Inventing the Wheel...

Discussion in 'Design and Modeling' started by Magic, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member
    Hi all,

    I have a stupid question :blush: , so I try to make it short: is the invention of the wheel useful in a world where all is in White Strong and Flexible?
    In order to reduce friction I wanted to add a wheel in one of my design (it's for the spring of my Zen Box for those who are following this adventure :))
    But after thinking a while (one should never think :(), I was wondering if it was really more efficient than having the axis of the wheel in direct contact with the "ground", even if it does not turn.
    This is because both the axis and the wheel will be in WSF so the friction is still WSF against WSF, I just displace the point of friction.
    See this drawing:
    What do you think?

  2. Eeppium
    Eeppium New Member

    I think it would work fine without the wheel. much simpler that way with less moving parts.

    you could add a steering rail, for the axis to follow as it moves along the surface.
  3. virtox
    virtox Active Member Moderator
    I don't think the friction would much different in those cases.
    If you were to add bearings, you could reduce friction.
    But I agree with Eeppium, it seems a bit like overcomplicating things ;)

    Just a thought : how about using magnets to push things apart ?

  4. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    Any wheel spinning on a axis would have friction. Be interesting to find a lube that works for wsf.
  5. rawkstar320
    rawkstar320 New Member
    I would vote to go without a wheel. Like was said before, its simpler. And I also agree that the friction in this case, probably wouldnt be a whole lot different, if not less without a wheel. (WSF is porous, lots of friction, more moving parts=more friction=more wear)

    In a small model like this, i think that most similar parts (in retail) probably would NOT have a wheel, mostly because its cheaper, but I really dont see it as a necessary addition. Keep it simple.

    Thats my mostly repetitive 2 cents. :p
  6. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member
    Thank you very much for your replies. I will follow your advice and keep it simple.
    Actually, apart from the magnets (probably not easy to realize), the only thing that could be better than the axis in direct contact with the surface would be the bearing (because in this case I think that all is rolling without slipping so there is no friction, or more exactly the friction helps the different parts rolling).
    But I have little room in this design, so the choice is easy to do :)

    PS: I was reading my first post and the expression I used - "a world where all is in White Strong and Flexible" - made me dream... Say the mankind, instead of inventing fire, would have invented first the 3D printing in White Strong and Flexible, how would our world be today? The wheels would probably be triangular (with a vertex pointing downward) because they do not need to roll: the road, the wheels and the axes of the wheels are in WSF, so the friction would be the same... Hmmm. Interesting. Or may be not. :D
  7. rawkstar320
    rawkstar320 New Member

    in larger cases, even if the road was WSF and the wheel was WSF, a wheel would be better because there is still a huge amount of fricion between 2 points. with a triangular wheel, you would (more than likely) wear that triangle out very quickly. Whereas a wheel, distributes (if thats the right word..) the friction over a different area.

    I feel like i should know the technical terms that make a wheel better than a stationary bearing, but i dont right now. But unless you have a very low friction surface like snow or ice, a wheel will work far better than a stationary bearing.
  8. gibell
    gibell Well-Known Member
    I'm not sure about the friction, but the wheel has a big advantage as far as rolling over small items and surface defects. A sliding axle will be stopped by bumps and grooves or carpeting, but the wheel rolls onward.
  9. virtox
    virtox Active Member Moderator
    For the magnet I meant using the repelling power to give the initial "umph" to push it open. I assumed this part of your spring-slide-thingy.?
    Just two (or four on the count of 2 hinges in the zen case) "sockets" into which you glue the magnets.

    Anyway not sure I can follow the whole bearing story.
    But just like in a planetary gears system, all things roll instead of slide I would think. Too bad it is not printable at this size yet..

    But it is an interesting thought for the (near) future... One could design more and more complex systems which would not require manual assembly. Just because we can !

    But in any case with a name like "zen" overcomplicating seems out indeed ;)
  10. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member
    Ah OK. I though you wanted to use magnets to reduce the friction. I better understand now.

    For the bearing I think that the spheres are rolling without slipping (so they are rolling on themselves but also moving around the axis). As long as WSF do not slip against WSF I guess there should be no friction issue. It is as if you put a cylinder on a table (so that it can roll), a book on the cylinder and you move the book relatively to the table: even if the cylinder has a lot of friction (that is: it cannot slip on the table but just roll and it cannot slip on the book either), the book can move freely relatively to the table (in one direction though).

    Rawkstar320 and Gibell: you are right except if the Wheel is not a rolling wheel but a non-moving wheel (our ancestors would have certainly invented the wheel this way, since making the wheel roll would have just displaced the friction problem to the axis) :)

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010