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Some very easy projects and status of the others.

Marble toy for Granddaughter.

All this design work gets tiring. Sometimes it is just nice to pick up the tools and “throw something together”. That is exactly what I did with these two projects.

On the first one, the marble machine, my Granddaughter was visiting and I wanted to create something to play with that not purchased and required a little imagination.  Rolling marbles down ramps is always fun and with a cardboard box, a knife, and a hot glue gun it was quick and easy to build.

One side of the box was cut out and then cut into strips that were folded to make chutes for the marbles to roll down.   At the bottom I cut a hole so the marble could roll onto a table.  Later once I found another box I decided to make the bottom half shown in the picture.  A piece of a yardstick that I had used in a previous project was used to make the lever.  A rubber-band was used to hold the lever up until the marbles weighted enough to cause the collection pan on the end of the level to dump the marbles.

It was fun for her and showed her that sometimes the best things don’t come out of a store or a video game, but out of your own mind.

Sorting Screen for composting.

The second project was a copy of a previous one.  I compost leaves and other yard waste.  The “other yard waste” is often times that are bigger and take a long time to decompose.  When I get around to digging out the compost pile it is necessary to sort the big items so these can be given a second, chance to decompose.  I do this by screening the items.

The screen frame is designed to sit on a wheelbarrow and I dump the shovel full of the composted material on top of the screen.  Next I use a hoe to move the material across the screen until only large items remain.  These are then scraped off the screen into a 5 gallon bucket at the front of the wheelbarrow.

The end of the frame.

The previous frame had been in the weather for several years and was falling apart. All I had to do to make this one was simply take dimensions from the old one and cut a few 2X4’s and some scrap lumber. The only thing that involved much thinking at all was the notching the end 2X4 to fit with the side boards.


The board marked for a notching.

Both projects were quick, easy and low cost.






Status of other projects:

I now have an Arduino and have been reading information about it.   A major sticking point is the A-D converter in it.  The converter can accept a maximum of 5.3 Volts or more specifically 0.3 volts above the internal voltage of the Arduino.  Probably I am am going to have to re-think the final stage of the thermistor board.   I think it is doable, and will be working on that this weekend.

I purchased some 1/8″ steel rope for the crane.  It is unacceptable because this particular rope is too stiff.   I will be looking at some other options this weekend.   I also.  I think I will dress the crane out to be a complete toy, but from this point on all of the work will only be discussed when something interesting is determined and can be reported on in a post or two.   I also will not try to remain a “popsicle purist”  on the rest of it.

I have been reading some in the Solar Energy books and will be making a recommendation very soon.   I have been impressed with these books.

The next project will be a linear regulating power supply.  I have built one from a kit and it is worth the money.  The power supply does not come with any theory about the operation, but I have some experience doing that analysis and it fits in very nicely with the electrical theory we are talking about now.


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2 comments to Some very easy projects and status of the others.

  • Brian Voss

    Gary, Why not use chain for the crane project. Ball chain, as used for light switches, should be readily available, but isn’t strong. Mechano sets used to come with a kind of simple link chain, used for making gear and chain linkages; if you could find something like that it would give you flexibility and possibly sufficient strength. It wouldn’t strech prior to breaking.

    • Gary

      I may do something like that Brian. Thanks for the suggestion. It turns out the main stressed cables will end up being a fixed length after all is said and done. There will be a hinged section behind the area where a cab sits on a real crane. Since the stress is 4X that on the hook, It means the movement would be 1/4 of the movement of the boom. I can then use a pulley arrangement to gear that into a mechanical advantage and get back to regular string. You are seeing a preview of a future post here right now. I have yet to draw the diagrams. I kind of over-did-it on these projects… they all got complicated at the same time.

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