Brainstorming and Mockup


Above are some pictures of the ideas that we had for brainstorming. We met in room 106 in the Machine Tool Lab and used the white board. We were able to draw any and all ideas in full scale and combine our own personal ideas with others’ ideas.


We gathered some standard bicycle parts from Rose’s Bike Shop in Orono. We also used some old pizza boxes to mockup different features of our kinetic sculpture.

Using standard parts, such as bicycle parts, keeps prices of the overall project very low.

Big Thanks to Rose’s for giving these parts to us!


Two standard rear bike hubs will be used as pulleys to guide the bike chain for the ball elevator.

 This is a standard 6″ brake rotor that can be used as a backing plate or potentially a feature within the sculpture.

This is a basic mockup of an idea for a drive system. The vertical chain will have magnets fastened to it to grab the steel ball bearings and bring them to the top of the sculpture to then travel down the track. The horizontal chain will attach to a drive motor for when the sculpture is switched to automatic.

This is a slightly more detailed view of the main elevator. The chain going to the left would be wrapped around a drive motor and the chain going upwards to the second hub is the actual ball elevator chain. The cardboard piece attached to the hub is a mockup of a water-wheel which would be part of our Maine Theme.

This is a closer view of the mock water wheel attached to the hub.

Mock bird that will hang from the bottom of the ball track.

As the ball rolls over the track, it will hit the support for the hanging birds and shake them, making it appear that the birds are flapping. This also adds to our Maine theme.

After combining all of our ideas from brainstorming and mockups we have come up with an overall theme and idea for our kinetic sculpture.

Our idea will integrate water (shown in blue) combined with a Maine landscape (green). Above the landscape will be an intricate track for the rolling ball bearings. Our design utilizes two lift elevators, one being a chain drive (shown on the left) that is fully automatic and one will be fully interactive and utilize magnets to lift the balls (shown on the right).

This picture shows the overall size dimensions of our entire sculpture.

The balls will start by being lifted by a chain elevator driving by a small 120volt electric motor.

Once the balls reach the top of the elevator they will start down the red track (color does not represent actual color of production model). The balls will hit a split in the track where they can go either to the blue track (see option 2 below) or the red track. The red track will have two jumps for the balls to clear before proceeding down a block stair set and returning to the beginning. Click Here for a short video clip showing what the stair set will look like.

Option 2 will be the blue track. Here the balls will hit a series of loop-de-loops and then have an option of proceeding into a V-shaped wall bounce or going onto the black track. If the balls continue on the blue track they bounce down the walls and continue to a spiral down and around the lighthouse feature (which is part of the Maine Landscape Theme). Once around the lighthouse the balls will return to the bottom of the chain elevator.

The black track will be the interactive feature of our kinetic sculpture. If the balls pass from the blue track (skipping over the wall bounce) to the black track they will stop at the bottom of an interactive magnetic elevator. (Similar to the design used in this video.

Here the children observing the sculpture will be able to manually lift the balls to the top of the elevator with either a hand crank or a simple slide mechanism. If no one is around to use the interactive feature, once enough balls build up at the bottom, a trap door will open and the balls will return to the bottom of the chain elevator to start their trip over again. If they do get lifted with the magnetic elevator the balls will travel down the black track and eventually return to the beginning.


Above is a sketch showing a mechanism that we brainstormed showing a feature that when the ball rolls across it will hit a lever which will then move an arm to make a bird (most likely a seagull to keep with the Maine coast theme) move up and down to imitate a flying/flapping motion.

Our plan is to use as many standard parts as possible to keep cost low and sourcing easy. By using distributors such as Mcmaster-Carr, it will help us get materials in a timely manner. Here is a PDF file showing some of the standard materials options we have.

Standard Materials