Operating Coal Loader

 One of my favorite projects is my operating coal loader that I built from scratch. It is made completely out of plexiglass with a hobby servo motor. The idea is relatively simple. I built a sort of "sandwich" with two sheets of 6" by 3" pieces of plexiglass and some tiny pieces of plexiglass in between them. There is a space equivalent of the thickness of one sheet of plexiglass in between the 6" ones. There is a hole in each sheet that is 1" by 1/2" and is perfectly centered. I cut a 5"diameter wheel out of one sheet of plexiglass and put a hole in one side of it. the hole is 1" by 1/2". Then I mounted the wheel on top of the servo motor and attached the motor to the plexiglass frame with the "sandwich" assembly on top of it. Then I built a hopper that I mounted on top of the sandwich assembly, feeding into the holes. The wheel turns in between the two 6" sheets of plexiglass and when the hole is aligned with the two holes in the sandwich assembly, the coal pours out of the hopper into the hopper car that is underneath the plexiglass coal loader. The whole assembly is hidden underneath a scratch built "Black Coal Company" building, so I did not worry about the looks. Here are some pictures:


Side shot: ( as you can see in the background, I used sugar for my material to test it with)

SIde shot from other side showing motor: (as you can see, I've been testing it lately and didn't bother to clean up.)

This is the building that the loader will be housed in, and that black streak you see will eventually be painted over: 

This is a view of inside the building. The hole is where the loader will go, so if any sugar spills it will go through the hole and into a pan underneath. 

Here is a Youtube video of the first prototype loader in action: 

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