Vermont Rapid Prototyping

Providing rapid prototyping services to inventors and businesses.

Ball Chain Sculptures

I visited the Hood Museum at Dartmouth and saw the amazing machines built by Arthur Ganson. His work inspired me to design and build a variation on his Ball Chain Sculpture. While his creation is entirely made of metal, mine uses a lot
of wood and slate.

The idea is to build a small water fountain, substituting ball chain for the water. The ball chain is “pumped” from a “pool” in the basin up and out a spout. Here is the gear that I fabricated to pump the chain:

The wood is routed out to allow the chain to travel, and to accept the gear:

Here is the wood with the gear in place:

The result is fascinating for a number of reasons. With the chain driven at about one ball per second, the mechanism makes a gentle clicking sound, reminiscent of a grandfather clock. The “pool” of chain has to re-arrange itself to allow each ball to descend to get to the drive gear, so the pool slowly undulates in a somewhat mesmerizing fashion.