Engaging Mechanism

Drawing Machine | Prototypes

Chloe and I decided to work as a group for Engaging Mechanism project.

First, we came up with different ideas.

  • fan-like machine: I pin the circle kind of looking object with a paper on on the colum and spin in with a pen placed next to it
  • Chloe experimented with the gears but did not really work out
  • A slide machine where we slide down the wheel car with an ink water in it.

Drawing Machine | Getting into the Slide Idea

the wheel car

we decided to develop the slide machine. we created two different rail for the top slide. One with flat surface (rail #1) and another with U shape (rail #2).

We tried and the wheel car slid down pretty well. However, we wanted to make a smaller car to make the sliding smoother so we decided to use a part of plastic water bottle in stead of the plastic cup. Also, we decided to go with the rail with the U shape.

the rail #2

Then we developed the rail #2 to…

rail #3 and the water bottle car.

this shape with the negative space.

the structure with the rail#1 .

We wanted the car to drip the water while it is sliding down through the top rail and draw a line and then draw another line when it is sliding down the bottom rail. So we created a structure like that (^on the photos).

Then we added a wall to stop the wheel car when it’s done making the mark. We thought that we would need an indication of the starting point and the starting mechanism. So we created a wall with a window which we put the wheel car in to start the machine.

We asked Steve to give some feedback and he said this machine looks more like a prototype which we are testing the motion than the actual machinery. Also, he told us to use the least glue as possible.

Drawing Machine | Developing the Slide Machine

So we adopted his advice and figured out a way to make the columns stand without glue.

We glued a small box onto the bottom board. The column would perfectly fit and freestand.

Then we asked Stacie for a feedback. She suggested even better method to make the column free stand without any glue.

We could cut the cardboard out and let it stand like the small box that we made. It makes sense, but it was not stable to support the columns. So we decided to cut a groove on the bottom board to put in the columns and the walls.

She suggested us to make the rail to be more curvy, since the wheel is circular, so we might need a cohesive rail that woule go with it. Now, the rail is just straight. Also, we had to think of a more engaging and spontaneous starting mechanism.

By making cuts on the rail, we created a curvy rail. To make it stable, we decided to cut out grooves on the bottom board to insert the edge of the rail.

sketch of the starting mechanism (on the bottom right)

Then I brainstormed the starting mechanism. We decided to put a tilted extension of the rail beyond the starting point and have a partition at the starting point. I would put the wheel car in between the tilted extension and the partition. Then, when I lift the partition up, the wheel car would starting rolling down by itself.

So we rebuilt the machine, with a curvy rail and a new starting mechanism. We bought a brand-new nice cardboard to build this. For the column, instead of gluing one edge to make the column, we made a small white ring we could put to make it a column. Also, the lower slide and the two connected columns to it are not glued together but they have joint part where we can assemble and disassemble. All the standing structures are freestanding with the groove on the bottom board to be put in.

We build a new wheel car that is lighter and smaller.

We cut the top part of the black tea bottle and glued another lid to the open bottom of that. So the problem of how to put the ink water in is solved. It was difficult to poked the hole into the plastic because the bottle was made out of very thick plastic so we used a heated push pin. Also, water was keep leaking from the space between the bottom lid and the bottle, so we had to put extra hot glue around it.

This is the mark that the machine makes. We draw some clouds and an umbrella for the aesthetic reason. We now know that it is working and we have the structure down, so we refined the structure to record it more ‘professionally.’

all the parts of our drawing machine.

Drawing Machine | The Final Product

front view and side view
marks, close up of the bottom slide in the front, close up of the bottom slide in the back to show how it is curved.

We reconstructed some parts that were worn out. We rebuilt the starting mechanism lever and the slides. We changed the supporting mechanism of the top slide to the columns plugged into the bottom board with the grooves and assembled with the top slide with rings. Also, we perfected the side walls of the bottom rail.

The final video of our machine in working.

Drawing Machine | Reflection

I think my craftsmanship improved through this project. Now I can cut the cardboard fairly straight without using a ruler. However, I think I could have taken more notes, drawn more sketches, and taken more pictures to keep track of the progress of the project and be more clear about where I am and what to do next in that process. I realized that Steve and Stacie’s feedbacks are very helpful so I will definitely ask more feedbacks on the next project.

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