Intro to Fab: Week 6 – Decision Making Machine


2. Inspiration:

When brainstorming for this project, I got lots of inspiration from a Japanese artist named Kazuki Harada, who is famous for making wood automation toy. Although most of his work are not motor driven, the design of the cooperation among each single piece of wood is very precise, elegant and full of joy.



So, inspired by his work, I decided to do a motor-driven wood machine that tells you “do” or “don’t” and helps you to make decision.

3. Process

04Assemble motor
    06 gear testing

I was looking for a gear that is small but strong, providing stable but relative slow turning speed so that the wood pieces could be lifted up properly. So I got this mini motor gearbox from Amazon. It’s a tiny motor that gives you 12 different kinds of speed by adjusting the position of the final gear. Then I bought a box and some round wood pieces.

After I assembled the mini motor, I started to design the gear, which was way more difficult than I thought. I started with a relatively big wood piece, but the motor was turning too fast, and the big round wood piece was turning very unstably, which didn’t give me the effect I was expecting. So I started to do some adjustments by adding an aluminum tube, testing different speed of the mini motor, and changing the big round wood piece to a smaller one.

After four hours of testing, I finally got the gear work. Then I started to pick the materials to make the “stop”. 11 testing standoff    12 testing standoff  13 decide the block object

The standoffs look good as the stop material, but they were too long, which will interrupt the function between the two wood gears. So I finally decided to go with nails.I then put a sponge on the top of the main stick to test the turning effect.

So I decided to try nail. But then I realized that, if I want something to stop the “stop” object, then release it when the “stop” object moves down, I shouldn’t have something with different sizes between the head and the body. So I finally used wood sticks.
The round wood piece on the top of the box is to make sure the main wood stick could only move within certain range. I drilled a hole on it and screwed it to the box.
Then I drilled a hole on the side of the box and insert a long dark wood stick as the “stop wood.” So now the machine could work as my expectation: every time the machine turns it turns half circle, then pauses for a while, then continues to turn another half circle.

I use a sharpie with color gold to write a cross and a tick representing “DON’T” and “DO”. Now when I need to make a decision, I could turn on the machine for a random amount of time, and then turn it off. And then it could make decisions for me.

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