Tag Archives: autodesk

Wire and Cardboard Escapement Mechanism


Moments after I took this video the escapement stopped. Then I made “improvements” which made it worse. Likely the whole thing needs to be scrapped but it only took me 30 minutes to make so no big deal. You can’t get too precious with cardboard.

Super Simple Gear Geometry

This June I’ll be teaching a summer camp class to 4th and 5th graders titled “Gears and Gravity.” In my proposal I claimed, “We will explore the history and science of time keeping (horology) by hands on experimentation with simple machines and then construct our own real working mechanical clocks from paper and wood.” Now I have to design said clock.

My first challenge is to design a gear train (“going train” in horology parlance) with the simplest possible tooth profile that is easy to cut out and error tolerant.

Did I mention that my class budget is $125?


My experience with eMachineShop.com

In the last week I’ve been requesting quotes from local machine shops to manufacture the arbor for a wet grinder I’m constructing. I have been quite astonished by the variation in estimates. Then I remembered that a website called eMachineShop.com was featured in Wired Magazine some years ago and now seemed like the perfect time to give them a try.

The software download setup was free, super fast and I was hoping that I could import an .iges or .step file from Inventor but this feature seems to be still in beta and all I got was a handfull of error messages even though the part is relatively simple.

Fortunately the learning curve is virtually non-existent for a longtime user of VectorWorks, Adobe Illustrator, and Autodesk Inventor so after I skimmed one tutorial and I had gleaned enough to replicate my original part in about 20 minutes. In another 10 minutes I had a of list quote options to choose from. Sadly, for this “one-off” part the lowest quote was outrageously high compared to some I’ve gotten locally and worst of all, the lead time was listed at nearly two months!

Suffice to say, eMachineShop will not get my business this time but I think I’ll be going back to their software. I feel like I can learn a lot about manufacturing nomenclature and common practice by putting together a few more hypothetical estimates. Also, they offer many other processes besides traditional machining and I’ll surely give them a try in the future when I have need of something I can’t figure out how to make myself. But that seems to happen less and less frequently these days.