During lockdown in 2020 my daughter asked if I could make her a cable car…..
These are a great rabbit hole to explore, particularly good are some of the fully working lego cable cars on Youtube. They have some fantastically clever mechanisms to disengage the cars at stations and to run over the support pylons.
V1: The minimum viable product staircase cable car.
I already had one of the pulleys 3D printed. We made the car together from a cardboard box.
The “project manager/ client” wrote me a todo list of all the upgrades she wanted…
V2: Pulley and Gondola upgrade – June 2020
3D printed Pulleys and ball bearings and New version of the gondola made from a takeaway tub.
V3: Large and small pulleys – July 2020
Added large pulleys which seperate the cables to make room for a second gondola. Here is the new top station.
V4: Motor Power – August 2020
Added Motor, Winch, Microswitch end stops and control switch.
V5: 3D printed Gondola – Jan- May 2021
Cad Design and 3D printed a new gondola, with seats and doors that open. Here is a video demonstarting the current version of the cable car on our stair case for teddy bears.
It’s been a lovely little project so far, a really nice demonstration of some core Mechanical design principles. Minimum Viable Product/ Minimum viable solution, Modularisation, separate a large problem into managable chunks, solve the chuncks, then integrate incrimental improvements. For the moment, I am calling this project done, But there is a lot more I could do with this project….
Possible future upgrades:
- Add better support and fixings to the staircase banister newel posts.
- Make it go around the corner at the top of the stairs, and up to the second floor.
- Making it take less space on the staircase when installed, so either the cables run 1 above the other, or so it can fold back flat when not being played with.
- Add mid cable support pylons to alievate cable sagging, this is fun because the cars need to be able to run over the support wheels.