Each "claw" is like a very small section of track, very curved, and a with a very tiny third rail of track for the exit
direction. The claws are on a shaft driven by a bearing set at an angle to the shaft. Opposite the claw on a shaft is a tiny
ball bearing riding in a guide made of pieces of brass. As the shaft moves, the guidance keeps the claw moving in the
right plane to transfer the balls. The guides are adjustable in their slanted alignment, to adjust the exact position of each
claw for receiving and dumping the ball that it carries.
To make the wobble bearings, I soldered a piece of 1/4" tube to a brass ball. Then I turned the outside of the ball into a
flat ring that matches the inside of the bearing. Remove the tube, and resolder it to the ball at an angle to the plane of the
bearing ring, and then bore a hole through the ball for the drive shaft. Then remove the tube from the ball. The ring
surrounding the bearing is brazed to the wobble shafts, and is made of a piece of steel pipe. I couldn't find pipe the
exact diameter that I needed, so I brazed some blobs of brass into the inside of the rings, and then turned the blobs to
the correct inside diameter to fit around the outside of the bearing.
This was a major challenge to get it to work, but in my opinion it was worth it.
Would I ever make a RBS with this as the primary lift mechanism? No. Too much trouble for a long lift. Three wobble
arms was enough of a challenge, and it makes a nice highlight among other rolling ball tricks.
The sling catches a ball in a claw, causing the claw to spin around two+ turns, then spin back
and put the ball onto another track. This requires a long run of steep, straight track to give the
ball some good force to get it all spinning.
A piece of fishing line is wound around the sling's axle, which goes over a pulley to a
counterweight. The counterweight gives the force that returns the sling. The "stop" on the sling
pivots down as the sling starts turning, to allow multiple turns of the sling. Friction must be kept
to a minimum for the maximum amount of turns possible in the sling, so there are ball bearings
in the sling axle, the pulley, and in the "stop".
In the center of it all is a glowing ball of light. The light is constantly swirling colors, and the
colors are constantly changing through all colors of the rainbow. Inside are 3 Luxeon
high-intensity LEDs: red, green and blue. Each LED is getting brighter and then dimmer, and
each one does this at a different rate, so that the colors are always different. The pattern
repeats itself once every 214 years. :-) The LEDs change intensity by blinking about 100 times
a second, and the length of the blinks determines the apparent brightness of the light. The
camera can't capture this effect adequately, and the Detail Video at the end does a mediocre
job of catching the effect.
View of lower right
One track at the top waits until there are 4 balls, and then sends all four down a track, into the air, to bounce off a pad,
back into the air to then land in a funnel. My other rolling ball sculptures have had a bounce in them, which is very
popular with the viewing public, and I enjoy this part too. The bounce pad is made from a slice of a Superball®.
Two tracks each wait for two balls, so that the balls can chase each other on the way down. There is a tunnel of 95 red
LEDs, that follow one pair of balls with a tail of lights as they go through the tunnel.
Here a spider hangs onto a ball which is floating underneath a wood ball, and held in place by a
spider web (fishing line called "Spider Wire") below it. The ball is actually a very strong
neodymium ball magnet, and embedded inside of the wood ball is another cylindrical neodymium
magnet. There is about an inch between the two, and the spider is always in a wiggling motion
due to the vibration of the whole sculpture.