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Popsicle Crane Update no 2

A side view of the boom.

It has been a little bit since I have talked about the popsicle stick crane. Work is still proceeding but there is not a lot to show yet other than a few work in progress pictures.

I have built the main part of the boom and this time I was much more precise and the finished results look a lot better.

Gluing the two sides of the boom. The initial top and bottom pieces.

I have designed this boom at a better looking 3″ height, and 3 1/2″ width. I was much more careful choosing the sticks for the columns and I was much more careful when gluing the columns together and made sure the sticks remained aligned to each other. I think the was enough surface area for the wood going across the narrow sides of the sticks that I will not have to tie it off like I talked about last time. The pieces going directly across the top and bottom where glued to the overlap area of the columns so it had the surface area of the thickness of five sticks to adhere to.

Top view of the boom

Most of the effort lately as been trying to build pulleys. I wanted to get a feeling for how difficult that would be before doing the effort for the two ends of the crane. I have designed the bottom end of the crane which will be a wooden hinge.



The bottom end of the crane pieces.

This butt end of the boom will be glued to the end of the boom with two sticks. The top end has not been designed yet and will be a much bigger challenge.  It has only been designed, I have not yet started building this.




I built the pulleys by making “popsicle plywood” by gluing two layers of the sticks perpendicular to each other.  After the glue dried, I cut my wood into 4 parts and drilled a hole in the center of it.  I started with a very small hole and worked up to 1/4″.  I then rough rounded the wood using a 1/4″ fender washer as a guide.  I tried some other methods to cut the wood, but because I needed to get moving on this work, I broke down and used an electric tool, a Dremel with a cut-off wheel to cut the wood.  The cut-off wheel is designed for metal and did about as much burning through the wood as it did cutting, but it got the job done quickly.

Sanding the wheel to make it round.

I went through several iterations of making the wheels round and several iterations of thickness of the pulleys. The initial idea was to make a 2 ply wheel and then glue sides on it. The outer layers would be a larger diameter to form the pulley. There was several problems with this idea. First it required a lot of work and second the pulleys were going to be very wide. To form the inner wheel I had to first get it round before gluing the sides on it. To do that I mounted the wheel on a 1/4″ bolt and then chucked the bolt in a drill. The drill was held in a vise. I first used rough sandpaper on a sanding block to round the wheel. Later, I nixed the block idea and just used my hand to hold the sand paper. Ideally I should use some sort of tool rest to keep the sand paper from bouncing, but it worked good enough.

The almost finished pulleys.

Eventually I ended up making some 2 ply pulleys that were 3 popsicle stick wide. I also tried a 3 ply pulley that was based on 4 sticks wide and with each layer 60 degrees from the previous layer. I cut the groves in each wheel by using a small wood carving chisel while the wheel was still chucked in the drill. This method seems to work well. Again, it would be better if I had some sort of tool rest, but this worked good enough. Should you try this, be very careful. It would be easy to let the tool get caught and loose control of a sharp tool.

The groves on the pulleys. The 3 ply is the 2nd pulley from the left.

The next steps with the pulleys is to sand the pulley sides very smooth and then test the friction between the pulleys. I may try some hard coating on the pulleys and then some sort of lubricant on the sides. I will also have to sightly increase the hole diameter so the pulley can spin on the shaft. Once all of that is done I will be ready to design the head end of the boom.

Announcement.    I have noticed that I have several people that have attempted to subscribe to this site,  Depending upon how you subscribe, it may send you a second e-mail asking you to go to a web address to confirm that you really want to subscribe.  I think that be be getting caught in spam filters.  This especially seems to be the case for gmail accounts.  If you have not heard anything within a day or so of attempting to subscribe, please e-mail me and I will manually “accept” you.

As always.  thank you for your time.



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