Animated Peanut Butter Lid Diorama

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by TrainClown, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Hello there. It's been a bit since I posted what I am doing at my bench. I figure I should post what I am up to with regards to my PBL attempt. I'm sorry if this turns out to be a bit long winded, but I am a terrible editor and don't know what to leave out.

    I'm not sure if you know this, but I am an animation junkie. Always have been since my dad took me to see "The Pirates of the Caribbean" in Disneyland back in 1969. We went through at least a dozen times.

    Anyway, when the idea of a peanut butter lid challenge came up over at RRL I decided to have a go with it and to make it more interesting, I decided to animate the thing as well. I am making a tree house. I started to only make a tire swing move, but the movements have grown in number. Now there are 6 movements planned.

    As soon as I read about this challenge I got the idea to make a tree house. This way I can use my recently acquired skills at making rotten and weathered wood. I bought me some kids to occupy my diorama. So I am on my way.

    I want a big tree, like an oak tree, and I thought of making it out of wire twisted together. I don't have the right kind of wire. I have decided to carve the tree out of wood.

    I have an old cedar fence post. Sketched out the tree and cut it out on the band saw.

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    Now I will round it off with the Dremel and prune it a bit. The tree house will build itself in a hap hazard way, just like in the real world.

    A pic to show the scale of the lid the tree and the kids.


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    Still needs a little trimming on some of the thicker branches and I'm going to put a texture on for the bark.

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    Now for the animation mechanism. I am using a small chain drive. Made from the kind of chain that is used to pull lamp switches, like a series of small balls. This type of chain commonly uses a connector, but i found the balls are pressed in to shape and have a seam on one side. Pry that open and join them together to make a seamless chain. I make the cogs with a hole saw, sand them, put a saw cut down the center and then carve the holes for the chain with a diamond bit in my Dremel. The cogs can be laminated together to make a split gear.

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    There are going to be a few different types of power adapters used on my animation. What I mean exactly is, I am going to convert the motion of the wheel and make it do what I want it to do in a few different ways.

    One movement will be a crank type producing a continuous push/pull motion. This type of motion is only good if you can regulate the amount of motion you need. There is a way of doing this and I will explain.

    Another movement will be a cam operated key type. This type of movement can be timed. A movement of this sort can happen more than once throughout the revolution of the drive wheel, also you can have more than one timed movement per wheel.

    Another way to transfer movement is with a bell crank. Sometimes a bell crank is necessary in the function of the machine and motion can be robbed from there, or you can change direction of the movement with a bell crank so that the power is delivered just as you need it.

    I am being careful not to put too much stain on the chains, as they are so small and meek. So the tension on the idler wheels is not very much. I am using springs that have a soft pull, and not loading them very much. Just enough to keep the chain from going slack. Seems to work.

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    I am using a cam wheel for the tree house gag. (There will be a hatch in the tree house that opens slowly and a kid peeks out, then slams the hatch shut.) This is a good way to time things to happen just as you want them to and with tweaking it can be quite precise. I never made a cam wheel so small but it was worth a try. It was tricky to get the wheels to run in the right direction as they wanted to skid sideways on the wheel and this caused some chatter. The big trouble I had was in the basic design of the arms. You can see I put 2 bends in the arms. I thought this would make the arms track better, but this caused big problem with clearance of the wooden cams and took some fussing around to get them to clear. Even now they only clear by about 1/32", but a miss is as good as a mile (or so I am told). I could have saved all this by making the arms with a 90 degree angle and took the leg down just where it would hold the wheel at just the right spot. The wheels are old model train wheels I sanded the flange off of.

    Here is the cam wheel with the arms on the flat. The outside cam is for the window and the inner cam is for the sign. It turns clockwise.

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    Here arm one has climbed the first cam. You will notice the descent slope. This is important to keep the wear a sudden drop would put on the whole mechanism.

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    For a better idea of how this thing works, check out these video clips.

    A close up of just the cam wheel and arm operation. 23 seconds long.

    http://s82.photobucket.com/albums/j268/TrainClown/VODEOSTUFF/?action=view&current=MVI_6648.flv

    A longer clip of the operation of the whole mechanism. 59 seconds long.

    http://s82.photobucket.com/albums/j268/TrainClown/VODEOSTUFF/?action=view&current=MVI_6645.flv

    Still a little tweaking on the cogs to get rid of the little jump. The chain is waking out of the sockets now that it is under load. This didn't happen when there was no load.

    Now for the tree. I used wire to drill the holes. Here you can see the tire swing mechanism. This is a classic "Bell Crank" design. I am deliberating on how much the swing will actually move. I will have to decide when the rest of the mechanism is completed.


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    This is the top of the tree where the tree house second level will be.

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    Now I have to figure out how to connect the arms with the control wires. This will be tricky as there has to be just enough movement at the live end of the wires to do the desired movement.

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    I was thinking of making the whole of the tree house out of wood, but I think it will be more easy to make the movements out of brass and solder it together. I think the results will be more reliable and durable.

    Anyhoo, I have been working on the top tree house (there will be 3 levels in my tree house). This is the one with all the movement. The door opens and a kid looks out, he goes back inside and the door closes (sort of like a cuckoo clock). I made the workings from brass and some wire. It's nice to solder things together and bend them a bit to get them right. I started by making a paper pattern of the floor of the tree house so it fit between the 4 branches. Then cut it out from brass. I marked out the holes where the rods struck the brass floor and drilled slightly oversize holes. Then I cut out a frame from a brass sheet and folded some tangs around a piece of wire and soldered the tangs down to make a hinged hatch. The door control was first to be made. I folded a brass strip over the top of a "7" shape I bent in some fine wire. Then soldered the strip to the hatch.

    I made 2 up-rights and drilled a 1/8" hole through both.

    I made the bell crank out of a brass scrap. It has a 1/8" hole for the axle and a hole the size of the small wire in the top arm of the bell crank. There are 2 spacers made from brass tubing on either side of the bell crank on the axle to keep the bell crank spaced evenly from the up-rights. The axle is made from a piece of 1/8" welding rod. The whole bell crank assembly was assembled and soldered in to place. Then the wire control rod was cut and bent to go through the top of the bell crank.

    A hole for the main control wire was drilled in the lower arm on the bell crank. This hole needs to line up with the hole for the main wire perfectly so it doesn't bind, although, some adjustment is sure to be needed upon final assembly.

    The movement to lean the kid out the window was a bit more tedious to make. I first had a go with the tube and axle routine and was having trouble keeping the kid in the exact spot he needed to be so as to clear the doors control rod and the door itself. The slightest movement sideways was giving me a headache, but I fixed it with an old trick I used to use a lot on larger scale stuff (more on the trick in a moment).

    I used a connector from a radio controlled airplane for the kid's adjustment. These connections are sold at any hobby shop that sells radio controlled supplies. Have you ever looked at what is available in that section? A wealth of neat stuff. I forget the name of the adjustable connector, but you can see it in the photos. There is an Allen Screw in the side and it can be loosened and adjusted. The thing has a shaft machined on the back that goes through a hole and is secured with one of those press on nuts. I have some of this RC stuff left over from something I made a few years ago. The kid needs some way to adjust his angle. To make a compound control without at least one of the movements having an adjustment is folly.

    In order to put the kid in the center of the window I resorted to an old trick. I use to use nuts and bolts to make hinges and bearings for moving parts. Imagine you have to armatures and you want to make an elbow joint. I would use a nut and bolt. Weld the nut to one arm and weld the bolt to the other arm. Screw them together and you have a movable joint, it wont come apart on it's own, moves smoothly and nuts and bolts can be had cheap.

    Anyway, I used this sort of idea to make an axis for the kid to move around. I used a very small 4/40 tap I bought to help with the R/C stuff. I have some 4/40 bolts and nuts as well. I made 2 up-rights, this time in the shape of a "U" and soldered it to the base. Next I drilled a hole for the tap, then tapped the holes with the 4/40 threads. I made a leaver that the kid would be glued to and drilled and tapped the end. Now I took a 4/40 bolt (they have Allen heads) and put the bolt through the up- Right, then 3 turns, then through the leaver and on through the other upright. The treads on the leaver keep it centered where I want it.

    I drilled a hole in the back of the kid's leaver for a control wire. I made the control wire and bent it on to the leaver then assembled it all and cut the leaver as short as possible. I cut a grove in the back of the kid with my Dremel and them glued him to the leaver. With some adjustments I am happy with the way it is working. All this brass will be enclosed in the wood of the tree house once all the mechanisms are connected and everything works smoothly.

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    If you would like to see a 12 second video of this mechanism on action, be my guest.

    http://s82.photobucket.com/albums/j268/TrainClown/VODEOSTUFF/?action=view&current=treehouseMech.flv

    I have more progress to report. The tree house mechanism is glued to the top of the tree now. Everything is working fine. I made the control wire for the sign that is to pop up that says "No GRLZ!". I assembled it all and glued the broken branches back on the tree and set it aside to dry while I worked on other details.

    When I was a kid and part of the neighbourhood gang, we had tree forts. Along side our biggest fort was the wreck of an old car. Long abandoned and robbed of parts, it often took part in our games. We even used one of the doors as a wall on the fort (it had a roll down window, way cool!)

    So I have decided to add a derelict vehicle to my scene. I have a bunch of Life Like trucks (remember my Red Neck Motor-home? Same type truck). While things were drying in the glue department I set too with No. 11 blade and created a wreck for my scene. I thought you guys would like to see the thing before paint.

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    I cut the roof off so I could work on the details inside. It goes back on after paint and a kid will be lurking.

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    I have some junk castings for the box. I also plan to add some animation to this truck, but I will leave that up to your imaginations for now. You see, there is a wheel on the animation machine that has no direct link to the animation in the scene......yet.

    It's been slow going as of late. lots of stuff going on around here leaves little time for the bench. Progress has been made none the less. I managed to get the truck hooked up and moving. It still needs paint and final assembly. I am also going to tweak the drive wheel so there is a little less movement. You build these mechanisms and never really know how much movement you will have until it is all hooked up. Especially with these wavy wheels. But that's okay. I knew there would be more movement than I would want and that the wheel would need a final carving.

    Here is the idea of this part of the scene. The truck has been left on blocks after someone took what they wanted. the kids have found that if one rides inside the truck and one stands on top, they can make the truck rock on the blocks. Dangerous? Yes. But kids will do crazy foolish things in the name of fun.

    Here is how the scene is shaping up.

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    The truck rocks on a rather different type of hinge. It is made from 2 pieces of hardwood dowel for the blocks, you can see the hole for the hinge pin in the pic. They are glued to a basswood base. There is a piece of styrene tube glued to the underside of the floor at the back of the cab. A hole is drilled through the tube for the hinge pin. There are 2 glass seed bead spacers, one of each side of the tube.

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    The actuator rod has a 90 degree bend on the end and comes from below through the basswood base and hooks to the trucks frame. I'm going to blacken the rod so it is harder to see.

    Check out the movement in this short video:
    http://s82.photobucket.com/albums/j268/TrainClown/VODEOSTUFF/?action=view&current=TruckMoves.flv

    Here is one more pic of the viewing side of the truck.

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    I have something to show at last. After tinkering and thinkering, rebuilds and remodels, I have this machine working smoothly and reliably. If you recall my last post, I had just made the truck to move with a waffle wheel. As of now the truck is on the paint bench getting rusted up along with the LPKids, who are receiving new paint after having their winter clothes carved off. (I could only find a snowball fight set)

    The last big movement is the tire swing. This is the most rapid movement and the power is taken directly off the main drive cog on the motor. With this mechanism, as with all these mechanisms, the most important aspect is that there is no slop in any of the movements. Any sloppy movement will reduce distance of travel, it will result in a jerky movement and it will "talk," usually with a click. This also leads to premature failure. It's like building the part worn out. This particular motion was best achieved with a flat piece of brass and not a square tube like I used for most of the other armatures. A square tube with a hole drilled through it by its nature doesn't allow any lateral movement. This is real good when your armatures have to run in a precise alignment, but for this particular movement a precise alignment would cause difficulties. You see, the lever that the rod coming off the main drive cog operates runs at a right angle to the line of motion.

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    So as the rod goes up and down it also wants to pivot back and forth and a flat piece of brass with a hole drilled through it allows this quite nicely. The hole in the flat piece of brass is drilled 3/16" and a short piece of 3/16" o.d. Brass tubing that it runs on is firmly bolted to the main drive cog with the bolt so there's no slop there and it runs nice and smooth. I used instrument wire for the rods. I don't know if it's stainless steel or what but I couldn't very easily solder it so I had to come up with a way to mechanically join it to the brass plate. This way I have a spring steel rod with a brass end on it. I drilled a hole the size of the wire half an inch from the bottom of the brass plate. I cut two tabs on either side of the center line in the brass plate. I bent a quarter of an inch bend in the end of the wire, this goes through the hole and is bent up, the two tabs are wrapped around the wire and crimped with pliers. Just to make it skookum, I heated it up with my micro torch and soldered the brass around the wire.

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    There had to be two levers for the swing movement. The first lever transfers the power from one side to the other (as well as direction). The second lever is necessary in order to be able to choose the exact amount of travel that I want for the final movement. This is particularly important for this movement because the motor revolves at 40 rpm. This is a slow movement but it is still fairly fast. Indeed, if the travel of the tire was six inches or more, it would wind up moving very quickly in order to cover that amount of distance in the time allotted. So it's important to be able to reduce the distance that the tire is going to travel because the less distance the tire travels, the slower the actual swing speed will be. It is often necessary to have a lever to allow you to change the amount of movement that you're getting from your motor. You could go to great lengths and make the cam on the main drive cog just right for the amount of travel that you need but this is practically impossible unless you are engineering the device from mathematical blueprints. So the way you get around the problem of the amount of travel that your motor produces, whether it is not enough or it is too much, it can all be solved with a strategically placed lever. Three of the movements on this machine rely on this device. Only the truck movement is direct. But I did have to carve the waffle wheel down in order to reduce the amount of movement of the truck and to hone the timing involved with the bounce. The other three movements here all have different rates of travel and, therefore, there has to be some way to change whatever motion is coming off the motor into the precise distance needed.

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    In the above picture you can see the three levers I am talking about. You'll notice that the bottom lever not only reduces the amount of travel but it also changes the direction. I originally built this lever wrong and it was like the middle lever, but the device needed the direction reversed and it worked backwards. Har de har har . Anyway, after a refit it works fine. The bottom lever is the door movement, the middle lever is the sign movement and the top lever is the swing movement. Each lever has its own requirements as far as distance from the center pivot point. Some of the movements are quite close to obstacles, but a miss is as good as a mile.

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    You'll notice I extended the reach of the arm with a little piece of brass tubing. This allowed the rod to line up more precisely as it emerged from the bottom of the tree. You can also clearly see the "collar washer" in this picture. Fantastic for this sort of work, collar washers are readily available wherever they sell radio controlled airplane parts. They come with a little Allen key or you can replace the Allen head screw with a little bolt like I have done on several of them. The larger bolt is more convenient for quick changes.

    All the levers have a 1/16" hole for the 1/16" spring steel wire. This works really good, no slop, no talk. The problem is how do you join a 1/16" spring steel wire and a 1/32" spring steel wire together in such a way that you can still adjust it? The answer is with a piece of ordinary stove wire. You know what I mean by stove wire, don't you? Like ordinary black baling wire. Stove wire is no good for the main rods. For one thing, it's too flexible and is subject to the "oil can effect." (Bend a piece of steel enough and it will break). It is also the wrong diameter and is sloppy in a 1/16" hole. But for certain applications where the reach is not too great, this stuff works fine. It's also malleable enough to wrap tightly around the spring steel wire. So a short piece of stove wire wrapped tightly around the 1/16" wire, then it goes up an inch and wraps tightly around the 1/32" wire. Given a good snug twist once installed on the wires and it holds quite firm. I was able to run the machine like this for a long time. I was able to slide the wires and adjust for precise operation. Once I had it just the way I liked it I smeared some "Goop" over the twists in the wire to secure it. Works fine.

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    I had an ongoing problem which I have now solved, with the arms that ride the cam wheel. You can see in the pic below how I have replaced the inner arm. The outside arm is the original design with the 2-bend elbow. This is a poor design. The joints broke often. The outside arm has been reinforced with a brass plate. That's not the only problem with this design. It works really fine for a single application but to have two arms there is a problem. You see, you can't steer the wheel on the end of the rod. So the inner arm failed more often because it was constantly skidding sideways on the wheel. There was no way to steer the wheel in the right direction because it was all made of square tubing. This wasn't such a problem when there was no stress on the system but once the springs were installed I had real problems. The answer was to rebuild the arm. You can see how the square tubing has a piece of round tubing and the wheel is mounted on the end of that. This worked really well. I was able to adjust the height easily and steer the wheel precisely where it needed to go. Once it was all lined up perfect, a drop of solder made it solid. Now it tracks perfectly and operates silently. You'll also notice in these pics that the springs are attached directly to the arms. This is the best place for them. As a rule of thumb, it's better to have your return springs as close to the point of power takeoff as possible. This reduces the amount of stress on the system a great deal.

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    So now please take a minute to open this window and have a look at this thing in motion. It's a two minute video of where things are right now.

    Movement at last

    So I'm painting and prepping scenery. I got some junk castings I am painting up to add to the debris field. I've got eleven kids to choose from. I managed to get a couple of girls to complete the gag. I have some dogs too. I'm toying with the idea of animating one of the dogs. But we'll see. Once all the mechanical hoopla is out of the way I finally get the fun task of building the treehouse. That's what I set out to do in the first place. It's been a long time coming.

    More later! Don't touch that dial!

    TC
  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    That's Really Amazing!
  3. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    WOW WOW WOW!! I think you won the PB lid challenge, HANDS DOWN! :D Could you provide a link to the competition, if you'd be so gracious?
  4. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Sure will, Miles. And it's not a competition so much as it's a challenge. No single winner. everyone who participates and does his best is a winner for taking part. All our participants are outstanding in their own right.

    http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=13750

    Have a looky.:eek:

    TC :thumb:
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Beauty, eh? :thumb: :thumb:

    Wayne
  6. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

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    That is some excellent creativity!!!!!!:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  7. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

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    Well, I actually went and downloaded the flash player because I was that exited to see this thing in motion and it was worth it. I am excited to see it finished, truly creative work!!! :thumb::thumb::thumb:
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Chris,

    I have been following your progress (and all the others) at RR-L, and I am amazed by the work there - but yours most of all. You are in a category all your own!

    :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:

    Andrew
  9. MadModeler

    MadModeler Member

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    WOW! jawdrop
  10. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    ???? Great work!


    Rick
  11. Illus

    Illus Member

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    You should submit that to the Discovery Channel for Extreme Engineering!!
  12. zedob

    zedob Member

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    WOW, I can't believe I missed this. This way to cool Trainclown. I just can't view the vids. are they still available?
  13. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

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    TC - very nicely MacGuiver'd :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: - true ingenuity at its finest.... I was hoping everything has been OK with you. I have not read any of your wisdom on THE GAUGE for quite some time - Welcome back!!!!
  14. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Thanks for the interest. Still working on the model. Painting almost done now of the LPKids and the truck. Just had an inspiration to add even more movement.:rolleyes:

    I'll post more as it comes along. The videos are still available, but the server is quite busy at times, so try again. You need a flash player (8 I think).

    TC :thumb:
  15. Colton_modeler

    Colton_modeler Member

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    That is one of the wackiest Rube Goldberg type machines I have ever seen. It's so cool. I especially like the cam wheel and the carved 'rocker cam' wheel that makes the truck appear to bounce as it sets back down - I think I'm going to have to borrow and modify this idea when I add animation to grade crossing arms. Model RR arms look fake because they come down so smoothly and make a perfect stop; watch the prototype and notice that at the end of travel, both going up and down, they bounce a little - conveying a sense of weight on both the arm and the counterweight. Great thinking.
  16. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I think you left out the flux capacitor, Doc. :D

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  17. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Thanks, Colton. It sounds like you have a perfect application for what I call a "Waffle Wheel". It's akin to the cam wheel but has a slight difference. Cam wheels are designed to work more than one arm and the cams are attached one at a time in accordance with the motion required. A waffle wheel is like one giant cam, carved to the shape needed and only is designed to work one movement. (Although more movement can be stolen from a waffle wheel.)

    I used a woodcarving gouge to rough out the main shape I wanted and then refined the shape with a sanding drum mounted on my Dremel. I kept removing stuff until I have it move just as I like it. The bounce you see in the video has been refined since that video was taken and the truck actually moves less now. (distance up and down I mean by that).

    I think when you go to make your crossing gate, it would be easier if the wheel was larger, say 5" or 6" across. You could put a cam lobe on opposite sides of the edge of the wheel to trigger a micro switch and shut of the power intermittently.

    Train comes along, triggers power by micro switch, motor turns and closes gate, once gate closed then the motor is turned off by micro switch on side of waffle wheel. Once train moves off micro switch, by-pass power is restored and motor turns to open gate. Once gate open then second micro switch on the side of the waffle wheel turns it off and the system is set for the next cycle.

    I'm not sure if you know this, but micro switches have 3 poles on them. Normally open, normally closed and power in.

    If I can help in any way, just ask.

    TC :thumb:
  18. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Hoe did you get that photo of me at my bench? sign1 :rolleyes: :D

    That's about it. The hair is a little different, though.tooth1

    TC stooges8
  19. Runs With Bears

    Runs With Bears Member

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    Amazing! i love it!
  20. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Well here I am. At long last, I have completed my PBL. Seems like a month of Sundays, but who's counting? I sure had fun with this model.

    I have 2 videos to share as well. One on the model and animated characters and the other on how they work.

    That's enough gassing and wincing about.
    Here are the pix.

    The Unwanted Guests


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    A few notes of interest.

    *The leash is made from one of my hairs.
    *The junk is plaster casts I made from latex rubber molds.
    *The saw is made from tin foil.
    *The tarp is tissue paper glued to tin foil with paint.
    *There are 6 individual movements taken off the motion of one motor.
    *There are 11 LPBs, 3 dogs and 2 cats.
    *The ferns are made from a green feather.

    That's all I can think of right now. Here are the videos:

    Display.
    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=3016275374987213402

    Mechanical.
    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=8156962816497309594


    Now I get to clean up my bench. :rolleyes:

    TrainClown