8.28 Kite Flying

This late addition is courtesy of some brainstorming on the Railwire. Rick Spano did it for his Sceniced and Undecided. The effect is fairly simple, although I'm doing it differently from Rick. He uses a fan to make the kite move; I'm using a low-RPM motor with a disc having a wavy, irregular groove, kind of like a warped record; a blunt stylus that follows the groove causes a fine wire attached to the kite to swing and sway in two axes.

Assembly began with fine brass C-channel bent by hand into an irregular loop, soldered together, and polished; it's soldered to a piece of bent tubing fitted to the motor gearhead shaft. Then I made a "tone arm" dual-axis pivot from telescoping tube, and a stylus from bent wire. A return spring keeps the stylus tracking properly.

The kite is just some brightly-colored plastic from a bag, backed with aluminum foil so it's opaque. The string is 0.004" stainless steel wire attached to the pivoting end of the stylus rod with CA. That's it!

A Railwire member suggested adding a streamer for some bonus movement. I tried several different materials looking for something that would "bounce" realistically when the kite moved, and they all just hung there rigidly like wire. I'll continue to investigate materials until I either find one that works or just skip it.

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