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Taming of the Screw

A working Da Vinci screw.
  [vote for,

Leonardo's aerial screw was not workable in his time.
It might not even be workable at this time, but for shits-n-giggles I tried to figure out a way it could have functioned perhaps even all those years ago.

I see nothing in his drawings indicating he gave thought to directional control, spin stability, or storage of energy.
His device was to use the power of four men to spin the helical shape up to speed but also to carry the weight of four men.

I say he could have instead over time stored far more energy in a flywheel equal to the weight of three men and gone for a solo flight.

If the flywheel were in a vertical orientation, then offsetting it a certain distance from center would cause precession to negate the counter-spin of a single spinning helix.
Tipping the flywheel would then cause torque induced precession and could be used to maintain heading while simple weight displacement of the pilot would give direction.

I am tempted to rip the zap-strap powered flywheel from one of those old Kenner SSP racers and make a toy one.

Off the shelf components? Might be challenging to find... http://www.retroland.com/ssp-racers/
[normzone, Jun 06 2014]

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       Waiting to read all the oppos and ah-no's... Meanwhile take my +, and please remember to video the prototype and put it up on youtube.
pashute, May 26 2014

       Just wondering aloud about the torque...
not_morrison_rm, May 26 2014

       I'm anticipating a comedy of errors.
normzone, May 26 2014

       I agree with [not morrison rm]; if it gets off the ground, without some sort of torque control, like the tail boom and side-rotor of a regular helicopter, the passenger-holding part will start to spin, opposite the direction of the screw --which will reduce the rotation rate of the screw, and probably keep the device very near the ground.
Vernon, May 26 2014

       //without some sort of torque control...the passenger-holding part will start to spin//   

       As noted in the idea:   

       //If the flywheel were in a vertical orientation, then offsetting it a certain distance from center would cause precession to negate the counter-spin of a single spinning helix.//
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2014

       // zap-strap   

       Zip strip.
tatterdemalion, May 27 2014

       [MaxwellBuchanan], I have doubts about that being enough torque, like [not morrison rm].
Vernon, May 27 2014

       The amount of counter-torque will be determined by the distance from center and the energy of the flywheel.   

       Strangely, torque induced precession is most powerful if the wheel is spinning more slowly rather than quickly.   

       I see this working in my head but there's no way to find out how much energy would need to be stored or how long it would fly.
The toy models seem to rapidly tip when launched and an attached spinning wheel would prevent this as well.

       This strikes me as much ado about nothing.
normzone, May 27 2014

       //remember to video the prototype //   

       If I make it you got it.   

       //Needs a better title//   

       There be nothing new but that which is...   

       // Zip strip //   

       Zop strop was a close shave.   

       //much ado about nothing//   

       A midsummer's day dream.   

       Well, if this is the final anno on this idea, then all's well that ends well.
normzone, May 29 2014

       It's only fair really. How on-topic do I usually stay?   

       I'm a bit partial towards this idea myself.
It would seem to just be a balancing act between centrifugal force vs. weight, helical torque vs. counter torque precession, and weight displacement vs. wind.

       This should be fairly easy to computer model for someone in the know.
I've managed to figure out sketch-up and am working on fusion 360, but by the time I learn, in my spare time, what I need to model this in real-time, I could have built many versions of a toy model.

       It... it really should work.
Can you imagine how different modern society would be if helical flight had been figured out something like six hundred years before either balloons or the Wright brothers?

       We might have colonized the solar system by now.   

       I'm stunned that it took so long before someone realized that the screw/helix/whatnot would work in water.
bs0u0155, May 30 2014

       I'm glad that it looks like this will turn out as you like it.
normzone, May 30 2014

       It's almost completely revolutionary...   

       Love it!   

       Serious doubts about it working in any practical sense but that aside the entire idea is gorgeous.   

       How are the experiments going?
Skewed, May 31 2014

       Might work in a swimming pool full of Jello.
popbottle, Jun 01 2014

       // How are the experiments going? //   

       Mostly subconsciously.
: ]
It's amazing just how many experiments can be performed without needing a lab...
...and just how unconvincing those experiments can be.

       //Might work in a swimming pool full of Jello//   

       See what I mean?
What are you willing to bet [popbottle] that I can't make a toy version of this that won't fly?

       Given the enormity of the task and the amount of time that has gone by without anyone pulling it off...
what kind of odds would Vegas give?... a hundred-to-one?

       ...a thousand-to-one maybe?   

       I'll will bet one thousand dollars, at a thousand-to-one odds, that I could build a toy that would prove this concept within one year of this bet being accepted and the money placed in trust for when I claim it.   

       Wandering off topic for a moment.   

       //I'm stunned that it took so long before someone realized that the screw/helix/whatnot would work in water.//   

       The Egyptians were using it for irrigation centuries before, & the Syrians (I think it was) had a surprisingly similar looking windmill design, but I don’t think they ever thought of putting it in the water & using it to drive a boat.
Skewed, Jun 01 2014

       //The Egyptians were using it for irrigation centuries before,   

       Also they didn't need a propulsion system....if we're talking Egypt. Most of inhabited Egypt is alongside the Nile.   

       You want to take something north, lower the sail and the current will take you there anyway.   

       You want to take something south, wind mostly blows that way, so raise the sail.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 01 2014

       Okay, alright then... who'll give me hundred to one odds?   

       I'll not take that bet, for it would be love's labor lost.
normzone, Jun 05 2014

       Ah, but 'twill detract from an even more fervent love labor which requires recompense to match the scope of its ardor.


       ten to one?   

       //going to have to decide whether to put in a very flowery patent or just make the damn thing//   

       Not much of a decision really. There are only one of those two things I can afford.
I just mean that it would have to stay on the back burner until I finish other projects.

       That's why I post ideas, which I think are viable, here.
To maybe be able to see them made in my lifetime even if I don't get to be the guy to make or put my name on them.
Like planting seeds. You can't kill a good idea.

       How else am I going to know if the things I see in my head actually work or not?
I'd need several lifetimes to make them all... and I worry that if I don't give away the one's I'm not going to make and focus too intently on keeping any one idea to myself if I am not able to deliver the goods, then, they might stop coming entirely.
Superstitious I know but there you have it.

       A speech worthy of King Lear himself.
normzone, Jun 06 2014



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