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Simple Mechanics Cams The basic principle of the cam is to turn a circular motion into a linear one. This is referred to as reciprocating movement. In it's simplest form you turn a handle to make something move up and down. The cam-follower is connected to, and part off, a shaft known as the Push-Rod. The push-rod controls the direction of motion and transfers the cam's movement. DIY Energy Toy: Kinetic Energy Carousel . Adventures in Learning Want to make a fun DIY toy that moves? This kinetic carousel spins wildly and demonstrates potential and kinetic energy. Pin It Materials Pin It paper and carousel template (pdf)markersscissorsplastic lid – about 3″ diameter (peanut butter jar lids are perfect)wide rubber band (thin rubber bands won’t work!)

The Creative Science Centre - by Dr Jonathan P. Hare Pulleys are very useful when we want to transfer energy from one place (or device) to another. For example from a wind or watermill etc. to an electrical generator. Described here are some very simple homemade pulleys that can be made from bottle tops and scraps of wood. These simple pulleys have been made from two bottle tops fitted back-to-back on a threaded metal shaft. The two tops are carefully drilled in their centers then two washers and two nuts secure the tops in place from either side. To make one pully: Cut three circular discs of wood from plywood: two large and one slightly smaller.

â Paper Automata Free Downloads & Templates Roundup of How-Tos & Free Downloads Paper automata are mechanical models which are powered by human input - usually in the form of a crank - and this leads to a range of movements from simple back and forth actions to multiple types of movement at once. Automata are usually either wood or paper, with paper obviously being much easier, quicker and more versatile to use, and wood being more long-lasting and hard wearing. Most of the mechanical toys are whimsical and fun in style and are meant as curiosities or heirlooms, with the fun being as much in the making of them as it is in the end result. Knowledge of cams and simple mechanical systems is neccessary if you plan on creating your own designs from scratch, but otherwise there are plenty of templates you can buy or download for free online, many of which you will find listed below.

Oscillating Bird Science Toy For Kids I recently made a new oscillating bird design for a magazine, so I thought I’d share it here too. After finding this toy idea on the brilliant Science Toy Maker site a couple of years ago, I made this woodpecker. It’s based off of an old folk toy, and is a great way to teach kids about the science of potential energy. Walk Beside Me: Making an Archimedes Screw We kicked off our simple machines unit this week with this fun project from our Machines book. The materials you need to build your own Archimedes Screw are: A plastic bottle (the one in the book was a 2L bottle, but we used a water bottle)A dowel (we used a pencil)CardstockA tack Lasercut pendulum clock prototype The last few times I’ve been geeking about at Nottinghack I’ve been playing around with the idea of making a pendulum clock. This came about because I once started, but never finished making a clock out of paper. The paper clock is a really nice project, but there is a lot of very fiddly cutting out of card with a craft knife and gluing together which is very fiddly and time consuming. To my mind, the obvious solution to this tedious labour was to spend five times as much time and effort adapting the paper clock design so that it could be constructed from ply wood using the laser cutter at the space.

MAGIC PROPELLER STICK I don't care if my ancestors were playing with this folk toy a century ago. It is as magical today. And it will be just as fascinating to future generations even if we harness nuclear fusion for power and interplanetary travel becomes routine. That's what "classic" means: timeless, immortal. If you haven't crossed paths with a magic propeller stick (also known as a whimmy-doodle in Appalachia), you're in for a treat. The Creative Science Centre - by Dr Jonathan P. Hare link to 6 gens page (Note: this article has been published: The shake-a-gen J. P. Hare, IOP press, Journal of Physics Education, September 2002, p.436-439 reproduced here by permission of IOP) Note: for details of talks and workshops on this topic click here:talks and workshops The very simple, but effective generator described below is the (lateral thinking) result of a number of more sophisticated designs I have been investigating for my NESTA fellowship. It shows in a wonderfully engaging way the fundamentals of electricity generation.

Paper Modeling With The Toy Shop The Toy Shop was a wonderful computer program from the ’80s which allowed you to decorate and print twenty different paper models which actually move! It included all the dowels, wires, balloons, and so on which were required to create the models. I’ve enjoyed using this program on my Commodore 64 for many years, and now I am able to share these models with the paper modeling community so you can download and build your very own Toy Shop creations with any PC or Mac! For more paper modeling with computers of yore, see my Paper Models – The Christmas Kit page!