Month: June 2011

Building the Box

I’m sick as a dog but Adrienne still encouraged me to spend a few hours in the studio last night and I’m glad she did. I spent the whole evening trying to build a steady box to hold this whole thing. First, I had to measure out the placement of the screws that hold the motors in place so I could mount the whole rig on another piece of wood in order to get the proper height…

Then a little ZAP glue and some clamps…

I want to be able to mount the power supply on the bottom so I can easily replace the batteries so I notched out some V’s to run the wires underneath. Then I had to carve out a path for the wire in the wood block that the whole thing will rest on…

Once the base was together I mounted the sides…

And here’s the end of the night’s work. The base is together and all 4 sides are up. Next time I build the removable floorboards and hopefully my power dimmer will arrive so I can install that too. There will be a little dial on the box that let’s the viewer control how fast or slow the bear is pedaling. Fun stuff!

A Productive Night

First off, I was having trouble getting one battery to power both motors so rather than digging through mountains of data on Google I just emailed my dad yesterday afternoon. That act alone begs the question, “How the hell do dads know everything?!”

After he explained it to me, I still didn’t quiet get it so I drew up this diagram and emailed it to him. He printed it, corrected my errors, scanned it and emailed it back. God bless technology…

And just for safe measure he included this one, too…

When I asked him how he knew all this stuff his response was simple…

“Remember… I liked building crap and taking it apart before you did.”

And *that* is how dad’s know everything!

So… I followed his diagrams and VIOLA! all the pulleys spin at the same time!!! I still need to add the dimmer to slow the guy down and the hair on the foot keeps getting wound up on the pedal but I will solve that by giving him some sweat socks…

And here’s what my mess of wires, batteries and hot glue looks like. Not quiet as pretty as dad’s diagram but it’ll do…

Now that the complicated, sciencey stuff was out of the way I went on a tear. Here’s a list of other items I checked off the production list last night:

– soldered on the handle bars
– sewed arms and legs
– glued on the eyes and nose (finally)
– added a temporary fez out of cork (will paint it red if it stays)
– cleaned up the base board and started building the box

And here’s what all that fun stuff looks like…

Where has the past 10 months gone?

Holy crap. It’s been over 10 months since I’ve posted. It’s not that I haven’t drawn in 10 months (although it’s fairly close to that), I just haven’t collected and scanned any of my scribbles. Here are two that were just sitting on top of a pile next to my desk. I figured I’d better get SOMETHING up here or this ole blog might just wither away…

A Leg

Jumped into the studio for an hour last night and sewed a leg on the bear. After last week I was just itchin’ to see him ride. I thought I would just poke a hole through the fabric to attach the foot to the pedal but then realized I’d need to easily slide it on and off to replace the rubberbands once they snapped. I sewed on this little bolt to do the trick…

Proportionally, I’m disappointed with how long the legs need to be in order to reach the fully extended pedal but there’s nothing I can do about that now. I’ll just have to make up for it when I design the arms. I’m really eager to get back in the studio and finish this project up. Hopefully a few more nights and it should be there.

Here he is a pedalin’….

Pedalin’

The first two hours in the studio last night were a total bust. I was all excited to get in there after last week and knew exactly what I wanted to do but then everything I tried failed.

First, I realized that the motor I buried in the belly of the bear would not work. In order for his legs to do a complete 360 they would have to be so long they would look ridiculous in the rest / down position. I decide to scrap the whole motor thing and let the pedals drive the action instead of the other way around.

Next, getting the pedals on proved way harder than I expected. I couldn’t get the gear/wheel to stay perpendicular to the floor because that section was never designed to have the weight of a rubberband pulling on it so I soldered a small tube to the stem as a support then I ran the pedals through there. That did the trick…

I duct taped the motor to a small piece of foam to get it closer to the wheel. Then I slowly cut it down to get the right height. Unfortunately I didn’t think about the direction of the spin and the bear was pedaling backwards! I twisted the motor and hot glued it to the base.

Finally, I had the pedals and the wheels all rigged up and operating! I couldn’t connect the wires AND film it so Adrienne came in and shot my progress. (She was painting the front of the garage to become her pottery studio)

Even though all the wires were connected in a loop I could only get one motor to turn at a time so I still have to figure out how to drive them both off one AA battery. I’m guessing that has something to do with plusses and minuses? I was seriously ROTTEN at science in school but now we have Google. Hooray for Larry and Sergey!

And here’s a final shot of the nights work. Man, I enjoy making stuff…

Back to the Bear

So it’s been 10 months since I looked at this silly little project and last night my wife forced me back into my studio. (Thanks, love!!!)

First, I can’t BELIEVE how fast 10 months can slip by. It’s truly frightening. Second, I think I was secretly trying to avoid going back to the bear because the project was a disaster. The wheels kept getting stuck, the fur on the torso kept getting wound up in the gears and the whole thing would fall apart if you so much as breathed on it. So last night I re-learned a lesson I keep having to be taught… Sometimes, no matter how far along you think you are, it makes sense to turn back, take sh*t apart and start building again.

Once I resigned myself to this fact I actually had fun again. First, I shortened the rod that the whole thing was mounted on and drove it though a cork which is wedged into a hole in the base. Now it stands. Next, I took the whole engine-thingy apart and mounted the gears to a piece of bulsa wood directly underneath each tire so the thing is balanced on each end. Now, for the first time since I started, the sculpture stands on it’s own AND operates! Finally, I ran the wires for the leg engine through an extra tube and the whole project is back on track…

And here’s the still image of the progress. It doesn’t *look* much different but taking a few steps back instead of barreling forward made all the difference in the world…

The other lesson I had to re-learn last night is that sometimes it pays to KEEP IT SIMPLE. When I first sat down last night I considered scrapping this whole project and just moving on to something quick and fun but the bottom line is that I just HATE giving up. I decided I’m gonna finish this thing (even if it’s less ambitious than perviously planned) then I will move on to some fun, simple, quickies after that. Maybe a bear playing a uke?