After re-reading the guidelines for the Build My Lab and the Workshop Contest, I'm not sure how this project fits into those criteria... but here it is anyways.

This project is the result a fourth-grade science project, a broken food processor, and a couple nights worth of work. My younger sister was in a group of students, and as their project, they chose to examine the strength of bridges in earthquakes.

Originally, my sister asked me to do this. Now, of course, when my mom started talking about duct-taping a motor to a desk to shake the desk back and forth, I had to get involved before something bad happened. And I wanted to totally make this one of the best, cleanest-designed things I've ever made.

So without further ado, I present the Miniature Earthquake Simulator.

Safety Precautions:
- Insulated Gloves
- Safety Glasses
- Common Sense

If you undertake this project, you will be working with 120V AC mains power. I assume you know not to do stuff like connect the two ends of the wires when they are plugged into the wall socket - with your body or just by themselves.
The motor also goes really fast and spins stuff around even faster. That's what makes the thing work. It can also destroy your hand, or the wires, or the container, etc. etc.
ALWAYS wear GOGGLES and GLOVES when working with the electrics. Make sure stuff isn't plugged in when you're wiring stuff up. PLEASE be careful! I am not responsible for any and all injuries, damages, or accidents caused by this project.

- Plywood Sheet
- Heavy-Duty Plastic Tub
- Bike Tubes
- Screws (Various Sizes)
- Washers
- Insulated Wire Nuts
- Food Processor (or other electric motor)
- Insulated Plastic Electrical Staple (Optional)
- Mains power cord
- Nuts + Bolts (Alternative)
- Counterweight (I used a block of wood with a screw into a PVC pipe.)
- Switches (mainly covered by the food processor - however, the safety switch is an important piece to consider making pretty.)

- Drill
- Drill Bits (Various Sizes)
- Scissors
- Vise Grips or Pliers
- Screwdriver(s)
- Saw (I used a plastic pipe saw)
- File
- Jigsaw (or other power saw - suggested)
- Square and Measuring Tape
- Workbench (Vise suggested)

I'm sure I've forgotten something. With reusing projects like this one, the more tools and materials at your disposal, the better. You'll know what tools you need to use as you go, or how to improvise with another tool. But at all times, please be careful, and have fun!

Update: The earthquake simulator will be used in a few weeks to test structures at our middle school! Good luck, Earth Science classes!

Step 1: Processing the Processor

Make sure the processor is UNPLUGGED. You don't need the blade, or the top, or the bowl thing. Just the motor and gears and wires.

I started with the food processor. Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures of these first steps. While taking the screws out of the bottom of the machine, I found that one was not a standard screw. I remedied this by ripping the plastic molding off the bottom.

Then, when I found that there was still some plastic molding connected to the processor, I took Vise Grips and ripped it off too.

Sometimes force is a good thing.

After removing the bottom paneling, I was able to remove the motor mount and get to the wiring. Make sure that you save the shaft that spins the blade, and the gear connected to it. This is what I will be attaching the weight to, so that the platform will vibrate. This is better than attaching the weight directly to the motor, because it saves the motor by channeling the off-center force into the first gear. It also makes the shaft spin with more torque, which will keep the motor spinning even with a big weight at the end of it.

Next, I found the connections between all the wires. They were some factory-installed wire nuts that I un-crimped (see picture two above) with some pliers. Take note of the connections, and which wires go where. Then the motor and power cord can be removed.

On my model, there were screws that had to be removed before the switches could be taken out. There are really two switches in the casing: the one that controls the speed and pulse, and the safety switch that keeps the motor from turning on if the bowl and top is not attached.

About This Instructable


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Bio: I like to take junk and make it better junk. I'm LDS, an Eagle Scout, aspiring mechanical engineer, IB student, and school 3D printer ...
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