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Thread: Project Clockwork vII

  1. #1
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Project Clockwork vII




    Ok, for those just tuning in, this is a new worklog for a build I’ve been working on for several months now. I got some work done recently and was going to post the progress when I realized what a bewildering mess the worklog had become. I had changed the design of the thing several times, done things that weren’t even in the project any more, and just generally made a muddle of the whole thing. So, to make it easier on everyone (and to calm the OCD) I’ve decided to start a new worklog, call it Clockwork vII. (Notice I did not call it Clockwork 2.0? God I hate that.) If anyone wants to slog through the quagmire of my old worklog, feel free.

    ----- Let's Try This Again -----



    Ok, it’s time for another build. This one will be a lot different than my last sleek smooth glowing plexiglass construct. It’s another scratch build, because no matter how I try I seem to be incapable of simply modifying an existing case. In contrast to that last build, this one will be made primarily of wood, with some brass and copper accents. Here is the first inspiration for the case:




    The gears from five clock movements I scavenged from various sources. I love gears and cogs, and thought it would be a cool contrast to the machine itself.

    This is the initial construction of the case itself. I had originally planned to install the drives as usual, two optical drives stacked horizontally above two hard drives, so I built a wooden “tower” to house them. This has since been phased out, but I think it looks very good in the pic.




    I’m using a motherboard tray from an Apevia case that I dissected, with some wooden circles cut to fit the depressions and screwed into brass inserts to hold it in place. (Does that count as a mod, since it’s a major part from an existing case?)




    Shortly after I had the drive tower finished I had a turn of mind and decided to mount my hard drives externally on the side of the case. That gave me a lot more room to work, and I didn’t need the wooden drive tower. I also decided to turn the optical drives on their sides, just because they look cool that way. The lens in the center is the cover for the analog temperature gauge that will eventually fit there (also scavenged from the Apevia case.)





    Since I did away with the wooden drive tower I made a new cage for the optical drives out of copper pipe.






    Turned out pretty well. For the front intake fan I’m using a motorcycle sprocket I picked up on Ebay. I got really lucky with this find, the measurement between the outermost edges of the outermost holes is exactly 120mm.




    This build will be what I like to call pseudo-steampunk, mainly because I don’t want to be categorized, but also because I plan to have a couple of more modern elements than are normally found in steampunk work. I plan to get the look mostly from corrosion, making all the metal parts look old and neglected (most steampunk I’ve seen looks old but at least cared-for). Here is my first attempt at aging the front sprocket:




    Not too bad, but not exactly what I wanted either. It’s too uniform, and actually looks more like leather than rust. It’s a start.


    It took me a while to find hard drive enclosures that were in the plain simple industrial style that I wanted, but I finally came across these:




    Perfect. I bored out countersunk holes in the bottoms and mounted them with screws into brass inserts on the right side of the case. Very solid.





    Don't they look pretty there?
    Last edited by blueonblack; 07-30-2009 at 05:00 AM.
    'An armed society is a polite society.' -- Robert Heinlein

  2. #2
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    Ok, on to the gears. The plan has always been to put them together on the left side of the case in a geartrain powered by a small motor inside the case so that they turn when the power is on. I pondered and worked a long time to make that happen. Remember these are clock gears. They’re already mounted on a shaft that’s perfectly centered on the gear, and they are designed to have that shaft held in place on both ends inside a metal cage that is custom-machined for these gears. What I was trying to do turned out to be a huge puzzle in three dimensions. And since I was using the gears from five clocks it was like using pieces from five different puzzle boxes.

    The first problem was drag. I couldn’t just slide the gearshafts through the wood, as they would either wobble or bind and not turn freely. I solved that with roller bearings. I bought a bunch of bearings that were 3/8” ID and 5/8” OD. I bored 5/8” holes in the side panel and pressed 3/8” oak dowels, cut to length, into the bearings.




    So far so good. I then pressed the gearshafts into the exact center of each dowel.




    It was a lot of work and I won’t go into it all, but here is the finished result:








    Beautiful. I absolutely love the way it turned out. BUT, it was not to be. Even though all of these gears turned perfectly when these pics were taken, the holes in the oak dowels wallowed out quickly and they started to wobble. Not a lot, but these gears are very thin. Even a tiny wobble will cause them to come unmeshed and then the train is broken. I had to come up with something else.

    The new geartrain uses different gears for the actual motion transfer, with the above gears on top of them for cosmetics. The gears I’m using now do not have shafts in them, they have separate shafts that are customizable. Problem is, they don’t come close to fitting the bearings I have, and I'm not spending another $50 on different-sized bearings.




    So what I needed was a way to get these shafts to fit tightly in the exact center of these bearings. I needed bushings, but to find bushings the exact size I needed wasn’t going to happen. So I improvised.

    Two sizes of nylon tubing, usually used as water lines.




    The smaller fits snugly inside the larger. Cut a piece off of each:




    Put them together, press them into the bearings and press the shaft into the center. Perfect.



    This whole system has worked out very well, finally. As usual it took some work and some (gasp!) modification, but in the end, the drive gears are WAY better than the clock gears were. BUT (there always seems to be a but), since they aren’t brass there is no way I can get them to the burnished brass finish that I liked so much in the original geartrain. I CAN get them to look old, but the old will be of a different nature. Think Shadows of Chernobyl instead of Bioshock. Old and neglected. After a great deal of experimentation and work, I finally got the thing done. That’s right, the side panel is finally complete. It’s a lot different than the original, but I actually like it better.














    I got the copper to look that way with simple heat. I hit the pieces with a mapp gas torch until they were almost glowing and dunked them in a water bucket. Beautiful. The gears were a combination of a rust paint system from Rustoleum, two shades of blue-green paint from Lowe’s and the trusty mapp gas torch again. I love the final result, and the inclusion of the chain was a huge benefit.

    I was also able to improve on the front fan sprocket:




    And got the first stage of the rusting done on the motherboard tray:




    I have the motor for the geartrain almost mounted, have already motion tested it all. I have also recently acquired a digital camera that will take video. Now I just have to figure out how to post video here.
    Last edited by blueonblack; 07-30-2009 at 05:04 AM.
    'An armed society is a polite society.' -- Robert Heinlein

  3. #3
    A big old Tease Apparently DonT-FeaR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    wow i forgot how cool this was.!!!! repppppp
    Quote Originally Posted by Drum Thumper View Post
    you tease!

  4. #4
    Project: Elegant-Li The boy 4rm oz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    I was lik OMG WHAT!!! he closed the worklog, until I read your last post lol. Glad to see this is still alive mate, I really do love this project.
    Project: Elegant-Li *NEW*
    Project: Alpha FINISHED
    Project: LEXA Revival FINISHED
    Project: LEXA FINISHED Bit-Tech MOTM Nominee October 08

  5. #5
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    Glad you're still with me. Share your opinion of the new look?
    'An armed society is a polite society.' -- Robert Heinlein

  6. #6
    Project: Elegant-Li The boy 4rm oz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    I'm really liking the look, the rusty/weathered look is really well done and the gears and cogs add a very unique look, very very cool.
    Project: Elegant-Li *NEW*
    Project: Alpha FINISHED
    Project: LEXA Revival FINISHED
    Project: LEXA FINISHED Bit-Tech MOTM Nominee October 08

  7. #7
    One Eye, Sixteen Cores. Kayin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    LEGOS!!!! Nice implementation of LEGO Technic...
    Project:Mithril, sponsored by Petra's Tech Shop and Sidewinder Computers-MOTM Nominee October '08




  8. #8
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    That is correct. They are the *best*. Anyone who needs absolutely *anything* Lego, by the piece or by the lot, needs to check out bricklink.com. If Lego makes it, you can buy it there.

    I looked long and hard to find something for this deal. It was the chain that finally decided it.
    'An armed society is a polite society.' -- Robert Heinlein

  9. #9
    WWMD- What Would MacGyver Do? Mark_Hardware's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    lol I was literally just looking through your clockwork worklog yesterday. Nice to see it going again. Those hard drive enclosures are sweet. They would look good on my computer lol. Great work man, the gearing, the chain, way cool!
    My name is Mark Hardware, and I approved this message.

    Project; Mark1
    (On hold until......)

  10. #10
    One Eye, Sixteen Cores. Kayin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Project Clockwork vII

    Go to hobby lobby, go to the craft paints. They have a real iron surfacer and rust developer that will put REAL RUST on anything. Same with verdigris. It's the same stuff PilouX used on the two HL2 cases. I have it for some projects I'm working on...
    Project:Mithril, sponsored by Petra's Tech Shop and Sidewinder Computers-MOTM Nominee October '08




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