Funny to see this post show up --- I've actually tinkered with this idea years ago. Here's what I learned:
- The idea of a motor like the 12v wiper assembly to push/pull on the hammock only works when it's in sync with the swing of the hammock, and that's not very often! The best luck I had with this was using a bungee to connect the cam to the hammock, so that out-of-sync pulls didn't really stop the natural swinging motion. Not a winner in my opinion.
- The ultimate solution, I believe, is a system that senses when the hammock reaches one side of its swing, and then pushes or pulls it the opposite direction. It would then wait until the hammock swings back and trips the sensor, so it can give another push or pull. This idea would allow for speed differences due to weight, swing distance, etc.
If I was going to fab-up one of these systems (and now that you've got me thinking, I might just have to work on it ...) I'd try to build a small battery powered box that would sit on the ground beside the hammock, maybe staked down or anchored to a tree about 4 or 5' away. A line coming from the box would hook to the center of the hammock. When the hammock swings away from the box, the line gets tight, pulling on a switch that tells the motor to give a tug on the line. I think it would only need to pull the line about 6" to effectively keep up the momentum, as long as it it timed correctly. Maybe use a short piece of shock cord or bungee on one end of the line to smooth out the tug.
Just my $.02 for what it's worth --- That and some more change will buy me a senior coffee at McD's in a few years
I am no physics expert, but I bet something can be made from an old motorized baby swing chair rocker, specifically the ones with the chair hanging from the rocker assembly from a single point. The low voltage motor and assembly looks like it can do the motions needed for rocking a hammock with minor modifications.
I can post pics later if I haven't given a good enough description.
Interesting to see what people here will inevitably come up with!
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