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The Reuleaux Cardboard Prototype

Kinematics flourished in the 19th century as machine inventors learned to transmit information and forces (power) from one element in the machine to another. Scientific American featured a new invention in every issue. Steam-and water-based machines revolutionized the l9th century, but both of those energy sources generate circular motions, creating the need to convert these steady circular motions into nonsteady linear and curvilinear motion for machine applications. The challenge to create input-output kinematic devices that could convert circular motion into noncircular, complex, three-dimensional, intermittent motions attracted both practical inventors as well as mathematicians. Thousands of mechanisms were invented, designed, and built, nurturing the widespread use and manufacture of machines (…) in the early 20th century and software in the late 20th century.

Professor Francis C. Moon, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University (source)

Your homework is to build a cardboard prototype that visualizes one of the Kinematic Models from the Cornell Reuleaux Collection. Get inspired by going through the examples from the following website: Here are some examples from last course.

Feel free to also check out the following books from the EDS library:


More inspiration needed? Check this out.


  1. The mechanism on the Reuleaux database: O. Planetary Heat Trains - O03 Planetary Gear with Slider Crank.
  2. Additional sources: youtube demo video
  3. Prototype made by Ying Wang (September 2018):

reuleaux_prototype.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/19 09:08 by