Arguably our best find at Bay Area Maker Faire this year was the Tin Spider built by [Scott Parenteau]. He constructed the 13-foot tall vehicle to take with him on his very first trip to Burning Man back in 2012. There’s very little information available online so we were excited that [Scott] spent some time speaking with us on Saturday.
The Tin Spider was inspired by the work of two inventors: [Theo Jansen] and [Buckminster Fuller]. The latter is known for his work with geodesic domes which makes up the cockpit of this vehicle. The former is the creator of Strandbeest, a legged kinetic sculpture well-known by our regular readers.
The dome has changed quite a bit since this 2012 video was recorded. [Scott] added an elevator which drops the pilot’s chair down to ground level — replacing the single-column ladder of the original build. Acrylic panels have also been added to increase the pilot’s visibility. [Scott] tells us that it breaks down into manageable parts and can be easily transported on a flatbed truck. The setup process can occupy almost a full day but is greatly simplified if assembled on very level ground.
The Robotic House
As if that wasn’t enough, [Scott] was showing off a second major build as well. His Robotic house is inspired by [Buckminster Fuller’s] ideas of efficient, automated, and easy to clean living spaces. Unfortunately we didn’t photograph the sparse insides, but there is very little to see. The back wall is a flat panel that can be folded down into seating, and the floor is a drain assembly for showering and cleaning the module. But don’t forget, this is robotic. Enter the pod and [Scott’s] fabricated gearing will rotate the it so you are laying flat. There is even some roll control to ensure this 2-person unit doesn’t cause you to sleep on top of your companion. The Robot House is demonstrated in the second portion of our video above.