Leonardo’s Perpetual Motion Machines
Leonardo’s investigations into the possibility of perpetual motion were very thorough and scientific compared to the standards of his time. He has two pages of notes with several designs showing possible perpetual motion machines. Please note: Our models have now been redesigned and are now completely transparent as shown in the image below –
There are 4 completed designs in total, all of which both beautiful, well thought out and ingenious. Three of these designs can be purchased from this website only for 60$ – please note that models of these machines are available nowhere else in the world. Below you will find explanations of each individual design and at the bottom of this page you will find a video showing how they were proposed to work compared to how they actually work in reality and how Leonardo understood that they could not work.
In the image below i have superimposed 3d renderings of the completed designs over leonardo’s original drawing, they will each be examined in more detail further down the page –
Leonardo’s Perpetual Motion Designs
Leonardo’s first design is a simple overbalanced wheel. In this design the weight of the ball bearings within the machine will always shift the center of gravity of the wheel away from the centerpoint, thereby allowing continuous rotation. The design has 4 tracks in total, each with its own ball bearing running within it. This can be seen in the images below and will be shown in operation in the video further down the page.
His second design incorporates levers and a pawl and rachet system into the overbalanced wheel. The design of the central hub of the wheel is such that the levers are held in a controlled position throughout the rotation of the wheel. The pawl and ratchet system ensures that the wheel can only rotate counter-clockwise as seen from the images below. This can be seen in the images below and will be shown in operation in the video at the bottom of the page.
His third, and possibly most elegant design, is for another overbalanced wheel. This design has twelve tracks in total with a ball bearing in each. Once again the center of gravity in constantly shifted by the movement of the balls along the curved tracks during the rotation of the wheel. This design can be seen in the images below and will be shown in operation in the video at the end of the page.
In my opinion, his fourth design is a masterpiece of mechanical engineering and conceptual design. It is almost too difficult to explain how it works using words, instead i will simply add some images of it and allow you to watch the video just below if you have not seen it already – the fourth machine can be seen at 3 minutes 22 seconds. You may have noticed that this model is missing from our set, to be honest the simple reason why is that we could not manufacture this model without acquiring a 5 axis CNC machine – how someone could design this machine in their head is beyond comprehension, the man was a genius of the highest order.
Leonardo decided against investigating perpetual motion any further after he wrote (in mirror writing) beside the designs – “for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction” (the machines will not work). That quote is also Isaac Newtons Third Law of Motion, 200 years before Newton was born!!!
Below is a video showing the actual models in operation. Obviously these are not real perpetual motion machines but they are each beautiful concepts. These beautiful models can be purchased through the link just below the video for just 60US$ –