Design Review: Perpetual Motion

For this project I want to make a perpetual motion machine. These machines were first thought up by Leonardo Da Vinci as a source of infinite energy. They thought that the momentum of the machine itself would keep the rotation going, much like a watermill without the need for the water. This is of course impossible because friction will stop the motion. Even though failure is inevitable, I am still intrigued by the idea.

For my project I want to use a construction aesthetic or perhaps a renaissance aesthetic. I want to use many different devices to make the machine better. I want to use hammers around the edges, liquid filled tubes, and slots with nuts and bolts.

The issues that I may run into are materials, using low friction bearings, weighting it correctly, and time constraints. I plan to have a well thought out system before I start building to avoid these pitfalls.

I am hoping that I can make this project large enough that I will be able to use tools as some of the materials without it being disproportionate.

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Building a perpetual motion machine using gravity has one drawback there is only one power source.
    having only one power source give just the right amount of energy to run the action forward movement and the counter reaction backward movement equal to each other. like a balanced tug of war nothing moves.
    Gravity is used for hydroelectric power, However there is a second power source of Sun heating the water that evaporates up then rains down to a higher lever than it started.
    There is one more little issue with Perpetual motion machine It is the wrong term to use for any machine that has a limited life time operation. Perpetual motion implies lasting longer than forever.
    I have several Permanent magnetic devices that run on their own power, non electrical input, self starting, and
    can run as megawatt output system of many, many years. So not so much perpetual motion But called
    EttCM Energy to torque Conversion Motor – systems – I think this is what you may be talking about for the item above. however without 2 input energy sources there can be ( no movement ) or usable output power.
    Tom Wlazlak Corinne Technical Design Engineering

  • Jack Wheeler
    May 10, 2017 1:57 pm

    The perpetual motion machine was a really great idea for a project! I think the fact that its appearance is meant to match its function makes it a really good choice for a class about aesthetics. From the look of the final project, it seems like you did achieved the goals you outlined here. Great job!

  • Marcus Gurule
    May 8, 2017 7:20 am

    I like the ambitious project that you are going for, i.e getting all the pieces to fit together perfectly when using wood. I think that the aesthetic that you are choosing fits perfectly with the materials and overall design that you are going to use. I think that it would be a cool trick to possibly incorporate a secret motor to fool people into thinking that the machine actually works.

  • Errol Romero
    May 1, 2017 2:53 pm

    A perpetual motion machine is a really cool ideal even though the concept is impossible. This piece of machinery has a lot of history associated to it and it helped further the understanding of modern science today. I am curious how well functioning your device will actually be before it slows down due to friction. Maybe you can also incorporate a Da Vinci aspect to your project as a bit of a reminder to the projects origins

  • I enjoy your idea for perpetual motion and especially enjoy how you wish to apply an older aesthetic to it. I wouldn’t focus too much on the actual engineering attempts to design a perpetual motion machine; the ones that claim to work all rely on some form of trick to provide more energy. If the machine is a trick to begin with, why complicate whats powering your device. Historically, there was one design that was exposed for relying on a man turning a crank in an attic to supply power to the supposed perpetual generator. Under this ruse, a battery and servo motor would compliment your initial hammer design. You could play off this by incorporating the fraud into the aesthetic, like hiding the battery in a wooden panel and seeing if one can figure out how your device is still working. Good luck with whichever direction you decide to take!

  • Dean Alibrandi
    March 17, 2017 12:43 pm

    Your prototype was a great way to visualize all the joints and arms you were looking to have in your project. Consider using bearings at all the joints to help make them rotate as freely as possible which will help give you that perpetual motion aesthetic. Also you may find some inspiration for items to use for your swinging arms by watching some rupe goldberg machines. I really like the idea of using old tools such as hammers and saws as they would continuously be swinging around and it would make them appear like they are being used. Check the goodwill and some recycling centers for old rugged materials to use.

  • Faisal Al Balushi
    March 17, 2017 12:14 pm

    The inspiration for the idea is exceptional, and the fact that you’ll demonstrate it in your project is really cool. Would the construction aesthetic make it heavy to be demonstrated dynamically?
    Great idea and looking forward to seeing the final product.

  • Blake Arellano
    March 17, 2017 11:59 am

    To me, I would love to see you incorporate Leonardo Da Vinci into your aesthetic, either through the time period or his style as an artist and engineer. I think this machine and that aesthetic would add some depth to your design.

  • Hey Levi,

    From your presentation, perpetual motion machines sound really complicated to build, especially because for them to work well, all the pieces need to be exactly the same to balance weight and reduce friction. Your prototype left me a little confused still about how exactly you plan to make your project and what the aesthetics are. You mentioned maybe using old rusty hammers for a kind of old-school aesthetic, which I thought was a cool idea. They even look to be the same shape as in the photo above (is there a source for that, by the way?), which could work really well. Also in your presentation, you mentioned incorporating many kinds of perpetual motion design, like the hammer one in the photo you have and some other ones using balls and things. I might suggest that you just select one of those for the project, to simplify it and make it less time consuming. It will be cool to see how many times you can get it to go around!


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