The Container Spiral Storage finds it origin during one of the test runs. We ran out of containers at the trebuchet. In the pictures below, you can see the conveyor belt that transports an empty container to the funnel. The funnel catches the candy thrown by the trebuchet and drops it in the empty container.
This conveyor belt is able to store 8 empty containers, you can see below the conveyor belt with a row of six . To the left there is a bit more empty space, but this is where the table ends.
To the right of the conveyor belt (which is the bottom side on the picture), there is some more free space. One of the team members was asking for more container storage. While pointing to the empty space, he asked me to extend the conveyor belt with ‘some sort of spiral’. “Just build something simple”, he said. And I took the challenge.
I liked the idea of building a spiral. It needed to be something in the same style of the already existing conveyor belts, as can be seen on the previous photos. This was the first prototype of the container spiral.
As you can see in the video, the container runs easily downhill. Even so easy, that I needed to create a rail on the outer side of the spiral to prevent the containers from tumbling. The picture below has been made in Studio 2.0. Not only to create these amazing renderings, but also to count the number of bricks needed to build the spirals.
As you can see in the renders, the colors were matching with the already existing conveyor belts: the rollers black/red, the supporting structure in light bluish gray and the borders also red. The gears are all in light/dark bluish gray.
The spiral would consist of one and a half circles, making the tower +/- 30 cm in height. It would look something like the picture below.
As you can see in this picture, the motors haven’t been designed yet. I planned to insert them in the physical version once the spiral was build. An EV3 brick has 4 motor ports. Every half circle would be driven by one motor, and the fourth motor would drive the straight part that connects to the existing conveyor belt. That was the plan.
The next step: looking for Bricklink sites to buy the needed bricks.
But that was easier said than done ….
I will come back later on the difficulties I encountered while searching for the needed bricks. First, I want to give you an update about the second part of this build: the elevator.
Besides the spiral, I wanted to create a stack of containers. The stack would contain at least 10 containers, dropping them one by one (on request of the trebuchet conveyor when almost empty) onto the spiral rollers. My plan was to add this elevator to the start of the (extented) conveyor belt as shown in the following sketch:
It took me three prototypes to find a solution that would work, this is shown in the following video.
Because the containers are rotated 90 degrees, the total height would be around 60 – 75 centimeters. That would make the structure not very stable, especially when it needed to be transported. So I decided to look for a way, to revert the movement from a downwards dispenser, to an upwards dispenser.