How to increase friction in metal ball+plates joints?
January 7, 2012 7:24 PM Subscribe
Chemists, Engineers, Tinkerers, and Adhesion experts of MeFi: Is there some sticky substance I can put in these metal ball+plates joints that will do the opposite of lubricating them -- increasing the friction between the surfaces? This is for a slightly nicer (chrome) version of this lamp
that I just got (new in box) at a flea market.
posted by amtho to Science & Nature (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The thing is mainly metal rods (the robot limb sections) with small metal balls on the ends. These ends are joined by having pairs - the ends of adjacent sections - sandwiched between two small metal plates, which are then held together by means of a single screw per joint (tension adjustable with an allen wrench).
So, it works better than I'd think, but I'd like it to be a little stiffer. I think it's higher quality than Amazon's Holmes model is (mine is Portfolio brand), but I can still see a lot of potential for improvement.
My question is this: is there some kind of sticky substance I can use that will make the interface between the metal balls and the plates have a higher coefficient of friction, so that the screws don't have to be quite so tight, but the whole thing will still keep its form?
I want to re-position it at will, too, so just using some kind of glue or epoxy doesn't seem a good alternative.
I know that if this were plumbing joints, I could use something like teflon tape; is there a coating I can put on the metal balls and/or plates to make them more grippy? Post-it-note-type adhesive?
I believe I can completely disassemble the joints if necessary to mess with the metal. However, I can't find any other lamps like this one after searching for the model number, so I can't afford to experiment too much.
I tried looking up info about adhesives, and re-discovered the "how to stick X to Y" web site, but since I want to re-position stuff, this doesn't quite fit. I'm not sure how even to search for what I want.
Any ideas, engineers of Metafilter?