MakerFaire K.C.: Incredible Wasp Wings

First off let me say that the Redbull contest has consumed ALL of my time and I haven’t been able to get these Makerfaire coverage posts out as quickly as I’d hoped. Please be patient, there are several more to come I promise.

As I was walking around, I glanced up and saw a really cool set of wasp wings on a mannequin flapping away. The motion was quite nice, but I was really blown away when they folded down to a different position when not in use. I managed to track down the creator at the even and asked him some questions.

[Jordy] was commissioned to build these as part of a costume. He started by just googling ornithopter designs and ended up coming up with a rather nice contraption. Many of the bits are 3d printed specifically to his needs, including the drive gears. This must have saved tons of time and effort. As you can see in the video after the break, the motion is really nice and the fact that they fold down is really cool.

looks like makerbot got some good footage!

When I asked him what difficulties he had run into, I could tell there had been several. One example is that the night before the event, the servo which automatically raises and lowers the wings failed to do its job. He quickly rigged up a strap that allows him to manually pull them into position. I noticed he also had a flex sensor on his finger for manually making the wings flap, though it appeared to be disabled. I’d have to say that [Jordy] did an amazing job and I can’t wait to see what will come out of further revisions of the design.

16 thoughts on “MakerFaire K.C.: Incredible Wasp Wings

  1. I saw that guy while I was there. I was waiting in line for a hotdog and he just shows up and starts flapping his wings. Then he whipped out his ocarina and started playing Zelda music. True story.

  2. “As you can see in the video after the break, the motion is really nice and the fact that they fold down is really cool.”

    2 minutes of video and 0.012μS of the wings moving. No, you can’t see the motion in the video.

  3. I would have made the wings out of a lighter/coarser mesh. Since they don’t actually have to move air, they’d be easier to move if they didn’t, plus they’d look more “gossamer-y” :D

    Pretty cool mechanism, though.

    1. I agree that I should make the wings out o a lighter/coarser mesh. I’ve looked around at the local fabric stores and haven’t found anything that would work. These wings are made out of nylon stockings and we planned on stretching them out more, but I didn’t have enough time before MF to make the proper wing structure.

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