My background is in the visual arts. I'm constructing a machine to make part of my job easier. Given a power source that rotates in only one direction, I'm looking to move an object back and forth with it.
I first considered an Arduino sketch, and a little 12V. DC motor. This is problematic in that the power source is manually controlled, and it needs to remain so due to the relative fragility of the material this machine processes. My hand can feel the slight resistance that precedes material failure and react even before I think about it. I'm not aware of a sensor that could do that.
I've also considered using levers at either end of an ordinary threaded steel rod with a triple gear system at one end; a driver, an idler, and a driven gear for lack of better names. The driver gear would be connected to the power source by a pair of pulleys, and a belt, while the driven gear would change rotational directions depending on the position of the idler. I haven't abandoned that idea.
I was using a ratcheting screwdriver today, and thought the bi-directional grooved shaft & it's pawl might be a more elegant way to accomplish the same back and forth motion. It could be made of nylon, steel, or stainless, but I'm having trouble sourcing either parts or any research material due to my nomenclature deficit.
If you know it, would you please be so kind as to pass along the name of that shaft? If you also happen to know the name of an outfit(s) who manufactures, or retails these parts, I'd be much obliged to know that as well. Thank you in advance.