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Not all design problems are mathematical. Some are graphical and as such can be solved with only a basic understanding of math an graphics. This is a challenge of the imagination not a show of math concepts learned. Here the basic design skills are exercised. And it presents a design challenge that anyone has the knowledge to solve.

Presentation of Problem:

Given a thin cylinder as in the shape as a wheel or gear and having an infinite supply of miniature cylinders to place on the main, large wheel, the goal is to create a switch that tells the machine when to stop or start turning the main gear. All of the small cylinders conduct electricity. The task would be simple except for the fact the switch that controls the machine must go one complete revolution plus an extra rotation “distance x.”

The designer’s job is to build a simple switch that can solve the problem of this complex movement. There may be more than one solution. Also there may be a wire that runs across the center of the cylinder that completes the circuit (hint).

Any tools other than circuits and advanced electronics are available. Given this knowledge the designer is to make a smart gear or switch that will product multiple revolutions of one revolution + x. If extra parts are add their function must be described. Good luck!

Important Note: Any part may be added as long as it is Mechanical! No electrical parts except wires and conductors are allowed. Also you may change the wheels with any known tool. Plus you can make the size of the small cylinders any size to fit the need.

Basically the challenge is this: Make a circle that will stop a distance of one revolution plus a distance x. It must revolve each time moving one revolution plus x. The design is mechanical not electrical. And there is one possible solution and many more may exist.


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