Personal Flight From The Steam Age

From a small-sized backpack these wings slowly grow to full size in a Steampunk costume that hearkens back to DaVinci flight designs.

The mechanism that unfolds the wings was fashioned from parts of a baby gate and an old back massager. The massager features a pair of orbs that are meant to move slowly up and down your back. This is what accounts for the slow unfurling of the wings. After a bit of prototyping with Popsicle sticks [Dannok] and his daughter figured out the best arrangement for the pivoting skeleton. From there, the slats from the baby-gate were used to build the frame, then covered with fabric to finish the wing element for this Halloween costume.

A 12 volt gel battery powers the device, which is activated with a brass pull-chain meant for a light fixture. Once full extended, as seen above, the wingspan is eight feet. Don’t miss the pair of videos we’ve embedded after the break which show the workings of the device.

[vimeo w=470]

[vimeo w=470]

22 thoughts on “Personal Flight From The Steam Age

  1. The wings open too slowly. I’d try using compressed air, a couple of small solenoid valves, and an air cylinder for a much faster/more impressive looking mechanism (plus you get the sound effects from the air cylinder).

    Regardless, it’s pretty cool looking.

  2. A very nice and well-thought-out build.

    Just one minor concern though… If I’m being chased towards the edge of a cliff by angry natives, I’d really prefer a set of wings that unfurls a wee bit faster.

    That aside, it is still a very nice and well-thought-out build!

  3. Really nice build. Are you going to show it at some steam punk festival?
    By the way, that Massager looks like a great cheap linear actuator for a milling machine for example. Any words on if this is possible or not?

  4. With due respect to DaVinci, he may have pinched the basic idea from Icarus’ dad,but getting rid of the fatal bee’s wax design flaw. I believe it was on instructables where I seen a similar build. As recall it was manual, and deployed much faster. Not intending to derided this build in any manner.

  5. Some kind os spring tension system would deploy the wings much faster, but you couldn’t automaticly retract them, so this is a good compromise between speed and convienence.

  6. Great re-use of a device. The use of the massage chair orbs is a fantastic idea. Seeing those orbs being used made me think of other great uses for them.

    Possibilities: robotics, remote camera PTZ, automated blinds/shades, movie projector screen automation.

    Great Steampunk build

  7. I love the build. Great job man. Your daughter pulled the steam-punk girl look off to a tee. I would love to have seen the wings deploy faster (and retract) but honestly this still rocks no matter how fast the wings deploy.

    1. Firstly you have crazyfuckneyes.
      Secondly the stretched vertical configuration isn’t seen often so I guess kudos for being somewhat more original in your effort to do the same things as everyone else.

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