Hey all, its been a while and I think I finally came up with the mechanism to "power" the damn thing. I was ready to give up but I just wanted to see this project through. Anyway, I took a look at one of those cheap hand crank flashlights and after some thinking I managed to come up with a neat solution that does exactly what I want: rotate the gears as you crank it. I wont be sharing the files since its a work in progress still.
Now I'm clueless when it comes to gears, gear ratios and other stuff so I just eyeballed everything and after printing, it seems to work fine.
I guess its time to either find a suitable motor or make one from scratch, although I might make a housing for a stepper motor since that worked last time. We'll see.
I'd also like to say that theres nothing wrong with mothballing projects and in my case, learning new things to get those projects done years later.
Anyways, happy New Year 2023 and I'll see you guys around!