Mister Jan

Introduction: Mister Jan

Welcome to the instruclable of 'Mister Jan'!

Let us start with an introduction. We are 4 students of 'Howest' in Kortrijk, Belgium and this was an assignment for 'MyMachineVlaanderen'. In this assignment we had to develop a dream-machine of a child in elementary school. From al the machines, the machine little Sebastian saw in his dreams was chosen.

We begin this instructable by showing you the first step in every designproces of every product in the world: an idea!

After Sebastian had drawn his idea, we developed it further with sketches, 'Illustrator' and finally, a prototype!

in the next 7 steps we will try to explain how we build our prototype, so everyone outhere can try and make one.


Step 1: Gathering the Pieces

To build the basic structure and wheels you wil need a MDF plate of 4 or 6 mm from 600mm on 1000mm. To make the axes and hadlebars you wil need a stick, we used a stick of diameter 15 mm and length 1000mm.

We drew our parts in 'Adobe Illustrator' and had them laser cut. If you don't have a laser cutter at your disposal you can saw the pieces by hand, but it will take some extra time. If you try to make the pieces by hand, don't forget to drill the 12 holes for the axes of the wheels, handlebars, musicbox and launch arm.

Step 2: Making the Wheels

Now we have got the pieces we can start building by making the wheels. We made the wheels by gluing 3 MDF circles together. By gluing 2 bigger circles together and a small one in between, we created a small opening to place rubber bands in. Like this we need: 2 big wheels, 2 small wheels (scale 1:3). The next thing you will need are the 2 wheels to speed up the ball (the shooting wheels), make them thick enough so the ball wont slip next to them.

Finally we made 3 little rings for each axes, we will use those rings to stop the axes from moving in or out the holes.

Step 3: Making the Axes

Now we've made the the wheels, it's time to build te axes. The axes are made out of the stick we told you about in the beginning. We made 3 pieces of 9 cm, those pieces will keep our machine together. As you can see in the first picture, we place one in every corner, exept the top right corner. you can glue them instantly.

The second type of axes are the ones that will hold the shooting wheels. We make 2 of those and they are about 10 to 11 cm. When you mount the axes, make sure you add the shooting wheels and the small wheels for the rubber band to it.

The last type of axes are those for the handles. We make the axes both 20 cm long so they are bigger than the rest of the machine. On these axes we place the big wheels for the rubber band (3 times bigger than the small wheels).

To hold the second and last type of axes in its place, place 3 small rings on each axis (you see in the second picture they are not yet there, in the first one they are). Because of these rings your axes won't be able to move left and right anymore.

! DON'T glue anything before you are sure that everything is on it place !

Step 4: Making the Launching Arm

We left the holes in the top right corner open, the reason is: we have to place the launching arm there!

Instead of making the whole arm, we just used a little scoop-net, like the ones you normally use in the kitchen. This net we glued on an axis. Once it is glued on, we placed the axis in the top right corner. Just like the other axes you can fix this axis by putting on 3 rings, 1 ring on one end, 2 rings on the other.

To give the axes its launching capabilty we attatched a rubber band to it. One end we glued on the axis of the launch arm, the other end we fixed on the top left corner axis in such a way it was tensioned.

To prevent it from unwinding itself we put u big screw in the axes, as you can see in picture 2.

Step 5: Placing the Musicbox

One of Sebastians wishes was the machine would we able to create music. We were able to do this by placing a musicbox and it went like this:

We mounted the musicbox on a piece of MDF so it would be easier to glue against the side of our machine.

When this was done we saw of the handle of the musicbox, in a way only a straight piece of metal was left. This piece we glue straigt on the middle of one of the axes with the shooting wheels. Why this axis? Because they spin faster, which is necessary tho achieve the right speed for making music.

Now the musicbox is in position so we can glue it against the side.

Step 6: Making the Frame

The machine would be quite ugly if we placed it out there like this, this is why we made a frame to put around the inside of our machine. We made all the pieces (the battens and big rings you can see in the first pictures) in illustrator and now it's time to glue the pieces together.

Once the whole has dried,we can place our frame around the inside and its time for the next step.

Step 7: Placing the Rails

Our machine is nearly ready but we still need something to guide the balls to where they need to be. To get them in between the shooting wheels we used iron rails.

The rails we made out of 4 thick steel wires. On one end we welded a steel ring a little bigger than the balls we were going to use. If you can not weld, you can just knot the wires to the steel ring. Make sure your knots don't get in the way ofthe shooting balls!

The other end of the 4 wires we fixed to the top of the frame.

Once this is done you can try en bend the wires till you reach the right radius. It's trail and error but you will get there and once you get there it's time for the last step!

Step 8: Finishing Mister Jan

Mister Jan is almost ready!

But we can still see trough the frame, it's time to make Mister Jan a little more attractive.

We are going to do this by giving him a nice coat and hat. First of all the coat: take a large piece of fabric with a pattern you like. Flip it over so you see the backside. On this backside you draw the cone perimeter. A little tip: draw the perimeter a bit bigger, you can always cut some of it away afterwards. once you have drawn the perimeter it's time to cut it out and place it around our frame. While doing this you will have to make holes for the handles and the launching arm. Don't forget the hole for the balls!

Al Mister jan needs now is a hat. We placed a basket on top so the children can trow the balls in on top.

Once his hat is glued on, Mister Jan is born!

Step 9: My Machine

c.2007 All ideas, concepts, drawings, pictures, videos, documents, posters, comments, mock-up scale models, prototypes and machines that are developed in the context of MyMachine are the property of MyMachine vzw.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from MyMachine vzw is strictly prohibited. MyMachine vzw is a social profit organization that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship, open education and STEM in education.


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    What a fun machine! Then again mymachineglobal always looks like they're having way too much fun! Welcome to instructables, hope we see more from you!