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  #1  
Old 05/24/2006, 10:33 AM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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What does a rascal scooter and a 180 gallon aquarium have in common? (lots of pics)

The motor!

My husband Bill and I were brainstorming for weeks to figure a way to mechanically lift the canopy from our 180 so that I could take care of it myself for water changes. We have a hoist from Harbor Freight that was too powerful, we started thinking about pulleys/block & tackle/speed reduction and control/ how to keep it from slamming back down on the tank/what if the pully slipped and the whole thing fell... not good.
Then we had a friend offer an old garage door opener. The motor needed a little work, but it was doable... maybe.

Then Bill remembered that we had a junked out old scooter that had been in the family. The occupant had bought a new one and the guys had salvaged the motor and chassis in the hopes of making themselves a remote control mobile ice chest for camping. Like a lot of projects, that sat in the garage with fresh new batteries for a long time. So, we decided to put the motor to use.

So here is the tank before:


Everything is done except to complete the outer wood skin.

Are you or your husband like this? - you can pull out a box of sprockets perfectly suited to the project that have just been sitting in your garage in some strange little cabinet?


Here are some other parts we picked up from Bearing, Belt, and Chain, Inc.



(continued... don't post yet..)
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  #2  
Old 05/24/2006, 10:41 AM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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So here is what was left of the scooter:



But here was the motor:



Here is the mount plate for the motor:



And here is Bill having to gently machine a new drive shaft for the motor:

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  #3  
Old 05/24/2006, 10:44 AM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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This is the motor mounted with new shaft, some parts and the beautiful long pieces of all-thread that would be the lift columns themselves:





Here is the part that will travel the threads:






(continued....)
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&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp '~'-. ,V'_.-~'&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp >( ')
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  #4  
Old 05/24/2006, 10:50 AM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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So now all we needed was sprockets and chain:


This is cool, but that is another project all together.

Actually, here is the tank while we poked holes in the ceiling to try to figure out where to run the lift rods:



Unfortunately, the tank sat right under the center of the house where the joists all come together and the giant A/C duct is immediately overhead. We wanted the steel rods in the four corners for stability, but we ended up having to put them real close together to work around the beams.

Here are the lift rods in the ceiling:



And this is what they look like on the tank:

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&nbsp&nbsp o@o&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp "\_r'
&nbsp @o|,@&nbsp&nbsp _/,_&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp >( ')
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  #5  
Old 05/24/2006, 10:56 AM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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Since we live in Arizona and the attic gets to be pretty unpleasant, I didn't take many pictures of the process up top. We had little time to spare in the morning while it was still under 135degrees up there.

But here is a shot of the attic configuration (not finished/cleaned up):



There is a setup like this on both sides:



Here is the motor with sprockets and chain attached:



The outer two sprockets are like spacers to let the chain go around the beams.

So as the motor turns, it turns two chains, each runs to a fixed sprocket on the all-thread that is free to turn in the ball bearings it is mounted in. As the all-thread turns, the nut with the hanging rods travels up or down the length of the thread.

(continued....)
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&nbsp&nbsp o@o&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp "\_r'
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  #6  
Old 05/24/2006, 11:09 AM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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The physical limit of the hanger at the bottom lets the whole canopy rest just above the tank without touching it. The weight is all suspended.

But here is the cool part. The scooter controller is down with the tank, so I can "drive" this contraption:



It has a key that can be removed to prevent children from playing with it, it has a speed control knob and a rheostat "pedal" for driving forward and reverse. And the yellow button on the bottom is a really obnoxious horn just for fun.

And that is that!! Just some tidying up left to do, wiring and cleanup. The finish work really. So here it is in action:

This is up just a little bit for feeding, quick access to the tank:



And here is it all the way up for water changes/major work:





Because it is chain driven, it makes a muffled rumbling noise like a roller coaster going up the first hill, but it is not too bad. Once the outer skin is done, it will have a track at the end to keep it more stable. It has a slight wobble as it runs because the rods are so close. We turn the lights off during operation and I have checked them several times to make sure the bulbs stay connected snugly.

I can't imagine not having a lift on a canopy this size, and this has been really cool. If you have real specific technical questions, Bill (billyayle on RC) will have to answer here.

Hope you like it!!
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  #7  
Old 05/24/2006, 11:14 AM
PITSTOP PITSTOP is offline
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OH MY GOD!!!

That is PURE brilliance at work! What a fantastic and imaginative solution, well done!
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  #8  
Old 05/24/2006, 11:16 AM
gobygoby gobygoby is offline
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Brilliant!
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  #9  
Old 05/24/2006, 11:18 AM
bkwudzjeep bkwudzjeep is offline
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That is GREAT!!!! Very good idea!!
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  #10  
Old 05/24/2006, 11:42 AM
3.99AfterTaxes 3.99AfterTaxes is offline
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I'm with the rest of them - AWESOME!
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  #11  
Old 05/24/2006, 12:02 PM
uscgbeachbum uscgbeachbum is offline
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It takes a lot to impress me. And lets face it...there is a whole bunch of "backyard engineering" on RC. But I put this as the most innovative use of garage scrap I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing.
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  #12  
Old 05/24/2006, 12:05 PM
dwdenny dwdenny is offline
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WOW. That is a great idea and seems rather easy for those that a mechanicaly inclided that is. Nice to see that it works something to remeber when I begin to build my big tank when we finally move into our house. Great job btw
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  #13  
Old 05/24/2006, 12:41 PM
sidewinder770 sidewinder770 is offline
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Very ingenious indeed! I love the use of “garage junk� as well- there always seems to be an endless supply of that and it’s great when you can put it to good use. Guess you just need to find another scooter for the remote controlled beer fridge now huh
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  #14  
Old 05/24/2006, 12:44 PM
apayne apayne is offline
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Sweet, looks great, but why not just add a door to the hood, oh yea that would be to easy. Realy like the spare parts in your garage.
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  #15  
Old 05/24/2006, 12:54 PM
cerreta cerreta is offline
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Nice work!!! Thanks for the details of this build.

How warm does the nut and lond screw assembly get when driving this? Do you have to oil the screw rod often?
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  #16  
Old 05/24/2006, 01:04 PM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by apayne
Sweet, looks great, but why not just add a door to the hood, oh yea that would be to easy. Realy like the spare parts in your garage.
Why didn't I think of that!? lol

Actually, my 55 gallon tank had a hinged canopy with 2 x 175W haildes in it and I have a 2in long burn scar on my arm from where I bumped in to a bulb one day. That was motivating.

The truth is that I am 5'4" (64" tall). The stand is 38" tall and the tank is 24" tall and the canopy is 7-8 inches tall. Opening a door on top or walking in to a door in front didn't seem to exciting to me. My arms barely reach the bottom of the tank as is when there is nothing on top. So I guess those were the challenges that ruled out a traditional canopy.

Thanks so much for the comments!!

Scott (sidewinder) - If we can't find another scooter, we will have to keep working on training the dog to fetch the beer from the regular cooler.

Scott (cerreta) - Just being in an Arizona attic is going to make the assembly hot. But it is a slow moving unit (I think it was about 10 revolutions that made an inch of travel) so it is not spinning like crazy. It will need to be checked and lubed regularly.
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  #17  
Old 05/24/2006, 01:16 PM
vanmle vanmle is offline
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Way too cool
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  #18  
Old 05/24/2006, 01:50 PM
marino420td marino420td is offline
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What do you get when Monster Garage meets Reef Central?

Great Work!
  #19  
Old 05/24/2006, 02:17 PM
jarhed jarhed is offline
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Freakin SWEET!!!!!!!
  #20  
Old 05/24/2006, 02:23 PM
Satori Satori is offline
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That is an excellent idea! A remote control cooler for camping.....

J/K! I love the canopy lift! That's some truly ingenious work!
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  #21  
Old 05/24/2006, 03:20 PM
exmt exmt is offline
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Whoa, this is a brilliant idea!!!!
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  #22  
Old 05/24/2006, 04:20 PM
reefgeek84 reefgeek84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by marino420td
What do you get when Monster Garage meets Reef Central?

Great Work!
You are on to a new program on discovery!!!!!

This is an awesome idea and looks like you did a very professional on it!
  #23  
Old 05/24/2006, 06:39 PM
melev melev is offline
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I love it. Can you shoot some video of it in action?
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  #24  
Old 05/24/2006, 06:54 PM
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I'm jealous, lets see some videos!
  #25  
Old 05/24/2006, 09:07 PM
aztbs aztbs is offline
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Ok, my camera only can do 15 second clips, so here is the best I got. It actually takes about 30 seconds to run it at a comfortable pace all the way to the ceiling and I normally would turn the lights off. The T5's can handle the vibration OK.

Please forgive the noise. (and turn down your volume!!!) The cheesey mic on the camera magnifies the sound horribly. We do have aligning and fine tuning to do to further quiet the setup, but it really is not bad.

Lift up

Lift down
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