Functioning planetary gear system.
Matt and I took the original prototype parts for our Parallax Scrolling Machine and made sure that the wheel could rotate and the frame would support it on the shaft we chose.
Once we verified that element of the design, we added the animation frames on the outside to see if the effect would be what we had envisioned. We discovered that there was a significant visual difference to the arc our wheels were creating vs the left-right scrolling typical in video games and animation,
We tossed around potential conceptual solutions, and since we had continued to come back to the work of artist Marina Zurkow for inspiration (we both have her as a professor for different classes), we decided to make marine cryptozoology our subject and base our animation on the movements of waves.
GEAR DESIGN PROBLEM-SOLVING
When we tested our gear system, we realized something immediately. The ratios were right, the teeth lined up, the gears were rotating, but there was nothing being driven.
The design is such that the central sun gear should drive the planets, which drive the outer ring gear, which is affixed to the wheel. So the shaft drives the wheel via the planetary system.
What we realized, with the help of our classmate Sam Sadtler, is that one of the elements of the system (sun, planets, or ring) needed to be fixed in place to allow for the others to be driven. We were stumped until I suggested that we could build an external stabilizer that would have shafts holding the parallel, horizontal position of the planets but would not impede the rotation of the central shaft or the wheel.
Design drawing by Matt Romein.
As you can see, the system now operates as intended. Our next step is to integrate DC Motor control of the shaft rotation.