Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Melty Gooseneck

  (+12, -1)(+12, -1)
(+12, -1)
  [vote for,

Melty Gooseneck happens to be the nickname of one of Sturton's more disreputable friends, but that is sheer coincidence.

Metal goosenecks are used in various applications where it's useful to have a flexible arm (well, neck, really) that can be adjusted and then hold its position. Examples include magnifying glasses, desk-lamps, fibre-optic light pipes, and those "helping hand" things that have clips for holding components while you solder them.

These are all very well and good, but they're not great. For one thing, the gooseneck can only hold a modest load without sagging. For another, when you adjust it, it always spring back slightly, away from the position you wanted.

Enter the MaxCo. Melty Gooseneck. It consists of flexible silicone tube, sealed at each end and filled with a substance that melts at about 40°C. Some low-melting alloys would be suitable, for example. It also contains a heating tape, running inside the tube, connected via a switch to a suitable power supply.

To adjust, simply press and hold the switch until the contents of the tube melt. Move the now-flaccid gooseneck (we are mixing our anatomical metaphors here, I know) into the perfect position, then release the switch and hold still until the contents cool and solidify. Gadulka! Your gooseneck is now perfectly positioned, and as rigid as a long thin rod of metal can be.

MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 03 2016

For [bungston] https://www.princet...tgerstalk121602.htm
Some solids melt when you cool them. [MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 03 2016]

DragonFoot https://www.youtube...watch?v=AXkY3WKG6M4
Another technology that might be a more suitable alternative for some applications [notexactly, Nov 09 2016]


       My granddad spent his life as an inventor, and one of his inventions that got stolen by others (employees or suppliers usually) was a vice that could lock an irregularly shaped part in any offered orientation. His idea was to fill the vice jaw faces with many protruding steel pins that were hydraulically operated - you increase the pressure until the part is secure, then the hydraulics are locked in place. Apparently it worked well (well, well enough for someone to steal and patent).
Ian Tindale, Nov 03 2016

       Cool! The invention, that is, not the stealing.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 03 2016

       Useful for shining a light on the sticky extra you have with your coffee, otherwise referred to as a goo-snack. +
xenzag, Nov 03 2016

       I grew weary waiting for the gooseneck to solidify and help me with my sauna repairs. Conducted with the sauna running full blast, of course, because otherwise it might get chilly. And when I blow the fuse again, the melty gooseneck is stuck in position. Bah.   

       I think a tube full of faceted ball bearings might do the job as well. On loosening the screw plug at the bottom of the tube, the pressure comes off these bearings, allowing them to move relative to one another. Tightening it back up presses them against one another, fixing the gooseneck in position.   

       Ah, I see. This improvement, involving nothing melting, curries no particular favor with the aforementioned Melty.
bungston, Nov 03 2016

       I've needed something like this idea many times. (+)
You might want to think about liquid cooling the neck so solidification wait times are reduced.

       // a tube full of faceted ball bearings// That might just work...   

       Also, regarding your sauna problems, MaxCo. is happy to exchange your Melty Gooseneck for an Inverse Melty Gooseneck. This device is filled with a liquid which, when heated, solidifies. When cooled, it returns to its normal liquid state <link>.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 03 2016

       What the lava lamp wanted to be! Bun
beanangel, Nov 03 2016

       Excellent idea.   

       My one concern is that it will take a while to solidify since you have to get rid of a lot of heat to change phases.   

       If you make out of a series of metal ball-and-socket joints it (like the legs of a Gorilla Pod), but have the joints "lubricated" with your melting point metal, assuming the metals are compatible, the ball joints would be locked up very tightly when not melted. Since most of the mass would not be changing phases, less heat transfer would be required. If you could arrange for the ball joints to be plated with a metal that both solders well and has a fairly high resistance and have a low resistance metal for the bulk or the material, you could apply heating exactly where needed by running high current low voltage along the length of the structure. That could result in very quick actuation since most of the metal wouldn't heat to 40°C, and would quickly sink the heat when the current was stopped. I guess you'd need some way to ensure you didn't overheat the thing.
scad mientist, Nov 03 2016

       // melts at about 40°C //   

       Or as we call it, "midday".   

       Can't half tell you live in Scotland, Maxwell. You'd want to increase that melting point a tad for the international market, methinks.   

       [+] though.
BunsenHoneydew, Nov 03 2016

       Er, get a trained goose, they come with a gooseneck attached.
not_morrison_rm, Nov 03 2016

       Unfortunately, they come with a goose head, and - significantly - a goose beak, which is one the less appealing features of the creature.
8th of 7, Nov 03 2016

       //make out of a series of metal ball-and-socket joints it (like the legs of a Gorilla Pod), but have the joints "lubricated" with your melting point metal//   

       Now that, [scad], is a brilliant idea! Welcome to the Scientific Inadvisory Board of MaxCo.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 04 2016

       I agree with Scad mientist.   

       The melting material only needs to be the size needed to support the force wanted. The smaller the amount of material the faster the response times.   

       I was thinking a series of pins at the the joints. This allows for seperate areas to be moved.
wjt, Nov 04 2016

       I'm sure I've seen a gooseneck with an adjustable tension cable.
bigsleep, Nov 04 2016

       Hmmm. if we could think of anything new that was _speedy_ then it could benefit robotics. 3d adjustable positioning with temperature adjustable polymers to maintain precise arbitraty positioning. Perhaps just 1/10 of the gooseneck could be warmth adjustable to provide the higher locational resolution
beanangel, Nov 05 2016

       If your lubricant were a thixotropic substance then vibrations would turn it liquid and solidify instantly as soon as the vibrations ceased.   

       Oh dear
pocmloc, Nov 06 2016

FlyingToaster, Nov 06 2016

       kidding, jeez   

       ...or custard.   

       But anyway, I'm guessing that someone in ancient China worked out how to do this, so maybe look in the old books?
not_morrison_rm, Nov 06 2016

       Great title. Good idea. All around, a nice little +,
blissmiss, Nov 06 2016

       Aww, thanks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 07 2016

       It seems like instead of this "melty gooseneck" you could just use trained geese.
hippo, Nov 07 2016

       The phrase "trained geese" is a bit like "small elephants" or "tepid lava". There is only one effective way to train a goose, and it requires the use of specialist equipment (viz, an oven).
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 07 2016

       [+] for the idea [-] for a missed custard opportunity.   

       I think a mechanical version of this could also work: Imagine a tube with many wires running through it. Bend this and the outer cables need to go further, so the inner ones would stick out the end a touch or something. If you could clamp all the wires relative to one another it would hold the shape. If you had a multi-wire clamp every inch or so you could describe some complex shapes.   

       Thinking even further, a significant non-compressible core wire/cable would be better, then you'd only have to worry about shortening the inside of each bend. You could use electrical signals to contract any section along the length on any side.... Oh, I've invented the snake. I think they exist.
bs0u0155, Nov 07 2016

       //If you could clamp all the wires relative to one another it would hold the shape.//   

       Not a bad idea, but I don't think it would work. For one thing, if the curvature is gentle then the wires would have to be extremely stiff to not allow a little flexion of the gooseneck (equating to stretching/compression of the individual wires). For another thing, the wires would need to travel in extremely close-fitting sheaths, giving them no room for play. For a third thing, Sturton tells me he doesn't know anyone called "Clamped Wire-stayed Gooseneck".
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 07 2016

       Sturton needs to get out more.
pocmloc, Nov 07 2016

       There are a great many people who would say the exact opposite.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 07 2016

       Like us. He definitely does NOT need to get out more. He doesn't need to get out at all. His ... antics ... around the Samhain bonfire were, well, disturbing. And it wasn't fair on the echidna, we are sure it couldn't possibly have given "informed consent" - the melted lard went EVERYWHERE.   

       It's not big, and it's not clever.   

       Thanks for the loan, by the way. We have cleaned and refilled it - how did all that grit and mayonnaise get in it ? The nozzle's a bit worn, it will need replacing soon, as will the sounding-board. There's definitely a crack in it, you can hear it when it's played in the third octave. We have some firebricks that will fit, if you want them.
8th of 7, Nov 07 2016

       //It's not big, and it's not clever.// The echidna says you're only half right.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 07 2016


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