Zoetrope Puzzle

This was a team project done for the MIT class Product Design. The goal of this project was to create an educational puzzle or experience for Five Wits, a company that specializes in live action immersive experiences. My team conceptualized, designed, and built a zoetrope puzzle. A zoetrope is an old fashioned projector that consists of a wheel rotating around a light source. As part of a team of six I built a full sized zoetrope system where the frames fall out and the user has to reassemble them. I was responsible for designing and building the cabinet that housed the zoetrope and the mechanical drive system that rotated the zoetrope wheel.

For more information visit the team website [🔗]

For this project we needed to build a structure and the transmission system. The structure consisted of the cabinet and frame that supported the wheel and provided a system for resetting the puzzle. The transmission consisted of the system for actuating the animation and supporting the wheel in a way that allows for smooth rotation.

The transmission was designed order for the user to have to spin a horizontal handle at 1 hertz which was found to be a comfortable speed. A bevel gear with a 2.5:1 gear ratio was selected for this reason. Durable ball bearings were selected to support the shafts. The handle was coupled to the shaft with a one way bearing so it cannot hurt the user with its inertia.

The cabinet was designed to isolate the user from the transmission. It was built out of durable sanded ¾ inch plywood. It encases the transmission and the animation wheel. It also provides a method for resetting the puzzle.

The transmission was designed order for the user to have to spin a horizontal handle at 1 hertz which was found to be a comfortable speed. A bevel gear with a 2.5:1 gear ratio was selected for this reason. Durable ball bearings were selected to support the shafts. The handle was coupled to the shaft with a one way bearing so it cannot hurt the user with its inertia.

The cabinet was designed to isolate the user from the transmission. It was built out of durable sanded ¾ inch plywood. It encases the transmission and the animation wheel. It also provides a method for resetting the puzzle.