Monday, 23 September 2013

Levers, Weights and Perpetual Motion Wheels

When I began my research into Bessler's wheel, 50 odd years ago (!), I used paper, pencil, ruler compasses and a protractor, not much has changed; I still prefer doing the initial design on paper before recording it on my computer.

My first thoughts were to try to design a way of making the weights keep further from the centre of rotation, or try to get more of them on one side than the other -  and that is pretty well the same thing today - that the vast majority of people try to achieve.

But, as I progressed by trial and error - mainly error - one of the mistakes I made many years ago involved the different effects experienced by a lever with a weight on one end, a pendulum if you like, when attached to a wheel.  I'm sure that most people are aware of this simple phenomenon, but as I still get designs emailed to me which ignore this effect, I thought it useful to describe it here.

A pendulum whether swinging or stationary, applies its weight to the pivot.  In other words, gravity pulls down on the weight and the pull is experienced at the pivot. For the sake of this argument I ignore other pulls experienced by the pendulum when swinging.  One of the typical features of perpetual motion designs includes the use of these weighted levers. 

Consider this; a lever with a weight on one end is attached to a pivot mounted at some place on the wheel, say half way between the centre and the rim.  When the wheel is stationary the pendulum hangs straight down, and its weight is experienced at the pivot.  If the wheel is slowly rotated, the lever remains hanging from the pivot while it counter-rotates relative to the wheel, and the weight of the pendulum is still born by the pivot and felt at that point.

If a stop is placed in the path of the counter-rotating pendulum, and this will inevitably be part of the design, then the pendulum is prevented from further motion relative to the wheel; the pull of weight is no longer experienced at the pivot but is then moved to the position on the wheel occupied by the weight. 

 This means that the pull from the weight has moved across the face of the wheel at the the instant that the pendulum comes up against the stop.

Should the wheel be rotated by hand until the pendulum is able to fall again, its weight during the fall, is negligible because it is in free fall and the pivot does not bear the weight and neither does the wheel, so the wheel has lost that portion of its total weight - until, that is, the weight hangs vertically again from its pivot.

So the position in which the weight is supported, or experienced, and where it affects the wheel, moves between the pivot itself and the weight where ever it happens to be relative to the wheel and, for a brief moment, no weight at all, as it falls.

There are several problems which arise when the design calls for the pendulum to do something which doesn't take into account these features and I'd like to have run through some, but time, space and falling reader attention combine to persuade me otherwise.

Of course this all changes if the falling pendulum is designed to do work as it falls - and that's a whole new can of worms!

I should perhaps have included drawings to illustrate this, but the clock is always against me.




  1. True John. A wheel can only feel the weight at points connected to the wheel. My question, will a free falling weight, upon impact, make up for not being felt during the fall due to the increased momentum?

  2. True John. A wheel can only feel the weight at points connected to the wheel. My question, will a free falling weight, upon impact, make up for not being felt during the fall due to the increased momentum?

  3. It's a mechanic i've played with a little already, but to no great extent. Superficially i noted that a weight borne at the mirror opposite position to its actual location would, in principle, lift itself - so if a weight at 9 o'clock was 'felt' and 3 o'clock, it would push itself upwards.

    But then you realise that's a nonsense, since the weight HAS to descend if any work is to be done.

    Looking closer, this method of shifting the effective weight depends upon having a semi-rigid connection - a weight positioned at 6 o'clock but anchored - via a chord, say - at 12 o'clock, won't be able to fall anywhere if we swap the chord for a rigid rod. But attaching the rod to the wheel via a hinge allows the weight to descend again, and the torque returns.

    So the key dynamic is simply descending weight. Without that, there's no torque.

    Which only seems to re-affirm the original problem..

    As i said though, that's a pretty inexhaustive treatment... in fact just thinking about it again has given me a few ideas to try... might the radial lines in the AP wheel be chords? I've noticed that the center of the wheel is off slightly - perhaps this is a clue that the central circle is a hanging weight? Something new to try in WM2D maybe...

    1. You might want to check this link out.

    2. Oystein's research? Yes i noticed he's been working up to something big, for a while now... and i'm sure we're all crossing all digits for him.

      Also Rar Energia seem to be very confident - it would be an entirely independent co-discovery rather than solving B.'s work, but i'm likewise hopeful they may have cracked it..

  4. Well, John, you have been back from your vacation about a
    month now. Time goes by. You were so enthusiastic a few
    blog post back. So I guess everybody is wondering what's
    happening. Have you gotten a chance to spend any time
    in your workshop to experiment with your new findings?

    1. Hi Bill. Yes I've been hard at work in the workshop. I don't have anything to report other than that I'm 100 per cent certain that I have the solution - and that is something I have never had the confidence to say before. I'm assembling a simple proof of principle wheel for my own benefit, to prove to myself that I'm right - and I shall make a more professionally finished one when that is accomplished.

      This proximity to success has given me many sleepless nights recently and I can't find the inclination to write blogs more frequently - and I'm more concerned with writing an explanation of my solution so tha I can publish it if and when it is proven. You notice I included the word 'if', but that is just like crossing your fingers for luck, and I am as sure as I can be that this time.....?


    2. Wow, it's absolute tenterhooks round here ATM...! My own efforts have frayed into a hundred loose ends for now, all i can seem to do is aimlessly kick over the pieces..

      It's doubly encouraging though that both you and Oystein base your confidence on apparent cryptographic solutions, too.

      Without asking for any specifics; would you say that the current hypothesis counts as a "something else" - something easily missed, unlikely to be intuited from first principles... something as slippery and evasive as Bessler intimated, ie. such as his remark "..You'll never crack this nut, you splendid mechanics!"?

      As opposed to, say, a slightly more nuanced variation on a common principle..?

      I'll understand if you'd rather not answer, though...

    3. The solution, in my opinion, lies in a principle which probably comes under your second suggestion, ' a slightly more nuanced variation on a common principle '. I discovered this a couple of years ago but it has taken me this long to find out how to use it. I don't want to give anything away at this point but it is very simple and it is possibly its simplicity that has led to it being overlooked.

      Now I've probably said too much.


    4. So is the Kiiking principle part of the solution or has that idea been replaced? (if you can say that is)

  5. So it's simple, but not kick-yourself-obvious? That'll be some small condolence to the rest of us, then... Scintillating stuff indeed..

    Cheers, and best wishes..

  6. John, do NOT break up your first working wheel for parts.
    It would be a good exhibit in a museum.

    What you are doing will change everything.
    Some people will not like that.

    Find some way to document what you are doing and hand
    deliver it to someone you trust, (not family) with instructions
    on what to do if something happens.

    Stop blogging, but give us a comment on this site
    every couple of week so we know you are OK.

    God speed, John Collins.

  7. Thasnks Bill. I couldn't destroy the first wheel, it will mean so much to me that I'd have to keep it. Besides it looks too amateurish and is full of holes and repaired or altered pieces of metal! I'd build a new version once the princi-ple is proven.

    Thanks for thre advice, I'll try to keep you updated here but the blogs will be fewer.


  8. John, If you know that you know, open up your wallet and build your first working wheel out of nice new material! ;)

    1. Yes I know, jso, but I have the materials for the scruffy build right hear, so I'll just prove it to mself firsdt - even though I know tha I know!



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