Wooden Mechanical Marvels

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Project by DaleMaley posted 04-13-2012 11:19 AM 16529 views 32 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have made between 12 and 15 different mechanical models from wood. They all work and they illustrate basic mechanical design principles.

Below is a link to a YouTube video showing the U-joint in action….........

If you are interested in mechanical devices, you can see all of them at my web site.

-- Dale, Illinois,

17 comments so far

View jeffl's profile


289 posts in 4425 days

#1 posted 04-13-2012 11:37 AM

Interesting . Nice to put on a desk.

-- Jeff,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26292 posts in 4220 days

#2 posted 04-13-2012 11:46 AM

Very cool wooden mechanisms!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Doug's profile


1247 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 04-13-2012 11:58 AM

Those are cool! I also enjoyed your Sketchup model. Let me ask, did you just repeat the scenes in rapid succession to create the appearence of movement or did you use Sketchy Physics?

-- Doug

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4847 days

#4 posted 04-13-2012 12:06 PM

Neat projects! Thanks for sharing.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Enoelf's profile


192 posts in 3378 days

#5 posted 04-13-2012 12:52 PM

Very cool models!
Thanks for sharing.
Well done.

-- Central Ohio, Still got 9 and 15/16 fingers!

View ccanderson102's profile


34 posts in 3384 days

#6 posted 04-13-2012 02:48 PM

Excellent work, the u joints are great but they are timed incorrectly. just being nit picky. the shafts on the mid link need to be in the same plane for the out speed to match the input speed

View drbyte's profile


848 posts in 5177 days

#7 posted 04-13-2012 03:07 PM

Looks like fun!! Great craftsmanship!!

-- Dennis, WV

View Bob817's profile


679 posts in 3497 days

#8 posted 04-13-2012 03:30 PM

I like this kind of stuff!!

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3981 days

#9 posted 04-13-2012 04:08 PM

They make nice conversation pieces.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3363 days

#10 posted 04-13-2012 07:25 PM

My other passion is automotive stuff. I do a lot of tinkering on cars and sadly, my automotive tool collection far eclipses my woodworking tool collection (both in quantity and value). I can really appreciate this kind of stuff!


View DaleMaley's profile


579 posts in 3350 days

#11 posted 04-13-2012 10:40 PM

Yes, I know the U-joints are not in the correct phase. The original plan was set up this way, and I realized it was incorrect when I built the first one.

I am an engineer and work with a bunch of engineers. Each time I made a new mechanical marvel, I took it to work to show the boys. I intentionally made the U-joint out of phase, to see if one super-inquisitive engineer would find it. He did and he was so happy to point out the error!!


-- Dale, Illinois,

View shopdog's profile


582 posts in 4600 days

#12 posted 04-14-2012 11:14 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

You make some fun stuff.

I went to your website, and saw that you’re into genealogy. I have a good friend in W. Virginia named Kelso Maley…any relation? He says everything is relative in W. Virginia :-)

-- Steve--

View DaleMaley's profile


579 posts in 3350 days

#13 posted 04-14-2012 11:36 AM

There is probably a more efficient way to make video animations from Google Sketchup, but here is the way I do it. It is basically Thomas Edison’s method of making a whole bunch of still images where each one shows a successive motion….....then at high speed it looks like video to the human eye.

-Get position 1 as you want it in sketchup
-export 2D file from sketchup into JPG file, label pos 1 in the file name
-Get position 2 that you want in sketchup
-export 2D file into Jpg file
-when you have all the jpg files created, convert them into GIF files using the free program Easy Graphic Converter
-drag and drop the GIF files in sequence order into the free animated GIF creater program Unfreez
-create the animated GIF file, you can vary the frame speed until it is right
-Use standard Windows Movie Maker to convert the animated GIF file into a WMV file
-The wmv file can be uploaded to YouTube

When I was a kid in the 1960’s on the farm, I used my Dad’s old mechanical hacksaw to saw steel parts. I rescued the old saw after it had been setting in a chicken house for 30 years and refurbished it. I had to redesign and fabricate a new crankshaft drive arm because the old one was shot. Here is the Google Sketchup animation of the saw:

And here is the completely refurbished saw in action sawing a 3/8” steel bolt in about 1 minute:

-- Dale, Illinois,

View DaleMaley's profile


579 posts in 3350 days

#14 posted 04-14-2012 11:45 AM


About 15 years ago I decided to research my family geneology. I was amazed to find that someone had already done it, because I found it on a web site.

It looked like my family, but my grandfather was missing. I emailed the web site, and BJ Maley replied, “Oh, you are the missing link we could not find!”.

In the 1850s, two brothers with the last name O’Maley emigrated from County Mayo, Ireland to Maysville, Kentucky. After a couple of generations, they dropped the O and went by just Maley.

My grandmother served as a nurse in WW I. When the war was over, she stayed in the army briefly, with postings in California and her last posting was Maysville, Kentucky. Apparently she met my grandfather when she was posted in Maysville, then convinced him to move back to her home in Fairbury, Illinois. The people who did our family tree back to the 2 brothers from Ireland did not know where my grandfather moved to. They added in my grandfather and his heirs based upon my information.

I just checked, and the web site has disappeared. I don’t know what happened to it. Fortunately, I have a saved copy of the geneology.

-- Dale, Illinois,

View rockinmichael's profile


35 posts in 3499 days

#15 posted 10-20-2012 07:22 PM

How did you cut the bevel gears?

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