Whether I listen to my brain, or my heart, I still
don't understand how these damn things work
When I told my Graphic Design professor that I wanted to transfer to a school offering Industrial Design, she warned me "Well, if you're going to study ID you're going to have to be able to flip things around in your head, you'll need a strong grasp of 3D." Luckily I had it, and after I made my transfer, orthographics became second nature.
That was years ago, and orthographics, of course, are not true 3D. And looking at things like cube gears makes me realize how mediocre my 3D processing abilities are.
Cube gears and heart gears, which first made a YouTube splash in 2008, have more recently been propagated by 3D-printing Thingiverse guys like emmett and faberdasher. And just when I think I'm getting my head around how they work, I come across "paradoxical gears:"
They're side by side, and yet they all turn in the same freaking direction. My brain almost broke looking at them. I figured that the guy who invented these surely used some sophisticated 3D software that artificially boosted his capabilities, like some engineering version of steroids. Then I found out it was patented way back in 1988 by a Renault engineer named Mercier. Not a lot of 3D workstations around back then (though it's possible).
To make myself feel better, I dug up some videos of innovative gears that I actually can understand, as these operate in a more comprehensible two-dimensional way. Check out this gear system that changes speed:
Simple but clever. Along the same lines is this gear system that changes direction:
While I can't understand the in-video Mandarin commentary, I can understand the English comments written beneath the video. "How the f___ do you end up on videos like this?" writes one presumably bemused viewer. "I don't even remember why I came to YouTube."