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Knex Torque-Sensitive Automatic Transmission

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Uploaded on May 30, 2010

This k'nex transmission is connected to a spinning wheel composed of 4 gray rods. If the wheel is forced to stop turning, the transmission detects the rotational force and automatically reverses the direction of the wheel to avoid stressing the motor. The transmission is adjustable and can be calibrated to switch directions at different levels of force.

This mechanism was not built for any purpose, I just had the idea and wanted to test it. The best practical application I can think of at the moment would be for building pendulum-style carnival rides. This transmission would be able to gradually accelerate a pendulum from rest to nearly vertical just like the actual rides.


How it works:
The wheel on top of the transmission is connected to the drive gear by a long, winding chain. If any force counter to the rotation of the drive shaft is applied, the chain will be pulled tight on only one side. The chain loops around tension gears on either side of the machine, so when one side of the chain is tightened, the tension gear specific to that side will be forced to tighten. When this gear reaches the top, it flips a lever arm with the drive gear attached to it, causing it to engage a gear spinning in the opposite direction, hence, changing the direction of the wheel itself.

Design / Build Time: 3 hours (+ 3 extra hours of fine tuning)
Pieces: about 500
Gears: 33
Non K'nex pieces: 2 rubber bands

To see more of my K'nex projects, and to follow the design and construction of new ones check out http://knexdesigns.blogspot.com

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