After constructing the Mendocino motor, I feel like I successfully achieved the design goals that I set out for myself at the beginning of the class. The project very much achieves a futuristic and levitation aesthetic while still looking very clean. The motor didn’t need a cord and was a standalone piece of art as I had intended. Ultimately, the project will most likely find a spot on my desk or dresser as a toy.
Lessons Learned and Reflections
Knowing what I know now, there are a few things that I would have done differently with my project. For starters, I laser cut the base of the motor out of cast acrylic rather than extruded acrylic. I learned extremely quickly that cast acrylic does not particularly like to be laser cut. The acrylic was prone to cracking, melting on faces where it was not supposed to, and most importantly the edges of the acrylic which are the visible aspect of the base came out rough and not cleanly cut. Despite the troubles from laser cutting, it’s hardly noticeable in the base without looking carefully.
The other thing that I would do differently would be that the motor did not have enough torque to start itself from a standstill. This could be fixed a few different ways, including using a stronger magnet on the motor, thicker wire, larger solar cells, or even more coils of magnet wire.