Gears… Gears… Gears…

For our Piecing it Together midterm, Natalie and I teamed up to accomplish a common goal: learn how to use gears.

We decided to make an automata box, using gears to move characters above the box.

Our First Brainstorm

Our First Brainstorm

We sketched out a plan, and made a prototype out of cardboard. We used Vectorworks to create the shapes, and referenced Making Things Move for the gear ratios and math!

Our goal was to make a large gear in the back turn very slowly, and two smaller gears to turn a large gear/platform that would make characters move around on top of the box.

The trouble:

  • The material was too thin to determine the right gear shapes
  • The gears got ‘stuck’ on one another– we fixed it by rounding the gears in Vectorworks by choosing “Involute” for Tooth Profile
  • The 2 – toothed gear always got stuck – it was not meshing because the “non teeth area” was not interlaced with the large gear
  • There was a lot of room for error in the spinning dowels

Ok, we learned a lo, so on to the next prototype!


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