Matt Young

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Software and Hardware Used
Google SketchUp
Involute Gears Plugin
Computer Aided-Design

Kinetic Sign Model and Animation: To view the animation the click image below
                          Rendering of the Kinetic Sign

To generate a 3D model of the kinetic sign I utilized Google SketchUp, in which I have a fair amount of experience.   I chose use work with SketchUp because the software is free and very user friendly; which makes this an ideal software to use in a high school classroom because my students will be able to download it at home and can easily work on projects outside of the classroom.  The design of the sign was relatively straight forward with the only catch being the construction of the gears, for this I turned to a free plugin called Involute Gears.  This plugin allowed me to construct the gear train with relative easy, I simply had to input the number of gears and gear radius for each gear.

After the basic design was complete I realized that it was very important to correctly place the gear mount holes in the sign backing.  To complete this task I first positioned the mount hole of the drive gear.  Next, to determine the correct location of the next gear, which I will call the idler gear, I first created a circle with total radius equal to the sum radius of the driver and idler gears, with its center at the same location as the driver gear. I then measured the angle at which the idler gear's center was compared to a horizontal line passing through the driver radius.  Finally I used this angle to mark the correct location, on the circle, of were the gear mount hole for the first idler gear should be located.  I then repeated this task for the remaining gears.

The other structures were modeled by me except for the flowers and car, which I retrieved from the 3D Warehouse found in SketchUp.  Once the flowers and car were imported I needed to modify them to fit the sign.  The modifications made to the flowers entailed removing the vase they came in, shortening the stems, rearranging them, and adding a mounting bracket to the bottom so a rod can be connected from them to the lever, which will make them move.  The modifications made to the car included altering the wheels so they were connected to the body, slicing the car in half, adding a mounting bracket to the back of the car, and adding a second mounting bracket to the grill so a rod can be connected from a gear to the car to make it move.

The largest drawback of using SketchUp is the amount of work needed to make revisions, in some cases I found it  easier to reconstruct an object rather than modify it, which could take a fair amount of time if the object is complex.

The resulting model can be seen in the animation above, which was created in Sketchup and uploaded to YouTube.

Mahtomedi High School
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Mahtomedi High School click here.

This website was created by

Matthew Young
Mahtomedi High School