Sunday, December 29, 2013

EGG FACTORY

Time for another whimsical project. The inspiration for this one came from a video sent to me by my friend Lorien Francis of plywood paddle toy with chickens around the edge pecking at a feed pan in the center. I do not care to copy other things exactly so it kind of evolved from there with my own ideas.
I wanted to have a roller track with ball bearing (eggs) rolling down it, and for that I needed something to recirculate the balls back to the starting point. So first order of business was designing and building an egg pump. No need to build the rest if that did not work.
A stared wheel somewhat like one in a corn planter pushes the balls one at a time into the copper tube. It worked surprisingly well.
Castings were needed for the project, so I proceeded to make patterns, and would you believe the day I needed to do the castings a storm moved in and the temperature dropped from about the 60's to 20 degrees. Because of the melting furnace exhaust, I have to run it outside. So I got all the molds rammed up, then opened the door long enough to melt and pour the metal, then moved things back inside and shut the door again. Actually the door only needed to be open for about 30 or 40 minutes.
Whew! All the castings turned out good, so I only had to do it once, and could proceed with the project in a warm workshop. Work proceeded a little bit each day as time permitted. Finally by Christmas day some of the parts were ready to receive paint.
By now the temperature is way to cold to paint outside, and spray painting is not a good thing to do inside so I set up a little temporary paint booth with filters and an exhaust fan to blow the fumes out the window via a dryer duct.
With parts painted final assembly could begin. Here is a view of the underside of the egg factory. It is OK here, but I would not advise you to stand under a real egg factory and look up. The mechanism is chain driven. I had some miniature roller chain, but no sprockets of the right size so I had to machine them from scratch. They are a little tricky to machine, but that is one of the challenges I enjoy in my project building. Daughter Liz thought it ought to make a clucking sound, but how do you do that mechanically? Friend Ira suggested a wood slat rubbed against a star wheel so after a little experimenting, that is what I did. It is a fair representation of a clucking sound.
     Finally, last night after weeks of fussing with it, it became an operational EGG FACTORY. 
Here is a video for you to look at.
video