The slinky machine: a slinky escalator
This project started with some idle chatter with some guys I used to work with. Eric had this idea for a "slinky machine", which would essentially become an escalator on which a slinky continuously descends. Years passed and I occasionally teased Eric about it. Eventually, I figured he'd never build it and it was fair game for me to do it.
I started with a slinky from Walmart and experimented with how high and how wide the steps needed to be for a slinky to descend. 10 cm of height and width per step seemed to be enough.
I rigged together a staircase to make sure this step size would work. It was tricky to launch the slinky, but once launched, it usually made it all the way down. I leaned the steps slightly away from me, with a backer board on the other side to keep the slinky on track.
I drilled some screw holes in the links, then screwed the blocks on.
Launching the slinky, then starting the drill at just the right (very slow) speed was tricky, though I did manage to get the slinky going for maybe ten seconds a few times.
I mentioned how difficult it was to control the speed to Rachel, and she said "Why don't you just use a crank?" May be I have been watching too many Izzy Swan videos on YouTube. Not everything needs to be powered with a drill!
But it's still a challenge keeping the slinky running without falling off. Cranking it at the right speed is the easy part. Starting the slinky right is quite hard, and if it's not launched just right it goes off track quickly.
My plan had originally been to motorize and automate the slinky machine, but it's not reliable enough to run on it's own, so a cranking it by hand makes more sense. Also, my hand cranked marble machine 2 is at least as fun as the motorized marble machine 1
Back to my Woodworking website