Step 1: My Wooden Gears.
My wooden gears were designed on an early CAD program belonging to my neighbor. Unfortunately I don't have the statistics on pitch angles etc., but there are plenty of programs out there that can assist you in the designing of gears, here is an example - http://youtu.be/Hf9NoDT5nDk
My gears range in diameter from 63mm (22 tooth), 121mm (44 tooth), 162mm (60 tooth), and 275mm (105 tooth). The 3 smaller gears have a 22mm center hole for a 22mm(OD) X 8mm(ID) bearing, and the larger gear a 28mm hole for a 28mm(OD) X 15mm(ID) bearing. They are laser cut from 15mm and 12mm plywood board, the cross-grain of the plywood giving the teeth extra strength. The laser cutter does burn the sides, though not enough to effect the performance of the gears. With the burnt edges and my black backboards, I like the look of them. I sand and give each of them 3 coats of clear gloss enamel.
The motors which power my work come from old VCR's, and I will go into detail on those another time. The main image shown here is my very first set of gears, which had a smaller center hole. The other images show the works from the video at various stages of construction.
Step 2: My Designs.
The design process for me usually begins with an idea of an interesting, artistic way that I would like something to move. I then begin to process and refine my idea in my mind, thinking through the best way to achieve this movement in a practical sense, but also for artistic effect. On occasion I will do small drawings if the mechanism seems a little too complicated or the movement too difficult to fully imagine, but mostly I work from head to hands and jump straight into things. Inspiration can come from almost any source, but I'm not inclined to copy. If I have seen something which I feel inspired to build, I generally just use the very basic idea and modify it completely for my own creative purposes. Throughout the build process other ideas often come to me. These I either incorporate into my current project, or sometimes use them in future projects. When I am building a work, I am so absorbed in what I am doing that it is no surprise to me that other ideas occur naturally, the important thing is to build, and ideas will flow.
Step 3: Summary - Why Art?
The simple answer is that it is what I was trained to do. I have no formal training in engineering, just a love for it and a love for art. Combining the two was a logical choice for me. Obviously my works serve no practical engineering purpose other than for visual enjoyment and to entertain, for me they are much more art, rather than machine. If anyone is interested in seeing more of my work, there are plenty of others to watch on my YouTube page - http://www.youtube.com/user/MechanicalSculptor
This article serves as an introduction to my work, and I will upload more detailed articles on the practical aspects of my creations in future. Thank you for reading/watching, I hope you enjoyed!
Regards, Brett Dickins.