Bearing Comparison Tower; Kinetic Sculpture

Bearing Comparison Tower; Kinetic Sculpture

Jun 01, 2022

Nathan Fournier

For my second project in my internship, I am designing and 3D printing a kinetic sculpture that will show the differences between different materials of bearings; stainless steel, plastic, hybrid, and full ceramic. In the photo below is the first prototype for what the tower would look like. The plan is to 3D print four of the long towers that house the bearings, one tower for each type of bearings, with gears to visualize the free rotation on the gears. 


To power the drive gear on the bottom, I designed a coupler that would hold the one way bearing that will turn the bottom gear. By using a one way bearing, we allow for the bearing to continue spinning in one direction even after the motor stops, visualizing the difference in friction of the bearings. The coupler is attached through the back end of the peg on the bottom gear. I then designed a piece with a notch so that the motor would lock in to the keyhole of the one way bearing to turn the gears. 


To control the four motors that will be used, we will be using a circuit board with an Arduino Nano to create a button system that would turn on the motor for a certain amount of seconds and then shut off. Despite the motor shutting off, the gears will continue to spin because of the bearing on the drive gear being able to continue to freely spin in one direction. 


Through this first iteration, I could tell that the gear ratio from the small drive gear at the bottom to the large gear at the top would not allow for the top gear to spin for long after the motors shut off. To combat this, I went back into solidworks to make a new gear system that will allow for the top gear to be connected to a fly wheel that will spin for a longer period of time. This project has definitely presented its challenges with programming and 3D Design but I definitely have learned a lot more about the software and materials through trial and error.