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The Mirror Steerer

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Project by Jack McKee posted 03-07-2017 06:33 PM 550 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Mirror Steeror

Years ago a friend offered me a large pile of plexiglas mirror rejects. At the time I was teaching a science and carpentry class for kids, so I was always looking for interesting materials. While turning possibilities over in my mind, I took two pieces (8″ X 24″) and fastened them, side by side, to a board so that one curved in, the other out. The kids got a kick out of this. They could see their faces in weird shapes, which was good for a laugh, but left me wondering: could I design it so kids controlled the mirror curvature? How about making it large enough so a child could see her whole body?

In my basement workshop I had a cache of old boat parts, among them a steering gear. Maybe I could use it as a controller for this gizmo. I just needed to figure out how to combine it with a large piece of bendable plastic mirror. I made a frame to hold the mirror first, fastening the bottom of the mirror securely and letting the top slide up and down, between two small boards, as the middle of the mirror bulged in or out. It actually worked well this way. One person could stand behind the mirror and move it in or out while a friend, standing in front of the mirror, gained or lost weight rapidly!

Next, I bolted my steering gear to a small 2 X 4 and clamped it to the stand, moving it around until I could envision a mechanism to connect the mirror to the steering apparatus. I had to experiment with the lengths and positions of the connector arms to get the mirror to move about 8″ (at the middle) as the steering wheel moved through 5 1/2 turns. I worked these details out, and set it up by our front door. It passed this test with flying colors as we received many comments about the crazy contraption on the front porch.


This shows how I connected the mirror to the steering gear.

On my website (woodshop4kids.com) is a PDF (free) of more complete directions on how to build the Mirror Steerer:

http://woodshop4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/mirror-steeror-1.pdf

-- Jack, Bellingham, WA





4 comments so far

View Stephen Fox's profile

Stephen Fox

106 posts in 3055 days


#1 posted 03-08-2017 01:56 AM

If you can make a mirror that makes me look thinner count me in. A mirror that takes away wrinkles, baldness and gray hair… count me in.

-- Stephen NYS

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

26329 posts in 2528 days


#2 posted 03-08-2017 02:38 PM

This is a very creative project and it looks like you did a fine job on it. I’m not sure about all of the uses but it certainly is an interesting project.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

24607 posts in 1999 days


#3 posted 03-08-2017 02:50 PM

Very cool.

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View simoncpj's profile

simoncpj

10 posts in 173 days


#4 posted 03-08-2017 03:57 PM

Very clever, bravo

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