Post 9 – Nautilus Gear Considerations

I want my project to feel like a representation of myself. The form of the project itself and its components are thoughtfully created to tailor to my personal aesthetics, with the gears to represent myself as an engineer, the nautilus shell shape to pull from my childhood by the beach in San Diego, the wooden medium as my time in nature in Colorado, and the skateboard bearings for a piece of the longboard that has taken me all over Boulder throughout college.

This project should be able to move smoothly and function properly. This will be achieved by careful consideration in the assembly process and tight tolerances on components.

I want this to be a piece of art that will be mounted proudly in my home, something that can be interacted with and visually enjoyed as a part of the ambiance. This will be achieved by finishing the wood surfaces with a lacquer or stain, depending on the type of wood I purchase.

The project should be intuitive for users, and plain that it can be manipulated. I think to do this I need to implement a handle or something similar that can be used to turn it to make it more obvious to users.

This should be a unique piece, something that people see and want to know more about. I think I can accomplish this by showing that it was hand-crafted and originally my own, possibly by leaving laser-cut edges visible or adding engravings.

I think a constraint I face with form is the ability to work with laser cutters on the hardwood I want to implement. I want the hardwood to be the right shape for functionality and laser cutting will be my best friend for this, but hardwood may not be compatible with the laser cutter in the size I want. I’ll either need to cut this into thin strips that may be cut this way or use a different material because hand-cutting this, while possible, is hardly practical.

Making the project functional may be difficult because of the irregularity of the gears. This may cause some inconsistencies that need to be tested and accounted for. If I machine things and find out that they don’t work I will have to spend more money on supplies to redo them so I need them to work perfectly the first time.

Making this a wall-mounted piece could prove difficult, since it’s made of hardwood the weight could be difficult to work around when it comes to mounting to my crappy landlord’s walls. I think I could hollow out some layers to decrease weight and maintain the visual aspect, but this would involve some chiseling or careful design of layers before gluing. I think I’ll probably hope for the best and create it as is.

I’m curious to see how this piece will sit when it’s not being manipulated by someone else. I have seen some similar designs used and they seem to stop wherever the user leaves them, but with the increased size and weight of my piece, it may not work the same way. Its unmoving state should not rest in a way that looks strange and must be adjusted back to a base, so this may take some weight in the right spots and some testing to work out.

My time is a serious constraint with this, and I’ll likely need to complete the project over a weekend when I can get my other work done beforehand. Balancing this with my other projects will be difficult and I do not want to overlook something or prioritize one over another so I must allot time for each (and I’m already way off schedule).

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Brandon Phillips
    April 7, 2024 10:09 pm

    Hey Noah, this is a super cool concept and looks awesome. What kind of hardwood are you thinking for the gears? Do you think CNC milling would be a possibility? It would definitely take out some of the work, but may not give the hand crafted aspect you are searching for. Finally would the weight of the gears cause any issues with turning them? I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

  • Ethan Polacsek
    April 7, 2024 12:34 pm

    Noah I think this is a very cool aesthetic piece to have in your home. I do see how laser cutting thick wood could be an issue. Do you think layers of thin wood glued together would accomplish the look you are going for. I like the overall irregularity of the design and am excited to see it when its done.


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