Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Witness the Tilt-O-Rama!

This unit for The DSC was used to demonstrate center of mass, rotational inertia, periodic motion, and to generally scare the living crap out of it's passenger. It was not for their entertainment, but for the rest of the audience (family, friends, spouse, students) when they saw the expressions of shock and horror.

It was built from my design by a Canadian company that shall remain nameless. (In fact, I believe that they are either out of business or operating under a different name.) Like most things built by this firm it needed extensive rework for safety and decreased maintenance.

In this case the entire passenger restraint system had to be redesigned and rebuilt. Also added: A bumper system to the central column, a system that held the payload at-rest during loading/off-loading, and air-pads on the feet that allowed us to move this massive device anywhere on the floor with remarkable ease.

Originally the "Crow's Nest" featured a bastardized fall-safety harness. This took too much time to properly fasten during a demonstration, and was usually done half-heartedly. Also, it did not provide enough freedom of movement for the participant to shift their center of mass around to get the Tilt-O-Rama a rockin'.

I replaced their kludge with a system that allowed quick and safe operation. While one operator was closing a guard that completely encircles the passenger, another at the ground level was turning a crank that hydraulically advanced "hand-cuffs" around their ankles. Now the visitor could shift their mass over a foot in 360 degrees, while the ankle restraints prevented them from stepping off the platform

Here is a detail of the hydraulic system that advanced the 'cuffs.

Here is another that shows one of the slave cylinders. When the crank is reversed the two large constant-force springs draw the cylinder back to it's original position. Hidden from view is the rack and pinion that provides the rotary motion to the 'cuffs.

If I can find more detail photos of the mechanisms, I'll add them to this post.