Vexing mechanical questions that drive you crazy!

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AV-geek
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02 Mar 2006, 10:19 pm

Do you ever see something work or happen, and just can't seem to figure out how in the heck it happens, but you know there's a simple, logical reason to the way it works.

This happens to me rather frequently, when I see something, and I just can't figure it out! One of the ones that was always burning me up was a pop-up camper. To an NT, it's pretty simple, the roof goes up, and you live inside it! My parents had one of these when I was young, and I always helped Dad set it up. I always liked turning the crank and watching the top go up. The thing that always got to me though was how the roof went UP when the cable was PULLED by the wench. It didn't make sense. If the roof went up, it would consume cable...so where is the cable coming from! On a flagpole, or a sailboat, when a cable is pulled, an object goes up into the air. Only problem with this idea is that there's already a structure in the air. The camper doesn't have anything in the air to pull against. This question always sat in the back of my mind until here recently.

I rented a "genie lift" at work to service a projector installed in an auditorium about 30 feet in the air, and this gadget ended up being the revalation to my vexing pop-up camper question. The Genie lift has all it's mechanicals exposed, unlike the camper, and I could easily see how it worked. The genie lift has 4 vertical beams that telescope out like a radio antenna. A cable attaches from the bottom of the last beam to the top of the third. The cable then goes to the bottom of the third, and then goes to the top of the second...etc. It follows this "zig-zag" pattern through each stage. At the end of all the beams is a wench. When the machine is raised, the wench pulls the cable, It basically draws the bottom of one beam to the top of the other....BINGO!! ! That's how the camper works! I was so estatic, I was beside myself! To my co-workers, it was just a machine, but I was talking about the ingenious design of this thing all day while using it!

The camper only has a single stage. There's a vertical beam that attaches to the roof, and goes down into the hard-side part of the camper's body. The cable attaches to the bottom of the beam. there's a pulley at the top of the camper's body beside the beam. When the wench is cranked, the bottom of the beam is drawn up, towards the pulley. This is done at all four corners of the top so that the roof is raised evenly.

Wow! what a smart, simple design. I can't believe I haven't been able to figure this out until now!



Johnnie
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03 Mar 2006, 5:17 am

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Wow! what a smart, simple design. I can't believe I haven't been able to figure this out until now!


Probably why boys like to take thing apart,they got to figure out how they work 8)



doordoctor
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03 Mar 2006, 8:29 am

hi av-geek, seems interesting about how things work I often wondered about camper roof too when my family used to go camping the last few years of owning it I helped raise its roof and I remember putting the handle into side of trailer body to raise it i dont remember seeing any cables on ours. I think ours was using gears that were reduced so the laod on the cranking handle wasn't extreme during raising and lowering. There are times were I wish too that manufacturers of products would have diagrams of how their product worked or have the workings exposed like on the genie lift thing that you used at work. my school had one of those they used to store it in the hall across from custodians office. It was drivin by electric motors and/or hydrualics to lift the platform and to fold or unfold it to were the stack of stages were on an angle so it can be easilly transported through doorways by a couple of men. you have to be very careful around them theres alot of pinch points around the winching parts. I remember one custodian almost lost his finger to the big blue beast because he had his hand in the wrong place when it was folding. I graduated from the school in 2002.

jess


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parts
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03 Mar 2006, 8:41 am

I hate not knowing how things work and as a child got me in lots of trouble. I'd tear into anything cameras,tools,lawnmowers even once when I was about 9 a whole box of 12 gauge shotgun shells opened them with my teeth and seprated out all the components into different jars that one I got in the most trouble for.



parts
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03 Mar 2006, 8:46 am

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There are times were I wish too that manufacturers of products would have diagrams of how their product worked or have the workings exposed like on the genie lift thing that you used at work.


They ussally come with the instruction book which is promptly lost. I keep them all just fot that reason makes fixing the stuff easier.



doordoctor
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03 Mar 2006, 9:02 am

uhoh poor parts i never got into trouble taking things apart. my brother did when he took apart my grandfathers new camcorder when he was about 12(hes now 22) also he was into lawn mowers and did same to them would find one in trash and take it apart and say he was rebuilding it but never did. i have even seen this behavior in teens too but from technical school kids they took apart a grey craftsman rider tractor PEICE BY PEICE. my i just learned by watching and reading about it


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