The Notorious Flying Crank Ghost Project


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Mechanical Engineers build weapons.  Civil Engineers build targets.
We based our flying crank ghost project on the misconception that 3/4" PVC pipe possessed the rigidity necessary to support the crank motor, arm assembly, and marionette.
September 1, 2002

Using 3/4" PVC piping, we constructed a 4'x4' base and dual vertical supports.  The entire contraption was about 7' tall, so we took the middle upright section out to work on the crank motor support and marionette arms.  With the exception of the support arms, we scrapped the whole design.

" - it quivered and bobbed more than Anna Nicole Smith."

Note the pronounced droop in our uprights.  Also note the attempt to counter said droop.

"Maybe if we lean it back far enough..."
Despite the overall failure of the PVC design, we were very happy with the range of motion afforded by the support arms, and migrated that section to our new design...for about 15 minutes before we scrapped them too. Note the L-bracket supports zip-tied to the uprights.

I think these are in the laundry room now supporting a shelf.

Mounting the crank motor
(Note expression on the right)

To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half- empty.  To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

I don't know what that says about this project, but there's some correlation there if you dig for it. 

I'm not giving the camera the "thumb's up" signal.

Look closely and you'll see the blood.

I'm a programmer.  My brother works for a bank.  Perhaps this explains the engineering genius behind our temporary support structure (right).

The main problem we had with our otherwise brilliantly conceived plan was that it was utterly doomed.  This pipe size simply cannot support that much weight.  It was never in danger of breaking, but it quivered and bobbed more than Anna Nicole Smith.

My brother realized that for the project to succeed we had to rebuild the scaffold out of something a little more substantial.  It was time for a road trip to Home Depot to buy some 2x4's.

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