Hamster Powered Strandbeest


Gakken magazine featured a miniature wind-powered Strandbeest recently, converting it to run on everything from rubber bands to solar power. [Crabfu] thought it would be worthwhile to hack the Strandbeest kit that shipped with the magazine as well, so he started to brainstorm.  Well-known for his steam powered hacks previously featured here, he did originally consider adding a steam plant to the walker.  In the end, he scrapped that idea due to concerns about heat and weight.  Thinking about it further he settled on something he considered ridiculous, even stupid: A hamster powered Strandbeest.

[Crabfu] added a few components including a hamster ball and a simple chain drive from a Meccano building set before testing the device with a toy train as the power source.  Once he was certain that he had the proper gear ratio set, in went a friend’s hamster.  The device worked wonderfully, much to the delight of his nieces, as you can see in the video on his site.

22 thoughts on “Hamster Powered Strandbeest

  1. That cat was not impressed :P. In the video they said the hamster was turning (sort of). I wonder how hard it would be to add a few more chains and gears an allow control of each of the legs individually so that turning would actually be possible.

  2. Awesome!
    I’d like to see life support systems added to the hamstermech :). In other words, mount the “drive core” inside a proper hamster cage with water, feed, etc, on top of the strandbeest.

  3. @mike. yeah it wouldnt be hard to change the gearing, but you dont want to make it too hard for the hamster, otherwise ‘princess’ would get tired.

    I wonder if there is a ‘manual’ way for the hamster to turn it.

  4. It wouldn’t be hard to calculate the maximum torque available from the hamster. You’d just multiply Princess’ weight by the radius of the ball by the sine of the angle between Princess and vertical.

    I don’t think the limitation is the endurance of the hamster, but rather its weight and the radius of the ball.

  5. You could make it turn by having 2 of them next to eachother and proportionally switching the drive between them.
    How that would translate to the hamster-control I do not know, but I think you might need a fat hamster.

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