A little project that got me introduced to laser cutting and the power of math in getting gears to work together properly.
When I was working on this project I wanted to learn some Fusion 360 as well so I could get a little better at 3D modeling. As a result this project started with hours and hours of CAD. Originally I was frustrated with how long it took me to make on the computer, but having a model of the project on my computer was incredibly helpful throughout the process.
Having made the model in Fusion 360 meant that it was easy to export to a .STL file for 3D printing. I wanted to print it first so I could get an idea of how clean the rotation was and how well the bearings worked. Because I had some sitting around I was using skateboard bearings for the project.
I learned a lot about creating a successful prototype during this project. While 3D printing a version of the model was useful, ultimately I found that because the material was different than the final version the problems I ran into making it were much different than the ones I ran into with the final assembly. For example, superglue works well holding a print together, but is much less useful when it comes to holding a wooden object together. For the final version I had to make a couple last minute changes in order to assemble the model with screws rather than glue.
I also didn't include the gearing in the initial prototype because I was naively assumed that that would be a fairly easy detail to work out. It was not. Blind to this looming issue though I preceded to build a version of the model out of plywood.
For the final version all of my mistakes caught up to me. What should've probably been a couple hour process had I properly designed my gears the first time and used wood for the initial model turned into a painful couple nights trying to get everything working well. The issue was that the motor I was using had a very limited amount of torque, so it couldn't just force itself through gears that didn't mesh properly.
The other issue was that rather than going back to the basics and doing the math to make gears that worked together properly, I kept just 'eyeballing' it. I've since learned my lesson. The final version ended up taking a lot longer than I would've liked, but I learned a lot through my mistakes and have since applied my lessons learned to future projects.