Looking for some help on a mechanical design

In summary, the speaker, a junior electrical engineering student, is working on an original project for their electricity and magnetism theory class. They are seeking guidance from those with more expertise in the field, particularly in regards to using a cable reel to lower a weight at a slow, constant rate. They are considering using a bike brake for this purpose, but are unsure if it is the most efficient option. Suggestions are given for alternative mechanical regulators such as a flying ball regulator or a winch with a built-in braking system. The ultimate goal is to use the energy from the weight being lowered to generate electricity.
  • #1
I'm a junior at my university in electrical engineering and we're tasked with created an original project for my electricity and magnetism theory class. I've come up with something I want to do, however a fair amount of the design for this project is pretty far out of what I know how to do. Anyway, I'm working through a particular part of how I could accomplish this project and was looking for some people who are more trained in this than I am to look over my idea (and perhaps correct me if I'm going the wrong direction).

One of the main parts of my project is that a weight will be raised, held, and lowered. I have the raising and holding design figured out for the most part, but for the lowering part, I am stumped as to how to go about the problem. I want the weight to be lowered at a low speed, as in, when I release the brake, I don't want the weight to drop as fast as gravity will take it.

I am looking for a cable reel which can spool (or raise the weight) unhindered, but when it unspools (lowers the weight), I want it to release at a slow rate (preferably constant rate). I'm a bit uneducated when it comes to the world of cable reels, so I was hoping someone around here may have an idea of what can be used. My original thought was getting a cable reel and then attaching a bike brake or something and have the release regulated like that. My only reservation is that the brake doesn't require any electrical power to operate

Any thoughts?
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  • #2
There are a plethora of old fashioned mechanical regulators. For instance Watts/Farcot flying ball regulator/governor. The air motion regulator as in a music box.
  • #4
I believe a winch is on the right track for what I need. The system will retract the cord when lifting a weight, a winch would do well due to the built in braking system. I just need a way to slow the extending speed (so that the weight doesn't drop too fast). The goal is to transmit the energy from the weight being dropped to spin a motor and generate electric current, hence why I don't want it to drop too fast. That's why I was thinking a brake like that found on a bike might do the trick nicely, but I'm pretty novice in this field and I'm not sure if its the correct way of going about this.
  • #5
The electrical load on the generator will slow the weight. If you use a mechanical brake you will waste energy as heat you could have converted to electricity.

1. What are the steps involved in a mechanical design project?

The steps involved in a mechanical design project typically include:

  • Defining the problem or need for the design
  • Gathering requirements and specifications
  • Brainstorming and creating initial concepts
  • Designing and modeling the product using software or physical prototypes
  • Testing and iterating on the design
  • Finalizing the design and creating detailed technical drawings
  • Manufacturing and assembling the product
  • Conducting quality assurance and testing
  • Releasing the product to market

2. How do you ensure the safety and functionality of a mechanical design?

To ensure the safety and functionality of a mechanical design, it is important to follow established engineering standards and regulations. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments, testing and analyzing the design for potential failures, and incorporating safety features and redundancies. It is also crucial to conduct rigorous testing and quality control throughout the design process.

3. What are the most common challenges faced during a mechanical design project?

Some common challenges faced during a mechanical design project include:

  • Meeting tight deadlines and budgets
  • Addressing conflicting design requirements or specifications
  • Incorporating new and emerging technologies
  • Ensuring compatibility with existing systems or components
  • Managing and minimizing potential risks and failures
  • Adapting to unexpected design changes or issues
  • Coordinating and communicating effectively with team members and stakeholders

4. How do you select the most suitable materials for a mechanical design?

The selection of materials for a mechanical design is based on several factors, including:

  • The functional requirements and specifications of the design
  • The environment in which the product will be used
  • The expected lifespan of the product
  • The cost and availability of materials
  • The desired aesthetics of the product
  • The compatibility of materials with other components or systems
It is important to carefully consider and test different materials to ensure they meet the necessary criteria for the design.

5. How important is collaboration in a mechanical design project?

Collaboration is crucial in a mechanical design project, as it allows for the integration of diverse perspectives, expertise, and ideas. It also helps to identify and address potential issues and find creative solutions. Effective communication and teamwork among designers, engineers, and other stakeholders is essential for the success of a mechanical design project.

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