I've given some thought to this project and the gearing that might be involved in making it run.
The overall device, in its current implementation, can be thought of as two
separate devices, one on the right side as you face the front, and one on the left. In my implementatin, each side has 8 slots composed of 2 slots in width, and 4 deep, where at the completion of 4 sequential movements on any one side, one of those 8 slots is vacant. Assume each slot to be square in size in width and depth, to reduce complexity. Each side has 7 "shoe columns
" (defined below) that hold multiple pairs of shoes in height levels, one on top of the other --in fact in the videos shown: up to 4 levels of shoes.
Each side engages in four movements; ideally for effect, but not required to be simultaneous on each side of the overall structure. For brevity let's examine one side only henceforth.
will be defined here as a square, when viewed from above, that may occupy a "shoe column
." A "shoe column
" is defined as, and capable of holding up to 4 levels of shoes stacked above one another. A "simple" "column
" (not a "shoe column
") in this case is 4 "shoe columns
The principles discussed below should work for a storage device (again we're just looking at one side of the device when facing it) of x slots
wide, and y slots
deep. In this case x = 2 and y = 4, but x need not equal y, and each can be greater in value.
Assume there is a starting position where the back outer corner slot
(of either side, it doesn't matter) is vacant. In this situation the first movement is to push the front outer shoe column
back one slot. In so doing, the shoe column
in this slot
and the two behind it, will move one slot
back on the outer most column, and the front outer slot will become vacant.
Once this is complete, the font shoe column
in the inner column
must move to the just vacated outside front slot
, in turn vacating the front inner slot
. Next, the rear most shoe column
in the inner column
moves forward a slot, pushing the two shoe columns
in front of it forward, vacating the rear inner slot
. Finally, the rear most outer shoe column
moves one slot towards the inner column
, vacating the back outer slot and returning is to the starting postion.
Conceptually it's a child's puzzle with sliding pieces and 8 slots, 7 of which have content. Movement of the toy's slots can only be in a clock, or counter clockwise fashion.
The next hurdle to overcome is how to push shoe columns
with a device that once it's done with its pushing, returns to a starting position and waits for the other 3 moves of shoe columns
to occur before it repeats itself.
Enter the reciprocating, center rack and pinion:
This video is a simplified version of what's needed as the rack can't simply go back and forth constantly. Rather, it must effect its movement of a shoe column (and possible shoe columns in front of it,) put the center rack of the overall rack and pinion system here back to its starting position, and then wait for 3 more shoe column movement durations to occur before repeating, as each corner immediately (right side of the device counter-) clockwise takes its turn moving shoe columns like the aforementioned child's sliding puzzle.
This waiting period, while the other 3 movements occur is a product of the fact that the gears on either side of the rack in the attached video are ring segments..in other words they're not fully circular gears.
If it's easier, imagine them as full circles, but only toothed for 1/4 of their circumference. This means that only 1/4 of a gear's fully revolution is spent moving the rack.
Envision 4 of these reciprocating center rack and pinion devices in each corner of one side of the overall structure.
What this looks like is the rack in the front outer corner moves forward as the right gear's limited teeth segment engage, and then the its cneter rack moves back by the left gear. Meanwhile, while the gears in this rack and pinion spin, but engaged nothing on the toothless portions of their circumference, the reciprocating center rack and pinion device in the front inner column's right teeth engage to push the front inner shoe column to the outside, immediately thereafter returning its rack back to starting position while they, 1/4 cycle later than the first reciprocating center rack and pinion, spin to places in their gears that are toothless.
While this second reciprocating center rack and pinion in front inner column has its gears rotate around their toothless sections, (just as the first reciprocating center rack and pinion's gears also turn around toothless sections, 1/4 turn ahead), the 3rd reciprocating center rack and pinion in the back outer corner engages its right side teeth in the same fashion as the first two, pushing the rear outer shoe column
to the midline column
etc., followed by the 4th reciprocating center rack and pinion in the midline back engaging to move the midline column
one forward one slot
When this last of 4 reciprocating center rack and pinions completes movement of its center rack forward and back the first reciprocating center rack and pinion's right gear teeth engage to start the cycle again.
All these gears, 32 of them in the entire structure (16 on each side, 2 for each of 4 reciprocating center rack and pinions on each side) can feed off of one snaked around toothed belt run by a gear that's hand cranked and/or motorized.