Gears, Gears, More Gears

I spent a ton of time playing with gears this week. I was helping design and build a design competition for Madmec that involved building a gearbox to attach to an AC motor that could lift a 5 kg weight up a 6 ft tall slope. I’m building the demo gearbox and helped design/construct the ramp — I’ll post some pictures and/or video of it when its done!

So much work with gears inspired me to do something fun with them. I decided to design and build an implementation of Ferguson’s Paradox, which is a fun mechanical system to build. The model is made out of scrap acrylic mounted on cardboard, mostly because its dirt cheap if I mess up.


I built an exploded view of it [rather than the stacked view] for both simplicity and clarity — you can see how the gears are not aligned after two rotations, and will continue to lead/lag the central gear as it is driven. I’m hoping to play with this idea more to create some interesting kinetic art.

Unrelatedly, there was a power outage earlier this week. My room doesn’t have any windows, so it was pitch black and I couldn’t find anything without the help of a candle. I noticed that the glass I was using to hold the candle gave off a beautiful pattern on my desk —

pretty pattern from a candle in a glass

It reminded me of one of the moire patterns I was toying with (, so I got a second candle out —

Moire patterns with two candles!


~ by asymptoticdesign on 26 June, 2011.

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