Mechanical Wankelry
March 23, 2013 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Animated Engines has been mentioned a couple times before, but I wanted to highlight the site entire, along with its sister site, 507 Mechanical Movements. Both sites have animated diagrams of a huge variety of engines and (relatively) simple machines, the latter based on an 1868 book by Henry T. Brown of the same name. While all of the engines are animated, the animated machines start on page 3, and go on from there. And every diagram leads to a page that explains the machine's function — step-by-step in the case of the engines.
posted by cthuljew (14 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
The only A+ I got in college (by a long shot) was mechanisms. There goes my afternoon.
posted by notsnot at 1:56 PM on March 23, 2013

Excellant post. Thank you so much !
posted by Faintdreams at 2:50 PM on March 23, 2013

There's actually history behind the 1868 Brown book as well, but I'm too pressed for time right now to provide any links. There's some info given in Engineering and the Mind's Eye by Eugene Ferguson. Basically, "lots of mechanisms illustrated in a book" was a THING.
posted by DU at 3:09 PM on March 23, 2013

No twingle or swashplate? I'm outraged!

Obviously, there's going to be no pendulum starter, either.

Seriously, though—great FPP! I love my machinery!
posted by sonascope at 3:16 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Excellent, but needs more Deltic and Commer TS3.

You might be wondering why there were so many zanily complex linkages to try to get linear motion from/to rotational in the book. Two reasons (that I know of): firstly, early steam engine gland packing wasn't all that, and if you could avoid putting torsion on the piston rod, you'd avoid leaks, bearing wear and potential shaft breakage. Secondly, true linear movement (without sliding guides) allowed you to machine/manufacture straight and/or flat things without days of careful manual finishing. With straight and flat, you can make more accurate toolmaking machinery, to make even more accurate things. Accuracy and repeatability are good, and it took centuries to get this idea right.

For all that, I think my favourite is the slow forward and quick reverse. I can't watch it without hearing the satisfying graunch of mating spur gears.
posted by scruss at 3:30 PM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

sonascope: You should totally email them about that.
posted by cthuljew at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2013

I can't believe the Wankel engine doesn't simply blow up.. it looks like too many moving parts and weird shapes in the crankcase and all unbalanced. I guess that's just an illusion though.
posted by crapmatic at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2013

My favorite is 114 because of those missing teeth, just perfectly placed. So elegant.
posted by cthuljew at 3:38 PM on March 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm going to assume that the correct sizes of those missing teeth were determined empirically.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:42 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like-- difficult to navigate but with delightfully steampunky stop-motion, Cornell's Kinematics site has a big collection of movies.
posted by Erasmouse at 3:55 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Those animations reminded me of this Prius transmission animation, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Move the MG2 (motor / generator 2) slider, or move the ICE (internal combustion engine) slider.

The outside ring gear connects to the wheels. The center sun gear is driven by MG1 (motor / generator 1), and the engine drives the carrier of the four planetary gears.
posted by jjj606 at 4:36 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wake me when he gets to the amination for #378.

Sonascope, #95 looks like a swash plate, although it's called a cam in the index.
posted by sneebler at 4:58 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

A swashplate really is just an adjustable cam. I can see why it would be categorized as one.
posted by TheJoven at 7:14 PM on March 23, 2013

This stuff is great. Now if they could just get 3-d versions of these movements, I would be in heaven. Thanks for the post!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:59 PM on March 23, 2013

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