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--- The Rube Goldberg Society ---

The Hair Brained Ideas, Chapter One

"Steel Balls, (Standard Lg.0^0), Working Group"
Who can propel a 1 inch Steel Ball the Greatest Distance?
Using only the Energy Generated from a Solar Cell Array exposed for 15 seconds to a 100 Watt Focused Tungsten Lamp.

List of the Main Players

Solar Cell Array 
Low-voltage, high torque, D.C. Motor 
Two, one inch steel balls 
Conical (inverted) shaped rimed wheel 
Centrifugal ball deployment scheme
Variable ratio gearing--motor to wheel 
Axis tilting for maximizing ballistic trajectory
Brake & Stop Spur/controller 
Cantilevered force multiplier
The Energy Generated from the Solar Cell Array Powers a Low-voltage, high torque, D.C. Motor that causes a rimed wheel to Turn. 

The motor's torque is transferred to the wheel's spindle via a tapered pulley arrangement, thus allowing a variable ratio of gearing for maximum startup efficiency. 

As it turns--building up speed--two one inch steel balls that start off at the center (minimizing load) are thrown outward--by centrifugal force--toward the rim of the wheel; the rate of which is determined by the slope of the conical taper (from the center to the rim) of the rimed wheel. 

When the balls reach the rim they remain there giving maximum weight and balance to the flywheel effect. 

This outward movement of the balls and the rotational acceleration of the wheel are optimized to get the greatest efficiency from the energy applied to the motor

As the light times out (= < 15 sec) a brake is made to move into the path of the "Stop Spur" on the outer edge of the wheel. 

When the brake meets the Stop Spur the disk's rotation is abruptly halted, causing one of the steel balls to fly in the direction of rotation. 

Adding to the projection of this "first" ball, is an arrangement whereby the second steel ball's inertia is transferred to the first ball via a cantilever arrangement having an offset fulcrum. The leverage, created by this arrangement, projects--at a magnified rate of travel--the thrusting pin to the rear of the first ball, adding to its acceleration.

To achieve the most efficient Ballistic Trajectory: as the disk rotates, a thread is made to wind up at the bottom of the gimbled vertical axis. Due to the path and the attachment to the top of the axial rod, this progressively shortening thread causes this axis to tilt, such that when the ball is released, its path is angled upward for the most efficient ballistic trajectory. At startup the tilting function is at its minimum rate of wind up due to the taper of the spindle, i.e., the final tilt angle occurs nearer the end of the 15 second interval..

Variable ratio gearing
--motor to wheel 

Low Gear Ratio: Start

Variable ratio gearing
--motor to wheel 

High Gear Ratio: Stop

"Shallow Dish" Conical Wheel:
At Rest/Starting
"Shallow Dish" Conical Wheel: 
"Shallow Dish" Conical Wheel: Stopping
"Shallow Dish" Conical Wheel: Stopped

"Shallow Dish" Conical Wheel:
Axis tilting for maximizing ballistic trajectory
"Shallow Dish" Conical Wheel: At Rest
--Side View--
Low voltage Motor, with Gear Reduction
DWG missing

Axis tilting for maximizing ballistic trajectory 


Cantilevered force multiplier

i.e., Adding a Second Ball Contributes 


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