Planetary Kinetic Sculpture

A machine that moves a pin 100mm


 

Project
Planetary Kinetic Sculpture
2015 (1 month) 

Type
Exploration

Context
Victoria University of Wellington
Guidance from Tim Miller

Details

I was particularly inspired by the idea of exposed mechanics. This idea evolved into a deconstructed motor that would not drive a mechanism, but through its exposed beauty, become the entirety of the mechanism.

The mechanism primarily consists of 2 sets of planetary gears which are slowly spun by the motor and battery assembly above. All aspects of the sculpture are seemingly in motion.

Five rods surround the gears which act as a ring gear. The longer of the five rods holds the pin which slowly revolves around the sculpture to achieve 80mm movement on the X axis and 20mm on the Y axis. When the longer pin interacts with the second set of gears it can no longer move and the motor housing is forced to rotate. This momentarily lifts the ring gear structure to achieve the 2mm pin movement in the Z axis.

The form and movement of this sculpture has since become a recurring aesthetic in my work. 

 

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Design Process

I was particularly inspired by the rotating house from the 1993 computer game Myst and the idea of the massive kinetic structure and exposed mechanics. This idea evolved into a deconstructed motor that would not drive a mechanism, but through its exposed beauty, become the entirety of the mechanism. With this idea I constructed my own motor in Lego, however the beauty of the movement was hidden in invisible magnetic fields. So I went on to explore the movement of the very kinetic planetary gears, which resulted in the final design. 

Full development at: http://elwoodleach.tumblr.com/tagged/indn211.p2.process


Manufacture Process

The sculpture is primarily made from laser cut plywood with aluminium rod connecting the layers together. The motor assembly is made from lathed aluminium stock which houses the DC planetary gear motor and AAA batteries. The batteries are stripped of their casing to allow current flow through the aluminium stock.