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Contrivance, a modular mechanism machine

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Project by Derek Hugger posted 12-29-2014 02:19 AM 3279 views 18 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Contrivance is a modular wooden mechanism machine with a virtually endless amount of configuration possibilities. This mechanical demonstrator is more than just gears; it has nine different mechanisms to mix, match, and move. It’s a do-it-yourself Rube Goldberg machine.

Contrivance began as a “what if.” The idea started several years ago when my friend Chris and I were looking through Henry T. Brown’s book, 507 Mechanical Movements. “What if someone made these just for fun, just to have a bunch of mechanical demonstrators?” we asked each other. “What if they could be designed to all work with a common interface? And, what if they could chain together Rube Goldberg style?” We both thought it would be fun if somebody made this toy-like device for grown-ups someday.

Fast forward to someday. After finishing my Merlot sculpture, I wanted to take a step back from designing larger, complex systems and focus on something smaller, something that didn’t take quite so much time and effort to engineer and build, something a little simpler, and something really fun. Thinking back to my conversation with Chris, I decided to build a DIY mechanism machine. Contrivance is a project that was enlightening to design, fun to build, and a blast to play with. Every time I walk up to it, I make something new.

Plans for Contrivance include detailed patterns and assembly instructions for:
1. Three different size spur gears
2. Elliptical gears
3. Kooky gears
4. Geneva wheel
5. Scotch yoke
6. Linkage
7. Ratchet
8. Hypocycloid Reducer
9. Tourbillon

A video of all the pieces working can be seen here: http://youtu.be/3rftPbiU1BI

Woodworking plans for Contrivance are available on my website: www.derekhugger.com

A sample of the plans can be downloaded here: Contrivance Sample PDF





15 comments so far

View triviasteve's profile

triviasteve

177 posts in 1162 days


#1 posted 12-29-2014 03:31 AM

That is awesome. fantastic project there!

-- You know I'm on the level 'cause my bubble's in the middle.

View Rick's profile

Rick

8287 posts in 2495 days


#2 posted 12-29-2014 04:34 AM

WHEW!! I Like That!

-- Hope Everyone Is Doing Well! .... Best Regards: Rick

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

9120 posts in 2330 days


#3 posted 12-29-2014 07:23 AM

This is beyond any imagination. First of all I appretiate the effort made. This whole mechanism looks great.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

659 posts in 2752 days


#4 posted 12-29-2014 07:26 AM

Nice work.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

View mmh's profile

mmh

3665 posts in 3184 days


#5 posted 12-29-2014 02:29 PM

VERY COOL! Can I drive?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1175 days


#6 posted 12-29-2014 04:53 PM

Wow thats a great toy. Watched the video together with my son (8) and are not sure wich ofus that wanted to try the most..
Inspiring work. Thanks for sharing!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View hotncold's profile

hotncold

762 posts in 1006 days


#7 posted 12-29-2014 05:04 PM

Utterly AMAZING!
Wow!!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View Julian's profile

Julian

1036 posts in 2152 days


#8 posted 12-29-2014 05:51 PM

You did a fantastic job.

-- Julian

View RPhillips's profile

RPhillips

1110 posts in 1298 days


#9 posted 12-29-2014 09:15 PM

Phenomenal, I love your work. This is truly and inspiration to get me to try my hand at this type of thing.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View InsideTheBox's profile

InsideTheBox

89 posts in 1136 days


#10 posted 12-30-2014 01:21 AM

Dear Derek;
Can I come over to your house and play? Please?!?

-- There's no such thing as a mistake; only a quick change of plans.

View Mork's profile

Mork

266 posts in 2237 days


#11 posted 12-30-2014 12:33 PM

Fantastic adventure, thanks!

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

2327 posts in 1889 days


#12 posted 12-30-2014 08:03 PM

This tickled my imagination – Wow!!!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View PhilosopherSteve's profile

PhilosopherSteve

43 posts in 3547 days


#13 posted 12-30-2014 08:49 PM

I totally love this. The work is just amazing. I wish I was playing with it. I’ve had some ideas like this in mind and I made a much (and I mean “much”) simpler version as a christmas present one year. I find the workings of such mechanisms totally fascinating and mesmerizing to watch.

View Derek Hugger's profile

Derek Hugger

36 posts in 1420 days


#14 posted 01-03-2015 07:26 PM

For anyone interested, I’ve documented the math governing the motion of some of the mechanisms. Free PDF documents are available on the Tools page of my website: http://www.derekhugger.com/tools.html

View Derek Hugger's profile

Derek Hugger

36 posts in 1420 days


#15 posted 01-14-2015 02:15 AM

A few people have been asking me for more videos. Here’s one that shows each mechanism being tested:
http://youtu.be/emw7lfHBmx0

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