Feb 232021
 

This is another one of those posts that I have to make so I can be ‘done’ with some ridiculous thing that I know I’ll never put enough effort into actually being done with.

At some point I thought it would be interesting to have a flat device that extended to a surprising vertical height using a flat coil like a tape measure. A little curl gives flat tape a little rigidity against pressure on the convex side. Thought maybe using two facing each other could give you enough strength to raise up a strip of LEDs. Figured that would be a cool effect right there- little lights that smoothly lift up out of the ground.

It’s kind of a dopey cousin of the ‘Kataka Actuator’. I promise I thought of this before I knew about the Kataka, but it doesn’t matter because they work completely differently. Also the Kataka has a lot more potential utility because it’s fairly strong and can lift useful loads whereas this is just for display type applications. Unfortunately the Kataka apparently suffers from intellectual property crapola that make it too expensive to be useful to anyone like me.

I finally put about a half-day into a crappy proof-of-concept and basically proved to myself that the tape-measure idea probably could work but I didn’t feel like working out all the mechanical kinks to make it actually work.

So here it is. The tape-pulling mechanism kind of worked. I had to coat the ‘drum’ with silicone caulk to make it more grabby. A tractor feed system with punched holes in the tape would be more ideal. The ‘turn block’ was trickier than I realized. I’d need to design a better contained but gentler pathway to get it to turn the 90 degrees upwards without binding up the whole feed.

And I put a little thought, but no design, into figuring out how to combine two tape-feeds into one ‘pole’. Figure the easiest thing is just mirror the whole assembly on the other side that meet in the middle to turn upwards, though driving that from a single motor gets more complicated.

Pretty sure I’m never going to get back around to this idea. Seems like someone with a fresher interest in stage lighting could make this a cool project, but I’ve got other obsessions brewing and I just wanted to post this so I can repurpose the arduino and motor, and also the box it’s been sitting in for 6 months because it’s a really nice box- not the blue one, but still nice. I didn’t post the 3d files because there’s why bother.

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