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Acoustic Zoetrope II

April 11, 2010

Before developing this, I took the time to animate the linkages in the Courtright Improved Handcar, shown in the previous post, Acoustic Zoetrope.

Here’s the animation:

[Monday, April 10, 2010] I did the animation by drawing through the mechanism in Vectorworks in 30-degree rotations, one rotation per layer.  I then exported the layers to Illustrator in .dwg format, and then exported it from Illustrator as a flash movie.  Vectorworks has an animation function, but it involves rotating a camera or rotating an object around a camera, and since both are fixed in this case, it wasn’t very helpful here.  That function is intended more for walk-through’s and walk-around’s.  There’s probably an easier way to do this, and using a dedicated animation program like Maya would likely help, but I’m not there yet.

And here’s a drawing with all positions superimposed:


Repurposing a bicycle wheel, chain and crank would be expedient, and likely even interesting, but I am concerned that I am going to get sidetracked by hacking from the focus of the project, which is obviously to create a fairly insane rotary encoder:


On Todd’s suggestion, speaker circuits will be hard-wired.  Ground will go directly through to the speaker, and hot in this scheme will be mounted to copper plates on the inner face of the larger hexagonal frame.  Copper wool will be mounted to one apex of the inner hexagon, and as it is turned, it will closed the contacts to one speaker at a time.  If I want to speed up the action of the Zoetrope, I will add more wool at other points, and might develop a system for adding it or taking it away on the fly, like a musket.

This is without a doubt absurd, but I like the idea of such a ubiquitous device as a rotary encoder being celebrated as the focal point of such concentrated effort.

Given the size, some pieces will need to be demountable or collapsable.  It will get through doors vertically, and I’m not worried about that, but the platforms may need to come off or be stowed in an “upright position”.  I’m also still concerned about not having a flywheel effect, and may need to look at introducing that mechanism to the inner hexagon.

Update: Monday, April 12, 2010.

I am going to make this out of wood, and will try to scale it down a little, leaving the platforms off for starters.  I like the idea of having to get on them to make it more dramatic, but they’re really only necessary if the device were a moving platform.  I was concerned that they might help with stability, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

I realized in the clarity of dawn that the wheel I want to fly is currently attached to the triangular lever mechanism, so it’s only going to move in rhythm with the two people operating the levers.  A fly would need to be attached to that, as it is in the original design by chain (I assume the driven wheel has a freewheel mechanism built into it).  I’m going to hold off on worrying about a flywheel or freewheel mechanism for now.  Might not be necessary if the central wheel turns fast enough.

Continued: Acoustic Zoetrope III

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