Multiple transformations from rotational to linear force
Hello all. Im working on a project and Im a bit stumped by something. Basically, I have 4 flat plates which can move vertically, independently from each other. I want to increase the force these plates exert upon another object. Im trying to figure out a way in which I can increase the force, by transforming a rotational motion into a linear force which will move the plates.
The tricky part is, can this be done sequentially, I.E. By turning one shaft can I first engage the first plate, and only after it is engaged, move the second plate an so on and so forth. The problem I've been having is once the first plate is at the full limit of its travel aka, the maximum applied force, the shaft to which everything is attached is going to lock up, and none of the other plates will be able to move. I've been trying to think of some sort of clutch mechanism, so that once the first plate is at its maximum force it "locks" into place and the clutch slips allowing the rest of the shaft to move.
Is there any common mechanical mechanism that would act as that sort of clutch? Is there another way to do this that Im not thinking of and/or should investigate? Thank you!