Tentacles And Phalanges Made From Drinking Straws


He human hand is one of the most impressive pieces of machinery – biological, mechanical, or otherwise – that you’ll ever lay eyes on.  With two dozen degrees of freedom, the hand can gently caress the most fragile flower petal without bruising it, or beat a hammer into an anvil with tremendous force. Simulating the human hand, however, is quite a challenge that requires dozens of servos and complex mechanical linkages. [Tomdf] over on Instructables is able to create hands, tentacles, and other weird biological contraptions using spring-loaded drinking straws and custom-made 3d printed joints.

[Tomdf] got the idea for drinking straw phalanges after seeing a few 3D printed drinking straw connectors meant to be used for creating 3D objects out of disposable plastic tubes. After designing a new spring-loaded joint for drinking straws, [Tomdf] is able to add a few lengths of thread to serve as ligaments to control the segments of drinking straws. It’s a similar setup to the horrible demon spawn we saw at Maker Faire last year, but far more extendable for any project that might pop into your head.

You can check out the drinking straw tentacles in action after the break.

8 thoughts on “Tentacles And Phalanges Made From Drinking Straws

  1. Curses we have competition!
    Easton Lachappelle and I are working on a 3D printed robotic hand/arm robot at the moment.
    Neat Idea though. I’d seen the straw connectors before and had been working on spring joints, but hadn’t thought to connect the two.

  2. I love the videos. The hinges are definitely awesome but you can get much of the same effect by cutting a notch in the straw. The remaining material will serve as both a hinge and a spring. That’s the basis of the Science Buddies project I posted there last year and some kids have reported great success with it. If you do decide to sell the hinges, I’d love to add that information to the site.

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