7 Jan 2022

An Optical Illusion and a Marble Machine

I made an optical illusion object yesterday and the next step is to make a marble machine.

I was planning to combine the marble machine with the optical illusion, but I found it very difficult to make. So, at this stage, I'm not sure whether I can make it.
Making an optical illusion object isn't easy. If you want to make it care about even small details, it's possible to make a good one, but it's very difficult. So, I gave up paying attention to the details early.

There is one more issue. If I added the optical illusion object to the marble machine, the existence of rails and balls might more easily reveal the illusion that isn't real. Of course, the illusion isn't a real object, but you know, as possible as I can, I want to make it as if it's a real object.

Anyway, I'm going to draw the picture of the marble machine together with the optical illusion object. Let's see what it will look like.

An Optical Illusion Object

I finally made an object that I had been wanting to make. 

It's an optical illusion object. I thought it's difficult to design, but after I actually made it, I realized that more than designing, it's difficult to make. 

There are two boards with two posts stuck in both. It depends on which angles you look, these posts are to be seen parallel or crossed. 

This is just a trial, so these two posts have been cut in half and glued on the boards. Next time I make this, I'm going to make two holes and put them through the holes.

To tell the truth, this object can be seen better through a camera lens from a certain point. With the naked eye, two posts look slightly tilted. Probably, I need to do more devices. This object isn't so accurate, but I'm satisfied that I could make it with timber. I'm going to make a more accurate one next.
The view from the different angle.

4 Dec 2021

Takao Yoshimura - Unique Gear Structures

There are people who create unique things who can sometimes be found on Twitter. Takao Yoshimura is one of them. He creates unique structures using gears. The first time I saw his creation "geomecha", I could not help staring at it, then I found he had made several other gear structures.

This is one of my favorites of his creations that I just mentioned above, "geomecha."

He says that he named it "geomecha" combining the words "geometry" and "mechanism." I thought it would be suitable to display "geomecha" somewhere like Exploratorium, it would be fun. What do you think?

His videos are useful for someone who is interested in linkage mechanism. Actually, I have learned about planetary gears from his video. I didn't know about planetary gears and found it interesting. He made a speed meter mechanically with a planetary gear. 

A mechanism that is made with gears cannot move once one of the gears is stopped. By using a planetary gear, he has made the best use of its characteristics and created a system that can move even after the other part of the mechanize stops.
Here is the mechanism using a planetary gear he made.

This is named "Speed meter" because the hand in the middle changes its speed depending on the rotating speed of the right-hand side of the gear. Like the other videos, this video also shows how he draws and assembles the parts.


The next one is his representative work and he had spent lots of effort which works beautifully. This is a linkage system named "mechanical 3 segment display." 

"Mechanical 3 segment display" has two distinctive features.
One of the features is the system can express the numbers 0 to 9 using two L-shaped and one T-shaped parts rotating. The other feature is to average the force required with increases in digit, so that any number of digits can be carried forward.

He says that this system took two years from conception to be realized. If this system is developed further, it could be made into a clock or counter mechanically. To get closer to realizing it to a clock or counter, the numbers need to be moved up. So, Takao figured out the method of making it four digits and he did it.

This is a video that Takao tried to figure out a "mechanical 3 segment display" of moving up the numbers using a cam mechanism. The parts of the whole system require more than 250 parts. If you want to watch the assembling video, please watch it at 1:26.
It is a great idea that each of the systems can be connected to the others.

He explains that the system looks complicated, but it is simple. The key to moving up the number is a cam. (The video at 5:00) When the cam rotates, a spring is stretched and when the ramp of the cam moves, the spring shrinks at once. The force of this spring contraction is used to move the next digit.

The latest of his creations is the one to use a coil spring. To use a coil spring as a power source, he has made a mechanical system to convert spring power to the other. I think this system is convenient and he can use it for future creations.

These creations on the above are not all of his creations, so please have a look at more details on his YouTube channel or his Twitter. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask him through YouTube or Twitter. (Please note that these 3D data are not available for sale.)

Takao's Craft - YouTube

Takao's Twitter

He says he wants to count down at the end of this year with the system. Good luck to Takao! Looking forward to his future success.


p.s. I have not made any creations recently, but I am planning to make a marble run machine. Hope I could show it here someday in 2022.

Wishing you a very happy Holiday season and a wonderful New Year!🎄

10 Oct 2021

Unusual jigsaw puzzles

I happened to find one jigsaw puzzle on YouTube that was described as an unusual jigsaw puzzle. There are two packs in the jigsaw puzzle box. It's obvious one contains jigsaw pieces, what about the other one? The second pack can only be opened after you've finished assembling the first pack of pieces. I was very curious and bought it from Amazon.

We followed the instructions and opened the first pack and started playing with it. Juno thought this jigsaw puzzle wasn't so difficult, so he decided to solve it without seeing the completed pictures that were contained in the box.

It looks like an ordinary jigsaw puzzle. However, there are many funny shaped pieces.
The most characteristic is there are lots of pieces that are flat on one side. Juno counted the pieces that are flat on one side, and he noticed that there are many more pieces that are needed that should be placed on the edges.

Hmm... this is indeed an unusual jigsaw and not as easy as we estimated.

We estimated that we would be able to finish assembling it in one night. I confess, we underestimated it. We played it after dinner every day and spent three nights to complete the first pack.

Now, it's time to open the second pack!

Well, probably I shouldn't write what we saw here. At least I can say, we could have a fun time. While we were playing, we could guess what will happen next and we were correct, so the reader of this blog who loves puzzles can guess what this jigsaw looks like.

This unique jigsaw puzzle is produced by a company, The Magic Puzzle Company. They produce three different pictures and I have chosen "The Sunny City" and each of them have 1,000 pieces. It's worth challenging it. Why don't you try it?

The Magic Puzzle Company : https://magicpuzzlecompany.com/


15 Sept 2021

I Love Interesting Objects

 I love objects that are interesting and strange. I also love impossible objects.
For example, there is a strange object that is made from wire. It seems like it's named "Mystery Spiral" or "Mephisto Spiral." This is a combination of two spiral wires and has a very simple structure. What's interesting is, those two wires look like being extended forever. Of course, it doesn't extend forever, it's very interesting to watch.

One day, my husband, Juno brought it when he went out. According to him, he took out Mystery Spiral when he was on a train in Tokyo and started pulling it. What happened was the passengers in the train couldn't help watching it. Passengers noticed what he was pulling and started staring at it. People usually don't stare at someone because it's rude, but they couldn't help watching it because it was captivating and strange. I love this kind of thing.

I remembered him taking a Mystery Spiral to an event that was held in Tokyo. A friend of ours had a booth for selling his creations there and we were asked to be shop assistants. While we were waiting for customers coming, he took out the Mystery Spiral and started pulling it. As soon as he did it, people started coming and they enjoyed looking.
He explained to people that those wires were invented by NASA using the latest technologies which is totally untrue. However, people knew it was a joke and laughed at hearing it and enjoyed it a lot.

So, he kept playing with it and went on with the NASA joke. It was good entertainment. After a while, a young lady visited the shop. She also listened to his joke that it was invented by NASA. What happened was, surprisingly, she believed it. We didn't think she'd believe the joke. We were going to make her surprised, but actually she made us surprised. She got us.

I had asked a seller who was selling Mystery Spiral who invented it. She said it was invented long ago and nobody knows, therefore it's copyright-free. Whoever invented it, it was a brilliant idea.

I always think that I want to make automata that stimulate people's curious minds and can't stop looking at it, but it's arduous. I wonder if I could think of at least one, it would be so nice.