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Post 59B – Do Nothing Machine

They say variety is the spice of life.  I like variety, so that is how we will proceed in this web site.   As I was taking a brain break, I thought very seriously about directions to proceed:  Should I go more into mathematics?  Should I do more physical building?   Should I go more into theory?  So I decided….What the heck lets do them all.

One of the devices I thought about was a home-made toy roughly pictured above.  It has various names.  One of those is called “The Do Nothing Machine”.  The name I knew it by was called the “BS Grinder”, because if it is designed correctly the two shuttles barely miss each other as the handle is turned.  Since we are approaching the “political season” here in USA, I think I will paint one of the shuttles blue and the other one red to honor the two political parties that will talk a lot of BS and do a lot of nothing.

Seriously, during my research of this device, I found it has lots of other names and purposes.  It is called the “Trammel of Archimedes” and also an ellipsograph because the handle will draw an ellipse.

We will have several opportunities to learn from this device.  First, we will talk about graphing and the mathematics involved in making a nice one that can be used for drawing ellipses and possibly to make elliptical cuts using a router.  On the practical side there are several ways we can build one of these and we will explore all of those.

Some of the other subjects soon to be talked about is electricity and electronics.  We will be heading toward making an accurate electronic thermometer so we can take do some analysis of some solar heating experiments I am interested in.  That too will require some reading and understanding of coordinates and graphing.

I also will do a couple of more tutorials on CAD.  I received an interesting e-mail from a clockmaker and we need to deal a little more in detail about blocks, rotating parts, multiple copies, and hatching.

The third area will be continuing on with statics and building and analysis of trusses.  We will construct those out of popsicle sticks.  This will permit low priced experimentation that can be scaled up many things.  Trusses are everywhere.  Obviously, we see them in bridges and buildings, but less obvious, are airplane frames, crane derricks, even the sound like light shows at concerts.

After we get past the Do-nothing machine I will continue on with mechanisms of all sorts.  Although I made my career in electrical, mechanical things have always interested me and probably are more useful in the personal projects.

So…. All-in-all, we have a lot of something to do with our Do-Nothing Machine.

Gary

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