So after considering the possibilities, tinkering with the numbers, considering the (said) potential hazards and comparing the price tags and user experiences that several of you guys reported on the related forum post , I decided to go the usual way for me: if children in China can make it, I can make it too.
Bottomline: If Matthias Wandel didn’t do it already, I’ll do it before he even thinks about it! =p
First order of business was to code a little software to make all the math with a pretty user interface, sliders and realtime graphics. Yay, I’m a computer geek too, so what the heck. With the software, playing with the parameters is a piece of cake to avoid potential problems (stacking of the cable when rewinding, etc)
In fact, the same system can be used for air tubing, and after seeing the prices of commercial units, I can sure make it for cheaper. I can even make it out of aluminium. But wood is better for the ecosystem.
So for this project to be, the data will be as follows:
Ceiling-mounted motorized electric cord reel
- holds 25’ / 7 m of 3/4’ (000AWG) / 10 mm tri-conductor power cable
- overall diameter: about 10” / 25 cm
- overall height (including exit cone): around 8” / 20 cm
- motorized function with either an RF remote control or a pull cord
- optional lights
- outer shape can be made pyramidal or conical, or even hemispherical and heavily inlaid with… whatever
- easy and cheap materials (plywood, small lazy susan bearing, $10 geared motor, $10 power supply with plenty of leftover power for overhead LED lights, a few plastic rollers from any DYI store)
- no need for fancy tools: printer (for the gear templates), bandsaw and circle cutting jig (or 3D printer if you have access to one), drill and bits, screws and screwdriver, minimal ability to read wiring instructions, can accomodate a beer or two
- one-weekend project or less.
Stay tuned for the prototype plan!
-- Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...