Archive for the 'Mechanisms & Things That Move' Category

I-Wei Huang, Artist and Steamfunk Creator

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

While surfing the net I came across I-Wei Huang, a visual drawing and animation artist - See some of his work here Crabfu, and creator of small steam powered creatures.

Donkey Walker

I was fascinated by his use of steam to power his creations and his emulation of living things such as Centipedes, Spiders, Beetle, Turtles, Crabs, etc… he also did a Rover. I also appreciated the detail in his work and how he talks briefly about the challenges he had. in fact he stresses that he is “first and formost and artist”.
After getting his first steam engine he was fascinated in how it ran. He wanted to then buy steam vehicles but then realized that no one made them - so this was the start of his creations. His design process includes sketches and the breakdown of parts he needs, and lots of trial and errors. So far fine tuning the gear ratios for his machines seemed to be an ongoing challenge.




I particularly like the engineering and his use of gears. Some of these things we covered in our Mechanisms class which solidified my understanding of the scope of his works. It’s also a cross between the old and the new.

For more of his work visit his website Crabfu

My Unscripted Midterm Presentation for Mechanisms

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

It was show-time today and all ideas fell apart due to lack of parts and maybe poorer planning. First idea was to use springs to create a mini bungee, have a little person in the device then calculate the trajectory using an accelerometer.

sketch 1

As you can see from the sketch there should be two tension springs attached to a base. The base is then attached to a hook release system, which when pressed releases the base and catapults the man in the air. This motion is recorded via the accelerometer and the numbers mapped in the computer using Arduino. Of course things did not turn out this way. First no accelerometer, the springs I got became stretched out beyond use and I was missing other parts. Poor planning one would say. Hope not to make this mistake again but hope to accomplish this. It would be interesting to try different weighted objects and calculate and graft its trajectory.

Now for class I changed my idea and decided to try to generate electric flux by pulling the spring over a metal rod which was powered with 5 volts. The concept was to measure ones pulling force and represent it as force a against resistance - if you can imagine.

sketch 2

Anyway, I forgot one important thing. In order to create an eletomegnetic flux I need to move the spring very fast, even faster than than my hands could move. This motioned while well intentioned triggered another concept most would seem very inappropriate for class. I had a light attached to the output of the rod and also had the numeric values printed serially in Aduino environment. As you can see the light did not dim with movement, instead turned on and off. This was due to just basic contact between the pole and the spring. Well, this prompted another application for such device, one old and appropriate. A Morse code generator.