Wind Powered Strandbeest Could Roam the Land Indefinitely

3d printed strandbeest

We have to admit, Strandbeests are one of our favorite mechanical inventions of recent years — many-legged, life-like mechanisms that walk around? Awesome. [Eric] wanted to design something really cool — so he decided to build a turbine attachment for [Theo Jansen's] Strandbeest — the AG5 & AG7 models specifically.

If you’re not familiar, the Strandbeest is a mechanical contraption that actually walks around. It’s been developed by [Theo Jansen] for years and has been built in many variations by other people over the years. [Theo] even gave a TED talk on it back in 2007.

The very idea of the Strandbeest is to have it move by itself with autonomy — no electronics allowed! [Theo] has designed a propeller attachment for one of his 3D printable Strandbeests to do this, but [Eric] wanted to take it a step further. He’s designed a more functional wind turbine that sits on top of the Strandbeest, allowing wind from any direction to cause it to walk.

What we really love about [Eric's] Instructable is that he’s gone through the entire design process, showing how he learned what he needed to know (he doesn’t have any kind of engineering background), and how he broke it down into smaller chunks to be more manageable. Just goes to show if you set your mind to something — you can do it!


  1. JeeCee says:

    To teach some Dutch to the HaD community: the plural of Strandbeest (which means “beach animal”) is Strandbeesten ;-)

  2. Caleb Kraft says:

    It is interesting that the kits were never offered with this since Theo himself modeled many of them with different methods of harnessing wind energy.

    • chuck says:

      Off subject- I love what you did with your living room! Why do we call it a ‘living room’ when most of them are just ‘passive consumption rooms’?
      (I hate Disqus!)

  3. gravatarnonsense says:

    To roam indefinitely it would require some way of repairing itself as it is a mechanical device it will suffer from wear and fail.

  4. BillM says:

    It’s always kind of bothered me that Theo always referred to the compressed air cylinders that powered his mobile sculptures as “wind energy.” Most of the press he’s gotten writes it up as “wind powered” which… isn’t quite true.

    • John says:

      How so? What is the difference between a pneumatic transmission and storrage system than an electric one more commonly used with wind energy systems?

      • BillM says:

        While “wind power” makes for a nice feeling and story, there’s a real difference between a breeze and a compressor on both aesthetic and practical levels.

    • aoeuidhtns- says:

      I was under the impression that the air was compressed by the beast itself.

    • alfie275 says:

      The air is compressed in the bottles using wind power, they’re just so that it can store up power.

      • BillM says:

        >The air is compressed in the bottles using wind power

        Have you seen that documented or demonstrated?

        • Span says:

          Check out the strandbeest website. He describes a system of bicycle pumps, plastic tubing, rubber seals and extending bones. Basically the pump increases the pressure in the bottles until it reaches a threshold that pushes an extendable bone fully out allowing air to flow through a hole/tube that would be covered up under low pressure. Once the pressure is released the seal shuts again and the wind resumes repressurizing the bottles. 100% wind power and not just tanks of compressed air.

  5. jacques says:

    Indefinitely, until it has to turn or climb.

  6. vonskippy says:

    “Could Roam the Land Indefinitely”

    Sure it can – as long as the land is flat, straight, completely free of even the tiniest of obstacles, and has a constant source of wind.

  7. krudd says:

    Man, a lot of haters here. Yes, it can’t turn or climb. They’re art projects, not science fiction fantasies. I also mean to imply that they’re real, while the sci-fi fantasies aren’t. For those who criticize this project – have you built something better? Does your robot do anything for longer than this?

  8. static says:

    Even in “flat” Kansas it will come across terrain that will be the end of it’s travel and probably it’s existence.

  9. technoman says:

    Get real. This in a cool idea. will it go indefinitely? probably not. But, the concept is interesting. Put it in the desert, some wide sand wheels, enough gearing to climb hills or dunes I and it might go a lot farther than one might expect.

  10. twdarkflame says:

    This things are eye-wateringly beautiful. I could watch those leg movements all day.

  11. Chris Tree says:

    It would be great to just release some “in the wild” and see where they end up. Big flat desert areas would be good and how about one wandering around on Mars?!

  12. ameyring says:

    What would be more efficient, this horizontal turbine or a windvane? The horizontal turbine can produce a lot of torque, but wind can push on the backs of the blades undesirably. Perhaps a windvane with step-up gearing could be at least as or more efficient if it’s not too top-heavy. Just wondering.

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