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Science Experiments for Kids - HOME-MADE TOY ELEVATORS

The elevator shown in Fig. 96 is a unique mechanical toy well worth one's making. Release the little car at the top floor, and it will descend to the ground floor, and then return to the starting point, without you having to touch it a second time.
A magical elevator?
Perhaps so.
A little mechanical device performs the trick.

The same plan may be followed for installing the doll-house elevator in Chapter XIII, but the more stories there are the more fun there is in operating the elevator.
This is why I have adapted the scheme to

A Toy Office Building. Six stories are shown in Fig. 96, but you can make a modern sky-scraper with as many stories as you like. A packing-case 3 feet 6 inches long, stood on end, was used for the model. Another box or two can be added to the top for additional stories. Besides the box, or boxes, get enough box boards for floors and partitions.

Make the Floors in two pieces (A and B, Fig. 98), so the opening for the elevator shaft can be cut out of the end of one piece in the manner shown. This opening should be about 5 inches square. Mark out and cut the boards for all [Pg 60] of the floors at one time, and be careful to get the shaft opening the same in each floor. Cut the notch C in board A about 1 inch square.

Fig. 96.—A Toy Office Building with Elevator.

Fasten the floor boards in place with nails driven through the sides of the box.

The Partitions, a pattern for which is shown in Fig. 99, can be made quicker by omitting the doorway, but this is easy to cut by sawing along the sides and then splitting out the piece between the saw cuts.

The Elevator Car should be built up of cigar-box wood, as shown in Figs. 101 and 102. The front portion (D) should be about 3 inches wide, 2½ inches deep, and 4 inches high, and the rear portion (E) should be of the same width, 2 inches deep, and 2½ inches high. Fasten these upon the base piece F as shown.

The Elevator Guides. Bore the holes G through the top and bottom of the car, close to the sides, for guide wires H to run through (Figs. 101 and 102). These holes may be bored with a screw-eye if you haven't a gimlet or drill. Bell-wire, or almost any wire that you have on hand, will do for the guides. Fasten two screw-eyes into the under side of the top of the shaft, the same distance apart as holes G, and in the proper position so they will come exactly over them (I, Fig. 100). Use the car for determining these measurements. Then bore two holes through the bottom of the shaft directly below the screw-eyes (J, Fig. 100). Attach the wire to one screw-eye, run it down through holes G in the car, through one of the holes J, then across to and up through the other hole J, up through the other set of holes G in the car, and attach to the second screw-eye I.

The Cables. The elevator is lifted by means of cord L (Figs. 97 and 101). Fasten this cord to a tack driven into the top of the car, then run it up and over spool M (Figs. 97 and 101), over spool N (Fig. 97), and tie to weight K.

The Counter-balance. A bottle, filled with sand to make it weigh more than twice as much as the car, should be used for this. Screw a small screw-eye into the cork to tie the cord to.

The counter-balance runs up and down in

The Smoke-stack, which is fastened to the back of the building (Fig. 97). Make the stack of cardboard mailing-tubes, joining them end to end with bands of paper pasted [Pg 62] around them. Fasten the stack to the back of the building with wire straps, and brace the top as shown in Fig. 96, but leave it unattached until you have adjusted

Fig. 97.—Section through Elevator Shaft.

The Overhead Pulleys, or sheaves. These are spools. You will see by looking at Fig. 100 that spool M turns on the axle O, and the ends of this axle are cut to fit snugly in screw-eyes I.

Fasten pulley spool N in the smoke-stack by means of a wooden axle pushed through holes pierced in the side of the stack, as is shown in the small drawing above, Fig. 97. Bore a hole through the back of the building for the cable cord L to run through (P, Figs. 97 and 100), and cut another through the smoke-stack.

How the Car Operates. When the weight and cord have been adjusted and the smoke-stack erected, the elevator will run from the ground floor up to the roof of its own accord, because the counter-balance is much heavier than the car. To make it descend it is necessary to add weight to the car, to make it enough heavier than the counter-balance so it will drop of its own accord. This is done with

Ballast consisting of a bottle of sand or salt of twice the combined weight of counter-balance K and the car. After filling the bottle, cork it up, and screw a screw-eye into the cork. Then screw the eye of a 2-inch hook-and-eye into the roof of the building, directly over the center of box E of the elevator (R, Figs. 97 and 101), and attach one end of a rubber-band to the hook and tack the other end to the top of the elevator-shaft (Fig. 101).

With the hook and rubber-band properly adjusted, this is what happens when the car ascends to the top of the shaft. The bottom of the rear portion of the car strikes bottle Q, lifts it enough to release the end of the hook (R), and the rubber-band springs the hook out of the way (Fig. 97). The bottle remains upon the rear portion of the car, and its weight carries the car to the bottom of the shaft.

Fig. 98.—Floors.
Fig. 99.—Partitions.
Fig. 100.—Front View of Elevator Shaft.

Figs. 101 and 102.—Elevator Car Details.

To Make the Car Rise to the top of the shaft again, remove bottle Q. Replace the bottle upon the end of hook R, and it will be in position for the next trip downwards.

Cut the holes Y and Z (Fig. 100) through the outside wall of the shaft for hand holes through which to reach bottle Q and hook R.

Fig. 103.—Detail of Brake and Controlling Levers.

Figures 97, 100, and 103 show

A Simple Control for stopping the car at the different floor levels. Stick S may be a piece of broom-handle, curtain-pole, or flagstaff. Bore a hole through the bottom of the shaft, directly below holes C in the floors (T, Fig. 100), and slip the stick through hole T and into slots C. Then locate on one side of stick S points just below the under face of each floor, and upon the opposite side locate points just above where the back edge of the elevator will come when the car is raised to each floor level (Fig. 97). Remove the stick, and drill or bore a small hole at each point marked; then replace it, nail a small block (U, Fig. 100) across the top end to hold it in place, and drive a nail, with its head filed off, into each of the holes.

When stick S is turned to the position shown in Fig. 97, while the car is going down, the first nail below the car will project beneath it and bring it to a stop; and if the stick is turned in the opposite direction while the elevator is going up, the [Pg 66] first nail above the car will project over the back edge of portion E and bring the car to a stop.
 Fig. 104.—An Outdoor Elevator.

Two Levers operate the brakes (W, Figs. 97 and 100). Cut these of the shape shown in Fig. 103, and screw one to each side wall. Then tack a piece of cord to stick S, wrap the ends of the cord once around, slip them through screw-eyes V screwed into the side walls, and tie to tacks driven into levers W.

One series of brakes can now be set by pulling forward one lever, and the other series by pulling forward the other lever. By driving a nail into stick S at X (Fig. 100), and a nail into the bottom of [Pg 67] the shaft, each side of stick S, the levers will turn the stick just far enough in either direction to bring the brakes into operation.

Fig. 105.—Supports for Elevator Guides and Cables.

If there is a kitchen porch to your house, construct

The Outdoor Elevator shown in Fig. 104 to run from the ground up to that porch. If you live in an upper story of an apartment building, your elevator can be made to run to a greater height, which, of course, will make more fun.

It will save considerable work to use the porch, because for one thing you will not have to build an upper platform to stand upon to reach the elevator car when it runs to the top, and for another thing the supports for the guides and cable can be fastened directly to one of the porch posts.

Figure 105 shows a large detail of

The Guide Supports. Cross strips A, B, and C should be [Pg 68] 18 or 20 inches long, about 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. At a distance of about 1 inch from one end of strips A and B screw a screw-eye into one edge, and 8 inches from those eyes screw a second screw-eye (D, Fig. 105). Screw-eyes with ½ inch eyes are large enough. A dozen will cost about 5 cents at the hardward store. The elevator guides are fastened to these.

Besides the screw-eyes there must be two clothes-line pulleys for the cable to run over. These cost 5 cents apiece. Screw one pulley into the edge of strip B, halfway between the two screw-eyes D (E, Fig. 105), the other into an edge of strip C at the same distance from the end that you have placed the pulley in strip B (F, Fig. 105).

Nail strip A to the porch post as close to the ground as you can get it, strip B to the same face of the same post, about 18 inches above the porch railing, and strip C to the opposite face of the post at the same height as strip B. Nail these strips securely in place.

If you cannot find a starch-box or other small box out of which to make

The Car, go to a grocery store. You will be sure to find just what you want there. It is not likely that the grocer will charge you anything for a small box like this. If you have placed screw-eyes D 8 inches apart, as directed, the width of the box should be a trifle less than this measurement, but if the box you pick up is wider the screw-eyes can be spaced as much farther apart as is necessary to accommodate it.

Fig. 106.—Elevator Car.

Figure 106 shows how the box is converted into the car. Screw two screw-eyes into each side of the box, one above the other, as shown at G, for the elevator guides to run through, screw another into the exact center of the top (H) to tie the hoisting cable to, and screw another into the exact center of the bottom to tie the lowering cable to. Nail a narrow strip across the open front of the car, at the bottom, to keep things from falling out.

Get heavy wrapping-twine or stovepipe wire for

The Guides. Attach these guides to screw-eyes D in strip B, first, drop them through screw-eyes G in the sides of the car, and then fasten to screw-eyes D in strip A.

Fig. 107.—Counter-balance.

The Counter-balance is a large can filled with earth, sand, or small stones. Its weight must be equal to about three times that of the empty car. Fasten the lifting cable through holes punched in opposite sides of the can (Fig. 107).

Use a strong wrapping-twine for

The Lifting Cable. After tying this to the counter-balance, run it over pulley F, then over pulley E, and tie to screw-eye H in the top of the car. The cable must be of the right length so when the counter-balance has dropped to the ground the car [Pg 70] will come just above the porch railing, as shown in Fig. 104. Tie

The Lowering Cable to the screw-eye screwed into the under side of the car.

As long as the weight of the car and its load remains less than half of that of the counter-balance, the counter-balance will drop and by so doing lift the car. The cable attached to the bottom must be pulled to lower the car.

Those of you boys who own a tree-hut, or intend to build one,[1] should erect an elevator similar to the one just described, for hoisting supplies to the hut.

Published, August, 1915

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