Thursday, April 25, 2013

Baby auto rocker

Here's a mini project I am working on.  My new son (~4 weeks old) is doing pretty well, but he has trouble calming down when he wants to fall asleep. My wife and I spend a lot of time rocking him, and that helps to calm him down.

I thought it would be great for him to be able to rock automatically, but all of the rocking devices I have seen are swings that require the baby to be upright, which is not ideal for putting him to sleep.  I decided to make a basic rocking machine out of parts I had lying around.

Design Goals

  • Simple to operate (Mom can use it without Dad around)
  • Able to be easily connected and disconnected
  • Potentially adaptable to other rocking furniture
  • Reasonably sturdy and reliable
  • Cheap, made almost entirely out of upcycled items

Parts List

  • 12v, high-torque motor for power seat out of a Mercedez Benz
  • Clutch throwout bearing out of a 2000 VW Beetle transmission
  • Scrap piece of ceramic tile (for dead weight)
  • 2 Compact discs
  • 6 in. rubber band
  • 12 in. letter rubber band
  • 6 in. piece of nylon strap
  • Various pieces of scrap wood, screws, and a fairly large bolt
  • Small wooden spool found in sewing kit 
  • Mid-section cut out of scrap plastic bottle
  • 5V, 1A output wall adapter
The bearing allows the machine to run quietly and adds sturdiness to the rotation.  The use of rubber bands makes it forgiving when it gets out of sync with the rocker (which happens a lot right now).  The next thing it needs is a potentiometer so the speed can be adjusted.  It currently runs too fast and the rocking is very uneven.

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