Propeller Driven Pendulum





Introduction: Propeller Driven Pendulum

About: I am an American teaching English at Shangluo University, Shaanxi. I like making machines that do interesting but fairly useless things - I call them Quixotic Machines.
This is a simple project using a toy motor with propeller to drive a pendulum. The problem I encountered while making the mechanism was how to drive the motor only when the pendulum was going forward. To do that I made a simple mechanical contact switch with the conductive wire only on one side of a zip tie so that as the pendulum moves forward a conducting wire makes contact with an electrical contact plate but as the pendulum reverses direction, the conductive wire is prevented from making contact since it is only on one side of the zip tie. Watch the video for a clearer understanding of how it works.

I would like to throw out a challenge: the brush switch isn't a very elegant solution and I would be interested in anyone coming up with a mechanical switch design (no microprocessor) that only switches on when the pendulum is in forward motion.

Watch video here to see pendulum operating
1st Photo:
The switch that turns the motor on only when the pendulum is in forward motion is simply a zip tie with a conductive wire shrink wrapped on one side. The end of the conductive wire makes contact with my electrical contact plate (a piece of steel ruler) only when going in one direction. As the pendulum returns the zip tie makes contact with the plate, but not the wire (mostly true - it does often make momentary contact both ways but not enough to power the motor equally both ways).

Note the screw just holds the zip tie in a hole through the pendulum arm to keep it in place.

2nd Photo:  shows a closeup of the arm and the pivot axle. I used pieces of a hollow fiberglass fishing pole for both. I epoxied the smaller axle pole inside the pendulum arm. The axle is supported by a bicycle spoke that goes through holes in both support poles(see first photo). There must be very little play in the axle as the contact between the switch and the switch plate is measured in a few millimeters.

3rd Photo:  closeup of the motor and prop. I used a 500mAh lipo 2S battery to power the motor (7.4 volts).



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    No for, just is.

    I thought so too - just another useless machine but I have seen a few websites where academic types make prop driven pendulums to test their sensor feedback systems. I just like pendulums.

    It's quite hypnotic to watch - a really large one could make an interesting installation.

    Oh, pretty!

    Big enough to ride? That would be fun.
    I thought it would be cool to put one in a bell jar, turn it on and suck out the air. No end to useless applications.

    An oversized ibles theme park...

    Like a brushed motor. Yes, that would be better. I still have most of this project and if I revisit it like I have others of mine, I will implement your idea. Thank you. At least it should spark less and smell less of ozone.

    an answer to your challenge. a more elegent solution would be to put contacts on the axil which i hope swings with the pendulum and have that contact on bolth sides so the wires are less visible