Now that the Lego groups on Usenet are dead, I don't know where
else to share (on Usenet) this hack (not mine) of making scale
rope using machinery built out of Technics. This guy is a non-native-
English speaker, but a contact of mine on flickr. He builds those
insanely detailed model ship reproductions you've probably always
seen and thought "Cool, but man, that's a lot of work."
Full shot of the machine:
Scale rope being formed:
Gearing on feed machine:
Seeing his stuff still makes me want to build ships, but I know I
don't have the time to devote to it.
Now for a hack of mine.
My youngest child has recently become interested in Beyblades. These
are fighting tops. Put them in a ring and let them bump into each
other, last top spinning wins. I like tops, so I decided to get
myself a Beyblade and start modifying it.
The Beyblades I've examined in detail (and there are some I've only
seen other people use) are five part modular designs. There is, from
the top down, a light weight plastic bolt to hold most of the top
together, an "energy ring" that the launcher hooks on to, a "fusion
wheel" that provides the bulk of the mass, a "spin track" that is
the backbone of the top, and a tip. The energy ring and fusion wheel
attach to the spin track with the bolt. The tip snaps on to the other
end of the fusion wheel.
As sold they come with little cards that describe the features of
all the interchangeable parts. I set out to modify the fusion wheel
and spin track to add lots of mass to each while leaving the rest of
the top unmodified. I was not entirely successful in that goal.
I selected a top with a metal fusion wheel that had a large hollow
space in it. Before starting I weighed it: 36 grams. First I carved
a mold shaped like the fusion wheel from a scrap of sheet rock, put
the wheel in the hollow, and filled the hollow bits of the wheel
with solder of unknown provenance -- probably a tin/lead alloy, but
I don't know for sure. Then I melted the solder in place with my
plumbing torch. The sheetrock paper scorched, but the plaster did
well holding all the liquid metal in place. Sheetrock makes a great
medium for shallow lead molds.
The holes in the fusion wheel lead to a lot of lead oozing through,
so I ended up needing to modify the energy ring to get it fit once
more. And the fusion wheel itself started to melt in the center, so
clearly one needs to be careful heating that thing.
Next I went through a pile of fender washers I had and selected the
heaviest (it alone was 38 grams, more than the original weight of
the top). Checking it would just fit on the underside of the spin
track and allow the point to attach. If I wanted it on the upperside
of the spin track, I would have needed to enlarge the central hole.
That probably would have been the better tact, since the clearance
on the tip ended up being too tight.
I used a big blob of J. B. Weld steel epoxy to attach the washer to
the spin track. That stuff is sticky and messy, and I ended up needing
to clean up the places that other parts attach before the epoxy cured.
I used maybe a half dozen Q-Tips for that. After the epoxy cured, I
found the washer was slightly off-center and that keeps the normal
Beyblade tips from attaching. Shucks. I also found that the now over
100 gram top was too heavy to be held together with the light plastic
bolt. I ended up running a machine screw through the hollow center of
the spintrack and putting an acorn nut on the bottom to provide the
spining tip. I spray painted parts -- to cover up the lead and make
the epoxy look nicer -- and after drying tested and weighed the whole
Original weight: 36 grams; best of three spin time: 56 seconds.
Final weight: 123 grams; best of three spin time: 128 seconds.
Photos of my work:
It still works with a regular (right handed spin) launcher. It still
can be disassembled, and parts swapped, BUT:
* the energy ring and fusion wheel need to stay together
* the spin track doesn't accept regular tips
So it's not a complete success.
the original tip was a "rubber spike" which is a sucky tip anyway