Steam Powered Armatron

Engine/Boiler: Jensen #75
Fuel: Alcohol
Running Time: 15 min
Arm: Tandy Armatron


After having some success hacking together complex r/c steam machines,
many people have called my creations robots,  while others say they are not
true robots..... I really don't care what people call them, as long as they get a kick
out of my silly hobby. But this one would be hard to define other than a
Steam Powered Robotic Arm.

About Armatron:

Armatron was my favorite toy as a kid, it was made by Tandy, and sold through
Radio Shack in the 80's. It was made with ONE electric motor, with gears
and clutches throughout the entire base and arm, controlled by 2 joysticks that
 engages and disengages gears for 6 degrees of movement (the joy stick
each move in 2 axis, plus they twist for closing/opening of the jaw, and rotating
of the hand). This complex machine is a marvel of engineering, the amazing
control and ease to operation made this toy amazingly fun to play. This particular
one was found at a flea market, haggled down to half price, from two bucks down to
one dollar.... the best deal I've ever gotten at a flea market!

About Jensen Steam Engine Mfg:

Jensen is the last remaining steam engine company made in the USA, with a
history of over 70 years. Jensen products ranges from hobby engines, to amazing
collectors engines. Recently they even released a steam turbine engine!

Jensen donated this model 75 to me after seeing some of my creations. They've
 sponsored me to make whatever I can come up with using their engines - how cool
is that?!!! I'd like to give thanks to everyone at Jensen for this opportunity and
supporting the arts.

The Hack:
( There are no electronics or batteries! )

This is a pretty simple hack job compared to most of my creations. I simply
removed the single motor, and other gears not related to the actual operation
of the arm,  and attached a drive shaft with a pulley. Holes were cut on the side
of the base to allow a steam engine to power it. I first used sprockets, but it
proved to derail too easily, due to the length of chain that it was required.
I ended up using a pulley and rubber band and it worked like a charm.

Sprocket and drive shaft where the motor used to be

Jensen #75 is a beast, providing super high RPM and torque to move the
arm at a fast pace. I usually have to gear down engines to move itself along,
but being stationary and having the robotic arm already geared for a electric
motor, I was able to gear the Jensen for super fast RPM - as seen on the
large pulley attached to the engine.

Rubber band and pulley test

Final Jensen Armatron:

I attached the Armatron and Jensen to a wood base, and painted them
with heat resistant, and plastic paint. I also routed the steam exhaust
into the chimney under the Jensen base.

The technology in this Steam Armatron is completley mechanical:
gears, clutches, pulleys, steam power...  Victorian technology that could have
 developed a couple of hundred years ago. You've seen enough Steampunk
movies, but this is a real working steampunk robot.




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