So the Magloop I posted about earlier was hard to tune. The problem? I cannot turn the dial in small enough increments. After some discussion on the MagLoop email chain, it was suggested I gear it down by about 50. Now Field Day is less than 24 hours from now and I am short on supplies. However, as many of my readers know, I do a lot with LEGO, from Robots to large scale models. I had a few gears on hand and made a 48:1 gearbox.
To get started I attached an axle (along with a gear for stability) to the shaft of the air variable capacitor. I did this simply with 5 minute epoxy. I added some more after it dried so it would be stronger.
The next step was to mount the gearbox. I removed the 48 tooth gear. To keep it flexible, I only attached one of the frames (the top one in the picture below) to the air variable capacitor. The rest of the gearbox is held together the same way as any other LEGO Technic model.
I took off the bottom part of the gearbox and slipped on the 48 tooth gear. Note that the handle seen in the picture below is attached to a worm gear. The picture below shows the completed gearbox assembly. It does add some overall length to the assembly, but I was able to tune up just fine. There is some slip in the gear-train, but the steps are so small that it doesn’t appear to be an issue.
Below is a close up of the gearbox. It turned out really well and I can’t wait to be on the air tomorrow with my new, functional, easy-to-use MagLoop! This very well might be the first time LEGO products have ventured into amateur radio. Following Field Day, I am going to expand the system to include an EV3. This would allow for even better accuracy using the encoded motors, attached to the gearbox.