THE ROBOT LAUNDRY LINE PROJECT

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


welding the bracket

This bracket will hold the motor to the wood post.

Since the round shaft fits nicely into the 3/4″ square tube, I will make a simple bracket that bolts to the post in order to hold the “steering shaft” vertically. From there, I will find some way to lock the angular position of the shaft once the pulleys are in perfect alignment.

I build everything you see on all of AtomicZombie.com using this basic department store AC welder, which is about as simple as it gets. I use only 6013 rod with a 3/32” diameter. As for the amperage setting, I just turn the dial until it feels right. Not much else to it besides practice!

pivoting motor mount

The mounting hardware and the steering bracket.

Here are the two pieces that will hold the motor vertically to the wood post and allow it to be steered left or right for alignment. A few more lag screws will hold the mounting hardware to the 6×6 post, and the round shaft can then just drop into the square tube socket. The six holes on the flat plate mate with the mounting holes on the powerchair motor.

motor mount and lag bolts

The motor mounting and steering system shown together.

Although it is shown upside-down in this photo, you can see how the motor will be held vertically, yet allowed to steer left or right for alignment purposes. Since the drive wheel is offset from the shaft center, I will still need some way to lock the position, but I am not running out of random scrap metal parts anytime soon. That will be for a later part of this build.

installing lag bolts

Fastening the mounting hardware to the post.

Three more pilot holes are drilled into the 6×6 post so that the lag crews can be installed through the mounting hardware into the wood. The motor will be living on the top of the post, allowing for a large amount of side-to-side alignment when it comes time to run the cable.

robot motor mounted to post

The drive motor installed on the 6×6 wood post.

Here is the motor mounting and steering assembly installed on the wood post. The motor can now move side-to-side, but will remain securely in the vertical position. I will later add more hardware that will allow the angle to be locked so that the tension on the line does not pull the drive motor out of alignment with the receiving idler pulley. This will happen due to the offset of the wheel from the center of the steering shaft.

an idler pulley and fork leg tubing

Another bicycle wheel to make the idler pulley.

In my vast stockpile of bicycle parts and scrap metal, I found this 16 inch bicycle trailer wheel, which is the same style as the drive wheel on the powerchair motor.  This wheel is perfect for the job of idler pulley because it already has ball bearings pressed into the hub, which means I only have to place a bolt through it to allow it to spin freely.

The other scrap pieces of one inch tubing will be used to make a fork that will hold the wheel in place. This fork will have a center bolt to align this pulley with the drive pulley as well as two larger mounting holes for a set of lag bolts.

basic fork welded

A simple fork made to hold the idler pulley.

Here is the simple fork that will be used to hold and align the idler pulley to the other 6×6 post. These forks are designed to center the wheel between them so that there is no side to side stress introduced as the cable is pulled tight across the yard.

drilling the axle bolt holes

Drilling the axle hole through both fork legs.

To make sure that the wheel will be aligned properly between the fork legs, I drilled two small pilot holes and then completed all drilling by passing through both fork legs. This drilling method helps align the holes across from each other. Yes, I only own a small hand drill, and when I need to work with larger drill bits, I “machine” down the shafts to fit the chuck using my angle grinder!

fork mounting hardware

The plate that will hold the large lag screws..

There are three mounting holes in the idler pulley fork. The small hole in the fork tubing is just there to make it easy to center the fork before driving down the larger lag screws. Because the smaller hole is in the center of the forks, the tension on the cable will pull the forks and wheel into the perfect alignment automatically. Once aligned, the larger lag screws are then fully installed into the top of the 6×6 post.

idler pulley assembly

The idler pulley assembly ready for installation.

Once the axle bolt was installed, I added a small plate to the rear of the fork and drilled two holes for the lag screws that will fasten the assembly to the post. The idler pulley assembly is now ready for a test fit on the woodshed 6×6 post.






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