifts well, however, the auger and the piece that holds the marble into the auger must be firmly related to each other.  In this particular creation, there is some slop, which causes the marbles to occasionally jump out.
  • The marble tipper at the top does not behave the way that I had envisioned.  It moves too quickly.  I’m in the process of trying to slow down the motion.  I think magnets will be part of the solution.,
  • I am going to lean the auger a little further toward the horizontal.



Auger Lift #1 Proof of Concept mechanism. 18 November 2020.


4 November 2020
Auger Lift #1

This is the first time that I’ve created a head using these methods…and is probably not the last.  The top image shows me applying a wood filler over the 3D printed armature.  The lower image shows the head nearer the final stage of creation.  Note the 3D printed ears.




Auger Lift #1 head armature is receiving it’s skin. 2 November 2020.
Auger Lift #1 head, before and after (though not yet completed). 4 November 2020

30 October 2020
Auger Lift #1

Key to all of the automata that I create are the bipeds.  They are important.  I spend quite a bit of time creating these little creatures, with my techniques improving with each one.

I’ve consistently had trouble with the heads…getting the proportions ‘sort of right’.  And of the head detail, it is the ears that cause me the most angst.

The addition of a 3D printer to my set of tools permits me to get outside of the space that I’ve been in.  For example, pictured to the right, you see a skull armature.  I 3D printed this armature and will coat it with skin and detail.  Also to the right you see a 3D printed ear.  What a relief to be able to have my little shop assistant create these things for me.

This particular biped has 3/16″ joint pins.  I’ve not yet stabilized on a consistent way to create joints.

The biped is being created for Auger Lift #1. Note the 3D printed skull armature. 30 October 2020.
A 3D printed Left Ear. November 1, 2020

26 October 2020
Auger Lift #1

Auger Lift #1 is a member of the Jim’s Gym family of automata.  It is in the process of being created.

Going into the project it is envisioned that a biped will be operating an elliptical sort of exercise machine, which will in turn power an auger, which will raise marbles up about 15”.  The marbles will then roll back to the bottom for recycle.

I recently purchased a Prusa Mini, a 3D printer.  This is the first automata that I will attempt to use it with.

As I consider the creation of Auger Lift #1 there are many different aspects to think about.  At this moment I am considering how the marbles will drop back down once they have rolled over the top. Pictured at the right is a tipper assembly.  The marble will roll in at the top and the tipper will rotate it to the bottom.  I envision a counterbalance that will cause the motion to be slow and graceful.

Before I further develop the tippers I want to get the marbles to the top.  Then I’ll know what I need to do (I’ll know where the bottom is).


A 3D printed tipper disc axle. 26 October 2020
A marble tipper assembly that is being considered for use in Auger Lift #1. 27 October 2020.