Introduction: Wakeboard Winch

1- What did you make? (Tell the story of what you made and how it works. Why did you use the tools and materials you selected?)
 I created a wakeboard winch. A winch is a machine that reals in a long rope rapidly with enough power to drag someone across a body of water on a board. A lot of the materials we used were parts that we had laying around the house, and because of this we saved a lot of money. we bought the hose reel cart, chain, sprocket, and clutch. My friend Sean had the go cart engine and the Dollie  and we had the sign and the rope. My friend Tyler had a welder and all the tools that we needed.

2- How did you make it? (Tell us where you got the idea for the project. Did you work with anyone else? Did your plans and ideas change as you worked on the project?)
  Because I have spent my whole life in San Diego, CA, I have spent a lot of time in the water. I love to swim, surf, skate, and wakeboard. Last year I got really into wake-boarding  but didn't have a ski boat. So I looked into other options. I saw some videos online of people getting towed by a large engine-powered machine called a winch. I loved the idea, and decided I would try to build one on my own.

3- Where did you make it? (Home, school, somewhere else? How did this connect to other activities in your life?)
 We designed and built the machine at my house, my friend Tyler's house, and my friend sean's house. Building this winch gave me the ability to wakeboard whenever I wanted.

4- What did you learn? (Describe your biggest challenges and any surprises that arose during the build. What are you proudest of? If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?)
 This Project was by far one of the most challenging things I have ever created. We went through many failed designs and dead ends. It took us six months to finish the project. Some of our biggest challenges included fixing the engines carburetor and oil leak, designing a kill switch, producing a solid base for the engine, attaching the sprocket to the spool. lining everything up correctly, adjusting the chain length, stabilizing the machine. If I had the chance to re-build this project, I would make sure that the sprocket and the clutch were aligned perfectly, and that the engine base would not budge.
     Overall it was a fun project to think up and make and I couldn't be more happy with the result.

Step 1: Materials Needed

 -Garden Hose Reel Cart
 -Red Dollie
 -Sheet metal
 -6.5 hp Engine
 -Centrifugal Clutch (8 tooth)
 -Bicycle Chain
 -Sprocket (54 tooth)
 -floor flange
 -Nuts, Bolts, and Washers
 Large Carabiner


Step 2: The Frame

Remove the Handle crank from the Hose Reel Cart. Then remove the wheels and the lower platform from the Dollie  so you have three rods of metal, roughly 3 feet long, all connected. Weld this to the bottom of the hose cart, so the top of the Dollie is beneath the axle of the spool where the handle crank was. Make sure the curved handle of the Dollie is facing down so it acts as a foot. Next, take the sheet metal and attach it to the upper side of the Dollie with welds, rivets, or clamps. ( we used half of an old sign for the metal). This platform will hold the engine, so make sure its stable.

Step 3: The Sprocket

Take the 54 tooth sprocket and attach it to the end of the axle of the spool. The hose reel we used had the same threaded tip as a floor flange, so we threaded that on the end, welded it on, then welded a piece of sheet metal (part of the old street sign, circular, radius smaller then the sprocket). Next we attached the sprocket to that metal with 6 bolts,lock washers, and nuts. This way, you can insert washers as you please to straighten the sprocket. This step is crucial  and if the sprocket isn't just about perfectly centered, the chain will pop off when any strain is put on it.

Step 4: Engine

We used a 6.5 hp go cart engine. attach an 8 tooth centrifugal clutch to the engine shaft. Then, take a piece of plywood, cut it to a shape that fits beneath the sheet metal between the dollie edges. This will help keep the platform sturdy. Now, line the clutch teeth up with the sprocket teeth, and mount the engine to the sheet metal and the wood with bolts, lock washers, and nuts. You must line it up as straight as you can.

Step 5: Chain

Next take the chain, shorten it to the accurate length to wrap around the two gears, and close the loop. Then, turn the sprocket as you guide the chain onto the machine. If everything is lined up right, you should be able to turn the spool with ease. if anything is off, then the chain will pop off when you start the engine.

Step 6: Rope

Take the 600 ft Polypropholene Rope and tie it to the inside of the spool, and rap it up all the way around. Then, take a 6 inch PVC pipe and tie it to the end of the rope as a handle.

Step 7: Testing and Riding

When the engine pulls against the person, it pulls the whole machine towards the rider. to prevent the whole machine from flipping itself over, tie both ends of the base to a solid object, like a car or a large rock. Make sure you are far from any fragile objects, children, or pets. let the rider walk out the extension of the rope. Have hand signals for engine started, and go. when the rider is ready, turn on the engine, and give it gas. The spool should start rapidly spinning, and the person will be towed back towards the winch. We used a large Carabiner to align the rope back onto the spool evenly.

if you ride a boogie board or skim board  push of the ground in shallow water to help the start. If you ride a skateboard or a surfboard, give a little push at the the beginning. On wakeboard, start on a slippery surface like a PVC pipe in shallow water.

Have Fun and Safety First!

Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

Fourth Prize in the
Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

UP! Contest

Participated in the
UP! Contest

Jury Rig It! Contest

Participated in the
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