Rotator Machine v2.0 Prototype

Rotator Machine v2.0

Version 1 of the Rotator Machine hasn’t stood up well to even normal use. It bothers me to see something I design / build underperform. So, I spent some time on the McMaster-Carr web site and picked out some parts to use upgrading the design for a more robust machine.

In the picture above you can see a prototype assembly of the parts I purchased. This new design offsets the shafts of the motor and rotator to avoid having to get perfect alignment and reduce binding. Initially I considered using a universal joint but they cost more than all the other parts put together and it’d be difficult to pair up the different diameter shafts.

Instead, to transfer the power from the motor shaft to the rotator shaft, I used gears with matched pitch, etc. The main rotator shaft is 1/2″ diameter and the motor shaft is 5/16″. The rotator shaft is held in place with mounted low-profile bearings. Everything is adjustable for fine tuning after assembly.

The motor is a geared, “high torque” motor (higher torque than the microwave motor I used in version 1). This motor is much better suited for this purpose but presents a few more design considerations. In trying to keep the design as small as possible I’ll have to fabricate a cowling for the motor.

The cowling will keep the electrical parts safely away from the user while allowing airflow to cool the motor. I’ll also mount the switch in the cowling so it’s accessible and easy to use. I’ll need to cover the gears to keep the user from getting fingers or clothing caught in them, too.

All-in-all it looks pretty good and I’m sure it’s functional at this point. Hopefully I’ll be pleased with the final results once I get the cowling, etc. completed.

Rotator Machine

Rotator Machine

My wife is using epoxy to encapsulate decals she makes and applies to different items like water coolers and cups. To keep the epoxy smooth—without drips—she needs to keep the item rotating until it sets up.

She was manually rotating the items for long periods of time to the point that she was sore from the effort, not to mention how time-consuming it was. I decided to build a machine to take over for her. What I came up with is in th picture above.

It uses a full-voltage (120V, 10 RPM) microwave oven motor to rotate a shaft. The shaft is held in place by two “bushings” made from Baltic Birch plywood mounted to a base made from the same material. Below is a photo album showing the build process:

Rotator Machine build photo album.
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