THE ROBOT LAUNDRY LINE PROJECT

A MOTORIZED LAUNDRY LINE MADE FROM AN OLD POWERCHAIR MOTOR AND SOME LEFTOVER JUNK.


post hole filled

The 6×6 post is now completely installed.

The hard packed clay now surrounds the post, which is held solid by the woodshed frame it is mated to. The clothesline should easily handle a hundred pounds or more without stressing these massive poles at all. I intend to keep the wire tight, so a strong foundation is important.

laundry post run

Looking between the poles at the 75 foot run.

With the far post installed and level, I now had to do the same thing with the main post at the house. The woodshed post sticks up about 2 feet over the roof, which is more than enough room for the cable and pulley to clear the tin roof.

custom post support bracket

A bracket to fasten the post to the front stair frame.

My front stairs are also DIY and designed as temporary (and floating) removable stairs to be replaced when I can build a deck. Of course, temporary out here on the farm means that they have been there for 10 years, but that’s how it goes!

To join the post to the stairs, which can float if the ground heaves, I had to make considerations for some possible movement since the post will be sitting on the ground. I cannot dig a hole for this post, or it could stress the stairs if the spring frost heave is bad. To accommodate some movement, I made a simple bracket using an 8 inch bolt and some bits of angle iron cut so that they can bolt to my stair frame, which is made from 2 inch square tubing.

drilling mounting holes

Drilling the mounting hole through the bracket and stair frame.

The purpose of the pole mounting bracket is to hold the post vertically, yet allow for a small amount of up and down movement. This is accomplished by a slotted receiving hole on the stair frame that will allow an inch of travel. I will still monitor the height in the spring and fall so that the post is not stressing the stair frame if the frost heave lifts the front of the stairs. In the 10 years that these stairs have been here, they have been fully level, so that’s good news.

post support bolt

The support bracket fastened to the stair frame.

A 3/4 inch bolt fastens the bracket to the stair frame, and it can float half an inch in either direction. The post can only move up and down a bit, but will remain vertical, adjusted by the position of the concrete block that it will soon rest on. For small up and down adjustments, I can shim the concrete block by adding or removing a small amount of gravel.

measuring post

Measuring the position of the fastening bolt hole.

To determine the position on the post where the hole needs to be drilled for the 1 inch bolt, I measured from the base, taking into account the height of the concrete block as well as the 2 inches of ground I intend to shave down for the gravel. Adjustments can be made using gravel, if necessary.

drilling the 6x6 post

Drilling a 1 inch hole through the 6×6 post.

Woodworking is all about shavings, making sure they are out of your way when working. In my “noob” days, I would just keep pushing harder on the drill when using an auger bit, but now I know that you drill a little and then lift to clear the shavings. Sure, it sounds logical enough, but when you are a metal head, working with wood is a learning curve.

post on deck block

Setting the height of the concrete pad.

Different types of soils require different solutions. Out here in the red clay, I find that not disturbing the ground is usually the best way to go. For this post, I landed it on a deck block that is sitting on a few inches of gravel that I can adjust as required. If I ever get around to replacing my temporary stairs, then a different solution will be used when required.

floating post support bracket

The primary post bolted to the stair frame.

So far, this floating mounting system has worked well; the post seems solid and level. The stair frame is extremely robust and can certainly take the entire weight of the post if the deck block happens to sink. In that scenario, it would be a simple adjustment. Even if the deck block did sink, the tension on the line would lever the bottom of the post against the concrete wall, so nothing bad would happen.

robot motor mounting plates

Creating an adjustable motor mounting system for the pole.

I’m building this project using whatever scrap parts are close at hand. Since I have a large pile of junk metal to draw from, it’s easy to cobble these parts together.

To mount the motor to the pole, I wanted a strong bracket that will allow me to angle the motor for optimal alignment between the poles. This will require a hinge system that will allow the motor to turn like the front wheel of a bicycle and then lock into place.

I found these random bits of scrap that happen to include an old motor mounting plate from a robot I made using powerchair motors many years ago. That saves me from drilling 8 new mounting holes for the motor! The other parts will be used to make a steering system, fitting the 3/4″ shaft into the square tube to allow angular adjustments.






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