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Charter33

Ropewalk (and serving machine)

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

Last October a thread started by Derek (Worldway) in this section of the forum gave me the final nudge to get started on making my own ropewalk. 

I have previously built a serving machine and decided to try and use similar construction techniques such as using acrylic for the main structure and modified Lego gears for the mechanism.

Here are some pictures of this earlier project:

 

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The Ropewalk:

 

Clear acrylic components were built up to make wheels and pulleys. Small holes around the rims aid alignment using the brass pins recovered from the first planking on my HMS Victory - I knew there would be a reason to keep them!

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The Lego gears had their centers machined out and replaced by acrylic hubs. These have a square hole in the center through which 5/32" square brass tube is pushed. This tube, after a little filing, slides firmly into 6mm O/D brass tube axles which in turn fit into the ball races press fitted into the various support plates.

 

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The track is in sections each about a meter long, which slot together.

I decided to try and use one motor to drive the end that twists the individual strands and a second one to twist these strands together.

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The control box provides separate on/off switches, variable speed control and finally a switch to reverse the direction of rotation.

 

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The motors were initially powered by batteries but I have now replaced these with a 6 volt power supply.

 

The 'Top' which guides the strands is mounted on an acrylic truck. This is fitted with the three stand top in the photo but there is also a four stand top.

 

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These four strand gear plates are easily fitted in place of the three strand gear drive.

 

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In use the strand twisting end is fixed to the track but the other end that twists these together to produce the final rope is free to slide along the track as the twisting process reduces the length of the rope. I'm still getting to grips with the best way to operate this device and need to experiment more with types of yarn, motor speeds etc. Early attempts are encouraging however..........

 

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Cheers,

 

Graham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Charter33

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It's interesting seeing the different materials people use to make their personal use tools and jigs from.  I've seen wood, mdf, aluminum, and 3D printed plastic before, but never acrylic. Looks sexy.

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Thanks for that - it's mainly a case of having readily available access to both the material and the equipment to work it more than any other reason. Clear acrylic also has the advantage of providing views of what exactly is happening, useful when demonstrating to students in the classroom.

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Graham,

 

I really like the set up with the 2 meter track that's pumping more line than any of the others posted well done.:cheers:

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Great Job!!!!  Makes me ashamed of myself for buying one.  May still go back and try to duplicate the beautiful machine you made.

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Hi,

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of likes and comments - thank you all.

John - the 2 meter length was chosen simply as it meant it would fit on the dining room table - just!. To be honest I have yet to try it at its full length but hope to soon.

Bill - there's nothing like making something like this to fully understand how it works. I made a few mistakes, some real howlers, along the way! There are some truly amazing commercial ropewalks available, but I love a challenge and found myself with a bit of time on my hands.

My current aim is to use my version to produce the material for the breech ropes for the gun carriages on my Victory. The instructions say to use .5mm rope but this seems a bit small when I look at images of the real thing. I'm increasing the size of some of the eyelets and trying to use rope of around 1mm, at least that's the plan......

Cheers,

Graham. 

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Very cool looking ropewalk Graham!

I ve found that the most critical bits in a ropewalk are the shape of the spindle and the bearing thingy that allows the rope to spin freely as it is being made.

It is extremely satisfying making rope and almost all settings will actually work. Another key element is the yarn, I have used quite a few but still have not found the ideal one to make a rope that will not stretch and that will be supple as a rope should be. 

Looking at your two ropes in the photo, maybe it needs more twist, more weight pull and more acute angle at the spindle, the base of it maybe needs to be more wide

 

Regards

Vaddoc

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59 minutes ago, Jasseji said:

Cool Stuff Graham, any plans to start mass-production of both the ropewalk and serving machine:D ?

 

I was thinking the same... Or maybe make them "on demand"? I'd buy one... wink wink

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Hi,

Great idea - but sorry, going into production is a bit of a non-starter. For a start both designs would need a lot of work before I would feel comfortable that they were good enough to be sold, especially the ropewalk where I am a complete novice at making my own rope. I wouldn't want to let anyone down with a product that is not up to scratch. Another point is that when making equipment for my own use you can get away with construction methods that are fine for a prototype but would need radically changing for larger scale production. The other major issue is that the equipment belongs to the school at which I teach. Putting one together out of scrap material destined for the bin is one thing, and using a project to develop understanding of design software can be loosely regarded as 'continuous personal development' - if you can't do it yourself how can you explain it to others?. Unfortunately using equipment belonging to the local Education Authority for profit would be frowned upon, to put it mildly! Shame really - it could help raise the sadly depleted 'future projects' fund. There are a couple of Adriatic fishing boat kits I'd love to get my hands on (I blame donrobinson and Jack.aubrey's excellent build posts for putting temptation in my way)

Jacek - those delivery costs are a problem. It's a pity that there don't seem to be any European stockists for those excellent USA produced products but I dare say that there are commercial reasons for this that are way out of my field of knowledge.

Mr Pucko - sorry to let you down. (currently enjoying your thread and responses to 'I'm not buying another model for at least 12 months'!)

If I can help with any further details that would enable you or others to put together your own versions I'm more than happy to help.

Cheers,

Graham.

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Posted (edited)

Yes Mark, and Domanoff's machines are superb, almost works of art. Having worked through the process of designing and making my modest examples I fully appreciate the  time and effort that he has had to put into developing them. He has my total respect, as does Chuck and his Syren products. Foremost in my mind when putting together my own devices was the essential requirement that in no way could they be regarded as 'rip-offs' of other makers products. I'm right behind Chuck's fight against piracy. I know first hand what it's like to have this happen. A 'colleague' purchased a pair of the steam shaped hardwood salad tongs I used to sell at the school's Christmas market and promptly sent them to her brother on the other side of the world so he could copy them. A different scale compared to what is going on now, but still irritating!

Other sponsors products are also available 'over this side of the pond'. I have found a UK based supplier of Sherline milling machines. I have one of these on my bucket list for the fateful day when I have to retire and will lose access to the equipment and workshops that have been an essential part of my working life for over 40 years.

 

Graham.

Edited by Charter33

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Great looking stuff.  I feel compelled to also mention that my very simple ropewalk and serving machine are very very easy to make on your own.  I have no issue what-so-ever with anyone using my design or anything even close to it for non-commercial purposes.  If you are making one for yourself that is perfectly fine by me.  

 

These machines in concept are very very simple.  Most will be similar because the concept behind making rope or serving rope is so simple.  I am just happy to see more folks trying their hand at making their own rope....and even going through the trouble of adding the detail of rope serving to their models.

 

That is very well done.....I wish you many years of good use from them.

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Posted (edited)

Personally, I find much more satisfying to make my own tools and machines. For me it is at least as important as making models.

 

Just to let you know, Charter33, that I think that you did an excellent job on making these parts from acrylic glass. Good surface treatment !

 

And btw., Millhill supplies has been importing Sherline machines into the UK for at least 30 years. I have still one of their leaflets from the late 1980s knocking about. It is really a shame that the US Post Office discontinued the 'land' service a few years ago - you had to wait may be two or three months for your parcel, but it was quite reasonably priced. I did purchase Sherline bits and piece directly from the factory in these old days. The US Post Office should rethink their pricing - how is it possible that the Chinese can send you their stuff for next to nothing and still make a cut ? - ok there may be government subsidies, but these would be more effective in enlarging markets than blocking imports with tariffs ...

Edited by wefalck

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Graham,

I was giving Jacek the source as he's on that side of the pond.  I blew it by not being clearer and also spaced it on Chuck's tools.  I'm headed off to go stand in the corner and do penance.

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@mtaylor yes, thank you, i saw this, unfortunately i was looking more into Chucks price ranges as i dont really need motorised stuff, well, will just have to dish out the extra bucks and order from the US :P

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23 hours ago, Chuck said:

Great looking stuff.  I feel compelled to also mention that my very simple ropewalk and serving machine are very very easy to make on your own. 

It's the damn cogwheels!!! Don't know how to get them or even what to get....:)

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5 minutes ago, puckotred said:

It's the damn cogwheels!!! Don't know how to get them or even what to get....:)

Lego Technic ?

 

I wish my son would be old enough so i'd have an excuse to buy :P

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It is easy to get them. Just check ebay. Brass or steel ones can be pricy, but if you don't mind plastics, you can get them quite cheaply. There are whole sets for experimentation on ebay. There are also specialised manufacturers and supply houses that would also serve private customers.

 

For serving machines: the number of teeth is technically not relevant, but you need to identical sets. The two sets can be composed of the same size wheels or of different size wheel, this does not matter. The two sets only ensure that the hooks at both ends rotate at the same speed. Rather than using cog-wheels, one could also use toothed belts or chains together with the appropriate wheels.

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I also find that companies who make parts for robotics are a great source.  Not commercial robotics.  I am referring to the hobby stuff.  There are quite a few companies that make parts of all kinds for educational purposes and developing robotics for the hobby.

 

www.vexrobotics.com

 

and my favorite

 

servocity.com

 

for example...and not just for the gears, they have lots of cool stuff.

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

Wefalck - I fully agree with you. As with many things in life I believe that often the journey is as important as the destination, and when the outcome is helped by making tools to complete the task, even better, it's all part of the enjoyment. Mill Hill Supplies are the company I was talking about - need to start saving ....

 

Mark - I had read your first reply just as you had intended it to be read. I could see where you were coming from, so please, there is absolutely no need to go stand in the corner.

 

Mr Pucko - that was exactly the biggest issue I had. I did find a 'free' site where you could set parameters and print off a paper copy to stick onto a piece of wood and then cut out, and another where to use the 'free' download  turned out to be not so free at all. I looked at meccano gears, and even considered drawing up the gears using the skills I learned (and subsequently forgot) for geometrically constructing involute spur gears as an 'A' level Technical Drawing student back in the early 1970's - but life is too short. I eventually resorted to machining the centres out of Lego gears and fitting an acrylic hub complete with a square hole suitable for 5/32nd brass tube. This, with a little fettling of the corners, was pushed into 6mm dia brass tube, selected as it fitted the Tamiya R/C car miniature ball races. CA glue secured the various bits together. There is definitely a market out there for suitable gears. It should also be possible to get the same sort of results with some form of pulley and belt drive. Do you have access to a small metal turning lathe? If you can get hold of Lego gears (found mine on the popular on-line auction site) I might be able to knock out some 'hubs' ...

 

Cheers,

 

Graham

Edited by Charter33

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I hope I don't hijack this thread now...

 

Chuck: One problem with living in Europe is the shipping, vexrobotics has a shipping fee of €92.90 (!!!) for 12 plastic gears. Add to that 25% salestax...

The Swedish government believes that they loose millions of tax money on us who order stuff on Ebay and such so there is extra fees on cheap stuff ordered outside EU now...

wefalck: Ok, two sets of same gear for a serving machine. Got it. Serving machine is the one I need first of all. Still have some model rope...

 

Graham: No metal lathe... I'll be on the lookout for some drawings for a ropewalk, found a couple of sources on Amazon for the gears, but postage is double of what the gears cost so I'll wait until I find more stuff to order... Only need some drawings to follow as I'm not technical enough to do them myself... :huh:

I'll be back in the end of this month with more stupid questions when I get some gears.

 

Thanks all of you

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OK, bought a 3d printer yesterday and thought I'd try to build a serving machine. Right now I'm busy printing crap for the kids 🙄 They want dolls heads, Fallout 4 gadgets, tanks and god knows what. But it's a perfect way to getting to know the printer and technique well. So if you don't mind I'll be nicking a little design here and there and see what I end up with...

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