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Hui machine

Hui machine


Mini-Magnum ice cream stick; 3X12 screw; stick (spruce or beech) approx. 200/12/12mm; dowels measuring approx. 100/8mm; 20 cm string; drilling machine + 3mm and 1.5mm drill head; suitable screwdriver; sand paper; file/woodcarving knife; ruler or template


A 3mm hole is drilled into the centre of the ice-cream stick and a hole is drilled into the 20cm stick and dowel 1 cm from the end of each (the string will be threaded through these holes later). Furthermore, a 1.5mm hole is drilled into the middle of the front side so that it is easier to insert the screw. This is mainly required for hardwood rods and not so much for e.g. softer materials like spruce. Then, on the edge of the rod make pencil marks approximately 1 cm apart (use a ruler or a template). Then using a file or a woodcarving knife, file the marks until you have notches no more than 5mm big. In doing so you create a bumpy surface over which the rounded dowel rods can then be rubbed. All the edges are then broken down, smoothed using sand paper, and the ice-cream stick is screwed on at one end to act as a propeller; it should be loose enough to turn. Then tie the dowel to the stick using the string, once all this is done, your ready to go: rubbing the dowel over the notches and exclaiming „Hui!” causes the propeller to move- first clockwise to the right and then by saying „Hui!” again, to the left. How?

This is a physical occurrence that I myself don’t understand’ apart from that it works. Whilst all the spectators are spellbound watching the propeller, we rub the upper surface with both the thumb and dowel, then after exclaiming „Hui!”, rub the underneath of the stick using the index finger. This causes a) the propeller to rotate b) it to change direction. Without rubbing the surfaces, the propeller remains lax ;-) To get this right you have to practice a little. However it brings life and soul to a party e.g. as a birthday present- everyone tries it, no one can do it – and by the end of the party the man / woman - after some proud intermittent demonstrations with a lot of showing off ;-) lets them in on the secret.

Is best made in a Catholic Youth group session where an appropriate number of tools are available.
Author: Heiner Häcker

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