Windup Bunny 2 With a PLA Spring Motor and Floating Pinion Drive

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About: Retired and still learning.

Windup Bunny 2 is a dual floating pinion all wheel drive update to my original Windup Bunny of years ago. Even though Windup Bunny 2 is larger (1.5 times) and heavier (120 grams versus 64 grams) than the original Windup Bunny, it runs faster and further thanks to its dual floating pinion / rotating pinion gear carriage design along with a stronger spring.

I've designed rear wheel drive floating pinion models before that utilize both gravity and rotational momentum in order to disengage the rear axle from the spring motor once the spring motor energy is depleted. Windup Bunny 2 is more complicated in that it is all wheel drive thus both the rear and front axles must disengage from the spring motor in order to coast and / or function as a push / pull toy. In order to accomplish this, the design incorporates a rotating dual floating pinion carriage with a rear mass heavy enough to disengage both the front and rear axles from the spring motor once the spring motor energy is depleted.

Windup Bunny 2 is another favorite of our kids and grandkids, providing both a windup and push / pull toy for the older and younger family members. And while much sturdier than the original Windup Bunny, it does require patience and finesse to print, assemble and test.

As usual, I probably forgot a file or two or who knows what else, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to point them out as I do make mistakes in plenty.

Designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, sliced using Cura 3.5.0, and printed in PLA and Tough PLA on an Ultimaker 2+ Extended and an Ultimaker 3 Extended.

Step 1: Purchase, Print and Prepare the Parts.

I purchased four 31mm I/D by 3.5mm section O-Rings for the "tires".

Please refer to the file "Windup Bunny 2.pdf" for the parts count and settings.

Prior to assembly, I test fit and trimmed, filed, sanded, etc. all parts as necessary for smooth movement of moving surfaces, and tight fit for non moving surfaces. If you decide to make your own Windup Bunny 2, depending on the colors you chose, your printer model and your printer settings, more or less trimming, filing and/or sanding may be required. I carefully filed all edges that contacted the build plate to make absolutely certain that all build plate "ooze" was removed and that all edges were smooth, especially the gear teeth. I used small jewelers files and plenty of patience to perform this step. I also used 6mm by 1 right hand threaded taps and dies to prepare the threaded parts prior to assembly.

Step 2: Assemble the Floating Pinion Carriage.

I assembled the Floating Pinion Carriage as follows:

  • Positioned "Gear, Idler, Front (8, 1.5).stl" and "Gear, Idler, Rear (8, 1.5).stl" onto "Carriage, Left.stl".
  • Positioned "Carriage, Right.stl" onto the carriage assembly, then secured carriage right in place with two "Axle, Carriage.stl".
  • Threaded "Bolt, Carriage.stl" into the assembly.

With the floating pinion carriage assembled, I made sure the pinions rotated freely in the carriage.

Step 3: Assemble the Frames.

To assemble the Frames, I performed the following steps:

  • Positioned "Knob and Axle.stl" into "Frame, Left.stl".
  • Pressed "Spring.stl" onto "Knob and Axle.stl" while positioning the spring end onto the spring mount in "Frame, Left.stl".
  • Pressed "Pawl.stl" onto "Knob and Axle.stl".
  • Positioned "Gear, Pawl (40, 1.5).stl" onto "Pawl.stl".
  • Positioned "Gear, Compound ((8, 1.5), (40, 1.5)).stl into the carriage assembly.
  • Slid the carriage assembly onto the frame assembly.
  • Secured "Frame, Right.stl" onto the assembly using three "Bolt, Frame.stl".
  • Secured "Frame, Left.stl" using three "Bolt, Frame.stl.

With the frames assembled, I made sure the spring motor functioned properly, and that the carriage assembly rotated freely.

Step 4: Add the Wheel Axles and Wheels.

To add the Wheel Axles and Wheels, I performed the following steps:

  • Wrapped the four O-Rings on each of the four wheels.
  • Pressed "Gear, Axle, Front (8, 1.5).stl" onto "Axle, Front.stl" exactly 21.20mm from one end of "Axle, Front.stl". If the gear was not tight on the axle, I used a small dot of cyanoacrylate glue to secure it in place.
  • Pressed "Gear, Axle, Rear (8, 1.5).stl" onto "Axle, Rear.stl" exactly 25.20 mm from one end of "Axle, Rear.stl". If the gear was not tight on the axle, I used a small dot of cyanoacrylate glue to secure it in place.
  • Positioned the front axle assembly between the left and right frames such that the gear aligns with "Gear, Idler, Front (8, 1.5).stl".
  • Pressed one "Wheel, Front.stl" onto the front axle assembly, with the axle flush with the wheel outer surface.
  • Pressed the remaining "Wheel, Front.stl" onto the axle assembly, 180 degrees out of phase from the first wheel, with the axle flush with the wheel outer surface.
  • Positioned the rear axle assembly between the left and right frames such that the gear aligns with "Gear, Idler, Rear (8, 1.5).stl".
  • Pressed one "Wheel, Rear.stl" onto the rear axle assembly, with the axle exactly 4mm proud of the wheel outer surface.
  • Pressed the remaining "Wheel, Rear.stl" onto the rear axle assembly, with the axle exactly 4mm proud of the wheel outer surface.

With the wheel axles and wheels assembled, I made sure that both the front and rear axles rotated freely.

Step 5: Final Assembly.

I performed the following steps for Final Assembly:

  • Positioned "Foot, Right.stl" onto the assembly and secured in place with one "Axle, Foot.stl" and one "Hub, Foot.stl".
  • Positioned "Foot, Left.stl" onto the assembly and secured in place with the remaining "Axle, Foot.stl" and remaining "Hub, Foot.stl".

And that is how I printed and assembled Windup Bunny 2.

I hope you enjoy it!

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    17 Discussions

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    kshowell

    8 hours ago

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is a fun little machine.

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    nlkirchn

    13 hours ago

    I've printed and assembled the Windup Bunny and the problem I have encountered is the floating pinion while being very free binds with the front and rear wheel gear to the point that the spring cannot turn the wheels. Without the pinion engaged everything moves freely. Can you suggest a solution to this problem or why it has occurred. It acts like one or both of the gears are too large.

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    gzumwaltnlkirchn

    Reply 12 hours ago

    Hi nlkirchn,

    I'm sorry for the difficulties you are having.

    Please check the following:

    1) Check to make sure none of the frame or carriage components are warped (I had a carriage side warp slightly, so I had to wash my glass build plate and print it again).

    2) Check to make sure all the build plate side "ooze" has been removed from the gears as this will cause binding. I'm now using a handheld motor tool running at slow speed with a wire brush attachment to clean the gear teeth as opposed to filing, it is much faster and I'm slowly getting better at it.

    3) Check to make sure the floating pinion gears rotate freely about "Gear, Compound ((8, 1.5), (40, 1.5))" before the axles and wheels are installed. If not, you may need to slightly loosen the carriage axles and bolts.

    4) Check to make sure the gear motor operates freely and rotates the carriage assembly fully to the crossmember stop, then releases, before the axles and wheels are installed.

    5) Check to make sure the carriage is installed in the proper orientation as shown in the exploded views (yes, I did do that, once).

    Hopefully, these items will help. An any event, please keep me updated and I will try to come up with other solutions.

    Again, I'm truly sorry for the difficulties you've encountered.

    Greg

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    jimbarstow

    1 day ago

    i printed this for my granddaughter and ran into a problem. The "knob and axle" has a hex portion that locks into the spring and pawl. When placed in the frame, however, there is a riser on the frame that covers most of this hex section and prevents them from interlocking. It also makes this section of the assembly too wide. It looks like the riser on the left frame shouldn't be there.I've attached a picture with the left frame with the knob and axle and spring assembled. You can see that the hex portion ends before exiting the spring.

    IMG_3254.jpeg
    3 replies
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    gzumwaltjimbarstow

    Reply 21 hours ago

    Hi jimbarstow,

    I'm truly sorry, I uploaded an old "Frame, Left.stl" and have since uploaded the correct "Frame, Left.stl". The riser indeed should not be there, and can be removed with a small saw or motor tool if you have those tools available.

    Again, my sincerest apologies.

    Greg

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    jimbarstowgzumwalt

    Reply 21 hours ago


    Thanks.
    I'm trying a fix I did myself using the new mesh editing tool in fusion; gave me an excuse to learn a new fusion feature. I'll compare it with what you uploaded to see if it works as well.

    Perhaps you can answer a question..

    Why do people only upload STL files for 3D printed items? Do the sharing sites not allow the underlying cad files? It absence of the cad file really limits the usefulness of sharing. I'm about to share some of the things I've been working on and hope to include the fusion project. To me, it's like sharing source code versus a binary.

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    gzumwaltjimbarstow

    Reply 17 hours ago

    Hi jimbarstow,

    Best wishes on your success using the mesh editor!

    For me, it depends on the project as to why I upload the cad files. I've created Instructables where I do provide the cad files for tutorials such as https://www.instructables.com/id/Designing-a-Simpl... and this https://www.instructables.com/id/Designing-a-Param... and for designs allowing customization such as this https://www.instructables.com/id/Ping-Pong-Popper/...

    But for most designs, I simply publish the STL files for printing as deriving the individual components in the correct orientation from the CAD file places too much burden on the person who simply wants to print a model.

    Greg

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    ToddK4

    2 days ago

    I just printed one of your PLA Spring Motor 2's a week or so ago. It has provided several hours, I'd guess, of entertainment and proved to me that a PLA spring works. I believe when I get a chance to print the Bunny 2, it will entertain my little girl (probably me as well) quite well. I'll have to order some brighter color filament (I'm thinking pink and purple) -- she doesn't pay much attention to things printed in black or blue like I usually use.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful work!

    1 reply
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    gzumwaltToddK4

    Reply 2 days ago

    Hi ToddK4,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the spring motor, I have two on my desk and they indeed make a great fidget toy and conversation piece. I hope you do print Bunny 2, my kids and grandkids enjoyed it and I bet your little girl will too.

    And you are very welcome, I truly enjoy sharing as my goal is creating smiles!

    Greg

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    gzumwaltedca2001

    Reply 2 days ago

    Hi edca2001,

    Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it!

    Greg

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    Build_it_Bob

    4 days ago

    Hi Greg! This is an amazing creation; your skills are awesome.
    I bought an Ender 3 3D printer a few weeks back, and I am having a lot of fun learning and printing. I am always looking for things to make for my grand children. This looks like a lot of pieces to print, and a lot of filing too. I better get a set of jeweller's files soon.
    Keep up the great creative work, we do appreciate all your efforts!

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    gzumwaltBuild_it_Bob

    Reply 3 days ago

    Hi Build_it_Bob,

    Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it (and I'm now blushing...)!

    I started 3D printing about 6 years ago and have more fun 3D printing than machining; it's much faster, virtually no waste (well, with the exception of my numerous mistakes), and no clean up!

    Jewelers files come in very handy, especially when gears are involved. I've recently starting using a handheld motor tool with a wire brush attachment to prepare gears as it is much faster, and I have obtained pretty good results.

    Thanks again!

    Greg

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    Build_it_Bob

    Question 4 days ago

    Hi Greg,
    Just wondering how you are making the exploded view images for this Instructable?
    They look great...if only Ikea used this method for their assembly instructions.

    1 answer
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    gzumwaltBuild_it_Bob

    Answer 3 days ago

    Hi Build_it_Bob,

    Good question. I used Autodesk Fusion 360 to design this model and generate the exploded views.

    For simpler models, I usually photograph the assembly steps. However, for more complicated models I use the Autodesk Fusion 360 "Capture Image..." menu item as it is much easier to obtain the exact camera angle I'm looking to illustrate an assembly step or series of assembly steps than is the photography method.

    Hope that helps!

    Greg

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    Renega

    4 days ago

    It's a very creative idea before Easter!
    Congratulations!
    Very nice work and detailed documentation of construction is super!
    Thanks!

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    gzumwaltRenega

    Reply 3 days ago

    Hi Renega,

    Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Greg