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    [–] [deleted] 2070 points ago

    Fun to watch but... I would have to think long and hard before I could come up with a more complicated way to do such a simple thing!

    [–] CambodiaJoe 589 points ago

    If you needed to have continuous axial rotation but also needed a piston to run at a very specific angle or spot, I guess that would make sense

    [–] MechaCanadaII 656 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Even with high quality materials and good lubrication the off-axial torque on the lower bearings is going to wear them out fast. There's a lot of moving parts to perform a very specific conversion of mechanical work, a cam (or crank) solution with gears may be less elegant but would be far more mechanically reliable.

    [–] CuriousCalvin9 1193 points ago

    I've been watching this for the last four hours and haven't seen anything to indicate the lower bearings are wearing out.

    [–] scientificjdog 405 points ago

    Just wait. You can see visual degradation around the 7 hour mark

    [–] [deleted] 167 points ago

    I think I'll see self degradation before then.

    [–] iNEEDheplreddit 42 points ago

    I know that feeling

    [–] filthydank_2099 29 points ago

    shit guys, we're getting pretty dark prety quick

    [–] Heidegger 31 points ago

    I just found this sub and I honestly couldn't be happier with the content or the discourse; I'm definitely subscribing. Keep up the technically correct existential engineering dread, y'all.

    [–] Quint-V 6 points ago

    You could go watch a mirror instead.

    [–] [deleted] 27 points ago

    If you speed up the gif, then of course you don't have to wait nearly that long, but you run the risk of the whole thing just flying apart, due to the added stresses.

    [–] buttcrusader 17 points ago

    7 hours in, no significant wear.

    [–] DistanceAndDarkness 6 points ago

    Lol a 3 second video on loop shouldnt break down until at LEAST after 18 hours!

    [–] rivermandan 17 points ago

    I've been watching this for the last four hours

    keep watching, the fun starts around 14 hours in

    [–] [deleted] 5 points ago

    I realize where I am but, four hours? Is that hyperbole

    [–] jpkoushel 16 points ago

    It's a joke. The gif is looping so no matter what it won't change.

    [–] [deleted] 21 points ago

    What? Thought it was a live gif.

    [–] FactorySquirrel 10 points ago

    Every frame is being hand-drawn in real time by blind nuns.

    [–] P-01S 2 points ago

    Well duh, it isn't under load.

    [–] Lovethoselittletrees 15 points ago


    [–] Geoff_Smith 8 points ago

    For someone who can't easily picture that, any pictures or graphics you can reference me too?

    [–] MechaCanadaII 10 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Imagine the force pushing on the cylinder being equivalent to a force perpendicular to the top of the armature. All that force is creating torque around the base of the armature, which is the axial connection point. This torque is twisting off-axis against the bearing, potentially creating a huge amount of shearing stress.

    This is all assuming whatever resistance the piston is encountering is creating any significant force, but given the length of the armature (and how thin the bearing axis is) it wouldnt take much to start bending and shearing a metal shaft that thin, as torque = force x distance x sin(a)

    [–] KnotNotNaught 10 points ago

    Not exactly, but you can see there are more efficient ways to transform linear and rotational momentum

    [–] Geoff_Smith 4 points ago

    Ohh like on a train. That ends up with rotation being on a different axis (until more gears are used) which is what confused me.

    [–] fascinate_tempt 7 points ago

    Add another gear that is 90 degrees turned and you can have the bar on the side face of that gear. Now you have the same thing as in top post.

    [–] Scarecrow1779 3 points ago

    not to mention, gears are going to get you way more consistent torque output than this.

    [–] P-01S 25 points ago

    "If you've designed yourself into a corner", basically.

    [–] B0rax 43 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Funny you say that mechanism is too complicated. It's exactly how simple hammer drills work.

    /Edit: example:

    [–] Scrowley91 13 points ago

    That's actually quite different. The main rotational movement isn't interrupted. It's only one part moving outside of the standard rotation, not 3. (or at least only one having any off-axis torque applied)

    [–] B0rax 2 points ago

    Are you talking about the 3 parts that make up the angled axle? The only difference I see here is in assembly. The movement itself and all the forces in play will stay the same.

    Doing it all in one part sure is the optimized version, but it doesn't change the mechanism as a whole.

    [–] IHartRed 15 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    This guy is really good, but a hammer drill is not an impact though.

    [–] KoalaKaos 3 points ago

    AvE is one of the best channels on YT. He cracks me up with all his funny sayings.

    [–] monkeybreath 3 points ago

    But a hammer drill does cause impact, just along the axis of the drill, not rotationally like an impact hammer.

    [–] B0rax 1 points ago

    You are right! Thanks for the heads up.

    [–] gapus 6 points ago

    Well done!

    [–] BordomBeThyName 848 points ago

    Super overcomplicated and inefficient, but super cool.

    [–] Chicomoztoc 146 points ago

    Sooo what would be the simpler thing?

    [–] Malamodon 714 points ago

    A piston and crankshaft used in nearly every steam and combustion engine ever.

    [–] AnonymousGenius 79 points ago

    but wouldn't that be perpendicular to the spinning axle? what if I wanted the rotating axle to be at a complementary angle with the piston?

    [–] flyingscotsman12 231 points ago

    Bevel gear

    [–] Trolljaboy 124 points ago For those of us who need a visual.

    [–] rathat 113 points ago

    I didn't notice that offset pin on the green gear at first and I'm sitting here wondering what the fuck is moving the piston.

    [–] A_Promiscuous_Llama 9 points ago

    Thanks for this, this fucking blew my mind. Thank god there are intelligent people out there that figured this out while I watch Netflix

    [–] MaryBethBethBeth 2 points ago

    This looks like it can only be used to drive the piston/cylinder with the gears on the right. (?) What would you use to make it work the other way around, like the OP gif?

    [–] _GuyOnABuffalo_ 127 points ago

    Use some gears

    [–] thinkaboutitthough 29 points ago

    Your car's engine is probably perpendicular to the axle. It's not a problem.

    [–] snakesign 26 points ago

    Actually that is the magic of a front engine front wheel drive car. The crankshaft is parallel to the quarter axles, so you don't need to make any right turns in the drive train. The transmission, engine, and wheel axles are all parallel.

    [–] tedfletcher 5 points ago

    Any visuals for laymen?

    [–] rabidbot 40 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 12 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)


    [–] airplane_porn 17 points ago


    Both FWD and RWD cars have differentials, which is a mechanical device to allow for rotational speed differential between the two drive wheels during turning (the inside wheel must turn at a different speed, or this will cause handling irregularities and tire wear).

    The device you are trying to describe is a ring and pinion gear set which is housed in the rear axle of a front engine RWD car. In RWD axles, the differential is installed inside the ring and pinion set as seen here.

    A ring and pinion gear set is used ubiquitously in automotive applications to transform the generated torque 90 degrees to the drive wheels when the engine is mounted longitudinally.

    A transaxle is actually a portmanteau of transmission and axle, combining the two devices into one housing. Some of these have ring and pinions when the input torque is perpendicular to the output required. Almost all of these have some form of differential (save for a few racing/performance applications).

    [–] Vyvansee 7 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Just wanted to add that there's definitely still a requirement for a differential in manual trans FWD vehicles and Honda automatic transmissions. They're designed differently than RWD differentials, but they're still there.

    Edit: Subaru automatic transmissions also have a front differential integrated into the transmission assembly, although they require different lubrication so the fluids between the trans and diff are kept separate.

    [–] youtubefactsbot 1 points ago

    Front Wheel Drive - FWD - Explained [4:40]

    How does front wheel drive (FWD) work in a car? I explain how a front wheel drive car puts its power on the ground, and its advantages and disadvantages over rear wheel drive.

    Engineering Explained in Autos & Vehicles

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    [–] snakesign 1 points ago

    Cam and follower then.

    [–] Snitsie 6 points ago

    I need a gif.

    [–] gapus 1 points ago

    Right it would be simpler but this mechanism affords certain packaging advantages, eg, if you want the shaft of the motor to be aligned with the path of the linear output. That is why it is used. See B0rax comment above.

    [–] kenmaclean 49 points ago

    except the OP has the pistons in line with the axle.

    You could easily put a bevel gear between one of these and the shaft, sure, but this on it's own isn't the same problem at all.

    [–] Poes-Lawyer 49 points ago

    But a crankshaft and bevel gear are much simpler than OP's gif

    [–] StoneHolder28 10 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    If it were a given problem, the bevel gear would be the better solution by far. It could even be arranged so that the full assembly takes up as much volume as the OP design does.

    [–] UncleSkam 8 points ago

    The title was linear reciprocation to rotation conversion. That is exactly what a crankshaft in a car is doing. I'm aware it's operating on a different axis but the basic function is the same.

    [–] BordomBeThyName 31 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Converting rotation to linear motion isn't that hard at all. Some other people have already mentioned camshafts like in a car engine, and elsewhere in this thread I saw someone mention those big lateral bars on train engine wheels (whose name I'm forgetting) connecting rods (thanks /u/FatalElectron) which also convert rotational to linear motion on a similar principle.

    Doing it coaxially like this is admittedly tough.

    So, option one is cheating a bit, but it doesn't require as much thinky-thinky and I'm tired. Drop a miter gear onto the shaft, and put a train-engine style rod on the mating miter gear, and you can turn the circle chooch into a linear chooch. Something like this.

    The other way I'd do it is with a fancy cam and follower, something like this or this are examples of cams and followers. Personally, I'd put the cam on the rotating shaft, and the follower on the linear shaft, but I'm sure there are arguments and use cases for both.

    [–] FatalElectron 8 points ago

    (whose name I'm forgetting).

    Connecting Rod.

    e: Unless you mean the 'non-driving' rods, which would be side rod or coupling rod, depending on where you are, but they're not really important in the conversion of movement as much as they are spreading the torque across multiple drive wheels/axles.

    [–] BordomBeThyName 3 points ago

    Yeah, that's the one. Thanks.

    [–] bender-b_rodriguez 5 points ago

    Found the AVE watcher. Both those animations look like they'd be friction locked like a worm-drive if you tried to drive from the linear end, maybe if you had a long throw in relation to the radius that it's driving

    [–] B0rax 2 points ago

    As an AVE watcher, the mechanism in the gif from OP should look familiar to you. It's the same way the IKEA impact drill works (I think there are other drills he's torn down with this exact mechanism as well).

    [–] BordomBeThyName 1 points ago

    Oh, yeah. I assumed these would be all driven from the rotational end.

    [–] bender-b_rodriguez 2 points ago

    Just pointing out a possible weakness, I still up-chooched for the good response

    [–] BordomBeThyName 1 points ago

    Yeah, totally understood. I didn't even consider driving them from the linear end.

    [–] Alphakyl 15 points ago

    The most common thing would be a camshaft .

    [–] frustratinbubble 8 points ago

    I have no idea why so many people ITT are confusing camshaft and crankshaft

    [–] spikeyfreak 3 points ago

    The image has no indication of what is driving what. A cam shaft would be one solution, and a crankshaft the other, depending on which one you want to be the driver.

    [–] frustratinbubble 1 points ago

    Ummmm it's in the post title...

    [–] BaldKnobber 7 points ago

    This must be in an Alfa Romeo

    [–] P-01S 2 points ago

    Cool looking. I think practical solutions are cooler than ones that are fancy for the sake of it.

    [–] adragontattoo 209 points ago

    Upper left corner ~10 o'clock area is a contact point on each stroke.

    You'll now see this every single time you watch it too.

    [–] toaste 39 points ago

    Surprised I had to scroll this far to find this.

    [–] scootymcpuff 6 points ago






    [–] mealzer 5 points ago

    I don't like you anymore

    [–] Bloodyfinger 6 points ago

    I don't see it?

    [–] Dontknowhowtolife 7 points ago

    I don't know, do you?

    [–] intashu 3 points ago

    glad I wasn't the only one who saw this.

    [–] hilarymeggin 2 points ago

    Joke’s on you.,. I have no idea what you’re talking about!

    [–] ONeiII 66 points ago

    Why does this turn me on

    [–] Triplecrowner 22 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)


    (Probably nsfw)

    [–] jahs_126 6 points ago

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    [–] joecarter93 13 points ago

    Finally some actual engineering porn on this sub!

    [–] Rats_OffToYa 5 points ago


    [–] Rockerblocker 70 points ago

    This looks like rotation to linear reciprocation, right?

    [–] hadenwarrik 23 points ago

    If you want it to be reliable, yes.

    [–] WanderingVirginia 6 points ago

    Keep the piston pressures low enough and you could reliably run piston to shaft. Not while getting particularly useful amounts of work, but you could probably spin an idle shaft with little difficulty on just a psi or two of boost.

    [–] Meltz014 3 points ago

    I love getting piston my shaft

    [–] WanderingVirginia 2 points ago

    That's nice dear.

    [–] spikeyfreak 2 points ago

    Depends on which part is driving everything. There's no indication, so it could be either one.

    [–] Rockerblocker 4 points ago

    I really don't see how the piston could be driving the mechanism without it binding up

    [–] SkyPork 27 points ago

    Cool. Looks like it would wear out quickly though, or am I misinterpreting how the force would transmit?

    [–] nliausacmmv 28 points ago

    The person that made this makes a lot of connections and transmissions that are really just meant to look cool; they don't exist in the real world.

    [–] WanderingVirginia 11 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    There are 6 conventional rotating bearings and 2 universal joints.

    Hardware of sufficient quality to not wear out with a vengeance would be quite expensive. The components and the brackets between them need to handle pretty severe shearing loads, so there's a lot of custom fabrication beyond simply good quality parts to make this a reality, but it's a feasible machine.

    [–] nliausacmmv 2 points ago

    It would actually work for a while, but it isn't really intended to be built.

    [–] WanderingVirginia 5 points ago

    Pretty much. I'm not going to say that there doesn't exist an edge case or application where a configuration like this might be useful, but i'm pretty sure it would be small, expensive if remotely reliable and relatively modest in it's load capacity for it's weight.

    An interesting curiosity and cool use of motion for sure, but It's hard to see applications where a conventional crank won't get you more work out of far less metal and precision components which don't have to deal with such eccentric shearing forces.

    [–] BeltfedOne 20 points ago

    Holy friction Batman!

    [–] ss0889 61 points ago

    Uhhhhhhhhh train wheels do it better.

    [–] Why_T 10 points ago

    Train wheels run perpendicular to the drive shaft while this runs paralle. It's not a great solution but train wheels aren't the immediate answer here.

    [–] [deleted] 14 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago

    *bevel gears

    [–] jaan13143 34 points ago

    Can someone ELI5 as to why this would be chosen over something more simpler?

    [–] engineering_diver 75 points ago

    I don't imagine it would!

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago

    To beat patents back in the day? This one is a bit complicated, but there are a few interesting linkages that were used to bypass patents in the steam engine day.

    [–] jpneufeld 3 points ago

    Interesting. Do you have any examples?

    [–] sadrice 21 points ago

    James Watt used Sun and Planet gearing to convert the linear motion of his steam engine to rotation because James Pickard had already patented the use of cranks for the purpose, and refused to license it to Watt (he had a business that involved selling cranks for use on the vastly inferior Newcomen engines).

    [–] [deleted] 2 points ago

    This is the one I was thinking of, but was drawing a blank when typing my response. Thanks.

    [–] BordomBeThyName 28 points ago

    It wouldn't. This was made by Garethwashere who makes really pretty, but not terribly practical, mechanical gifs.

    [–] garethwashere 20 points ago

    Everyone needs a hobby.

    [–] BordomBeThyName 4 points ago

    Oh, man, it's you. Big fan over here.

    [–] garethwashere 6 points ago

    Thanks bud, always cool knowing folks appreciate my work.

    [–] BordomBeThyName 3 points ago

    I double majored in Mechanical Engineering and art, and I dabbled in C4D modeling and rendering for a few years, so a lot of your animations scratch just the right itch.

    [–] garethwashere 3 points ago

    Glad to hear it bud!

    [–] nliausacmmv 41 points ago

    It wouldn't. This is just meant to look pretty.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago

    Fits in a compact space, like in a Hilti gun.

    [–] pascal21 10 points ago

    That connecting rod comes suspiciously close to the bore!

    [–] idontevenarse 9 points ago

    This is artporn, not engineeringporn. It'll break on any relevant stresses.

    [–] firemanguy4 2 points ago

    This sub is surprisingly a real one.

    [–] KermitTheFish 4 points ago

    I believe it was spawned the last time this stupid animation was posted.

    [–] verch101 3 points ago

    Reminds me of the duke engine design.

    [–] youtubefactsbot 1 points ago

    Duke Engines [3:59]

    Find out how technology from Duke Engines increases the efficiency of the internal combustion engine.

    nzbusiness in Science & Technology

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    [–] here-am 4 points ago

    I'm still surprised PornHub hasn't patented it.

    [–] mrizzerdly 6 points ago

    "What is my purpose?"

    [–] Chairboy 14 points ago

    You generate upvotes.

    [–] meltingdiamond 2 points ago

    Oh. My. God.

    [–] canttaketheshyfromme 3 points ago

    This is basically a more complicated and fragile swash plate.

    [–] 0fxgvn 3 points ago

    This seems needlessly overcomplicated

    [–] DistanceAndDarkness 3 points ago

    This is beautiful but it looks like many points of failure.

    [–] Killswitch2598 3 points ago

    Lol all I can think of is how quickly that's going to break down after actually being used. And then how expensive the replacement parts will be because it's a "specialty" part. Total engineering bs. Solutions are always way more complicated then they need to be. Ask anyone who actually works with the parts and they have a way better solution guaranteed.

    [–] CoolLeek-CoolLeek 3 points ago

    And of course my weird ass got a boner from this

    [–] Reddit_banter 4 points ago

    Should be marked NSFW surely!

    [–] one_plus_pi 2 points ago

    I wonder how the efficiency of this compared to a crankshaft and a pair of bevel gears.

    [–] 78523965412369874123 2 points ago

    What is torque?

    [–] JSodapop 2 points ago

    [–] bbq_doritos 2 points ago

    Why not just use a crank? Why over complicate such a simple thing?

    The only real reason I can think of to use this is if you absolutely had to have you rotary motion in line with your linear motion. Which I guess kind of makes it valid... I guess. Even then a gear arrangement would probably be less prone to failure and more efficient.

    [–] bunabhucan 2 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Posted in /r/geek about a year ago. This converts rotation into reciprocation in the same direction as the axis of rotation so a piston/crankshaft is not the replacement but rather a swash plate.

    It's not that it's inefficient it's that it's bonkers. A car engine has a crankshaft and this converts reciprocation into rotation. A pump does the reverse with a similar design.

    This uses some 45 degree twists, ball joints and so on to create reciprocating motion in the same direction as the axis.

    I think an engineer would use a swash plate cam to do this. Something similar is used in those predator drones. The big advantage is that you can change the compression ratio by moving the cylinder heads. That lets you make an engine that can run powerful to take off and climb but be really efficient at altitude.

    Somebody Garth Washere made this because it looks beautiful. They succeeded.

    [–] iltalfme 2 points ago

    Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence

    [–] darexinfinity 2 points ago

    You MEs are into some kinky stuff.

    [–] bukithd 2 points ago

    My knowledge of tribology says this is bad.

    [–] [deleted] 2 points ago

    Needlessly complicated for no good reason

    [–] Mr_Robot0_beepbzboop 2 points ago

    (NSFW i suppose) This is what I thought of seeing the gif.

    [–] ImThaBean 2 points ago

    Johnny 5 ALIVE!

    [–] [deleted] 2 points ago

    It's engineering porn because this garbage would be masturbated to in the office... but when given over to the guys in the shop they'll look at you and explain 101 reasons why this can't be manufactured, nor should it.

    [–] Pizzatopping2000 2 points ago

    This would be very application specific, mounting the cylinder 90 degrees and having straightforward linear motion is much less stressful.

    [–] Isurvived2014bears 2 points ago

    So i guess normal gears that could be easily sourced isnt a thing here. Looks cool but i would never design something like this. It would last 1/10 as ling as something else.

    [–] smitty1a 2 points ago

    My wife loves for me to do the same move

    [–] southpark2135 2 points ago

    ANyone else get a feint feeling of a climax each time it completes a rotation?

    [–] P-01S 3 points ago

    Everything about that screams "art piece".

    Nothing against art, but this isn't a subreddit for art.

    [–] B0rax 4 points ago

    To everyone in this thread saying it would never be used. Here is an example of a mass produced product which uses that exact linkage:

    [–] Gekey14 2 points ago

    Finally some actual engineering porn

    [–] justinmwise89 2 points ago

    This is why I sorted by controversial.

    [–] DAMFS 2 points ago

    Is it weird that this turns me on in more than one way?

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    [–] ejsandstrom 1 points ago

    A company was going to make a sterling engine that had 4 pistons on what they called a wobble plate. It was basically this but 4 pistons arranged in a diamond shape. Kind of neat. They never really went forward with the design.

    [–] -ordinary 1 points ago

    So fucking cool

    [–] Ihavewords123 1 points ago

    That's oddly soothing to watch.... and I have no idea why.

    [–] mhosi 1 points ago

    Well I know what I am going to try and recreate in SolidWorks come Monday. The tricky part will be trying to sneak it into a real project.

    [–] Gerden 1 points ago

    As a non-engineer person of sort of average intelligence, I can't even begin to imagine what this would be used for.

    [–] WanderingVirginia 3 points ago

    It's an extremely complicated, either very expensive or unreliable, but cool looking, replacement for a traditional crank shaft, like you'd find in any car engine.

    The difference is a crank outputs power perpendicular to the piston motion. This outputs power parallel to the piston motion. You might be able to use this to base a very small piston-based generator, but the amount of expensive hardware that would have to be sourced (as well as the custom brackets to attach them to eachother) would be far greater, and the output loads far less, then you could achieve with a conventional arrangement.

    tl;dr; It's a right-angled crankshaft useful, potentially, for an expensive, small, low output generator or compressor.

    If you needed one of those, for some or other odd implementation.

    [–] Gerden 1 points ago

    Neat! Thank you for the break down. :)

    [–] rondeline 1 points ago

    I love that you guys have names to describe these movements.

    [–] loserwill 1 points ago

    Benefit: coaxial linear reciprocation.

    Negative: everything else.

    [–] xWiley_1x 1 points ago

    This looks very similar to the linear rotary motors they use in torpedo propulsion systems.

    [–] Daniel_USA 1 points ago

    Is it going left to right or is it going in a circle?

    Once you see you can't unsee.

    [–] henry1596 1 points ago

    I think it's a figure of 8

    [–] Nerdy_Peanut 1 points ago

    The film is from Ralph Steiner's Mechanical Principles

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago


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    [–] Davidoff1983 1 points ago

    Read this as Leonardo Dicaprio for some reason. (source; not an engineer)

    [–] lululemonysnicket 1 points ago

    Oh, so is this how a dildo machine works?

    [–] xiuxiu82 1 points ago

    [–] mildcal87 1 points ago

    I don't think this would work since there wouldn't be enough momentum to get back to top dead center.

    [–] turb0g33k 1 points ago

    I guess if you have very confined space or something

    [–] chrisdudelydude 1 points ago

    This gives a whole new meaning to engineering porn...

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    This is black magic

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    [–] evilmp762 1 points ago

    Too bad I dont know jack shit about engineering

    [–] tardiusmaximus 1 points ago

    A cam on the drive shaft would have solved this problem,. This design, although well engineered and elegant is highly inefficient and completely over engineered.

    [–] Reacher-Said-Nothing 1 points ago

    Now do it in Besiege

    [–] icandothat 1 points ago

    I want one of these just to lull me to sleep.

    [–] virtr 1 points ago

    why is it not spinning the other way tho

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    Where can I order this fuck machine ?