Drill Powered Scooter Walks With Legs

[Izzy Swan] is a popular wood working YouTuber who recently fell in love with [Theo Jansen’s] kinetic art — the Strandbeest. Naturally, he had to make his own; but with his own flare of course.

If’ you’re not familiar, [Theo Jansen’s] Strandbeest is a walking kinetic sculpture, powered by wind. It’s inspired a Hamster Ball powered Strandbeest, some nice 3D printed ones, and even a paper craft version! Mechanically, it’s quite a marvel — his TED talk about them is fantastic.

When [Izzy] saw all those legs moving, he knew he had to recreate it — so he came up with this two legged version that pushes him around — kind of like a tricycle, but the back wheels are… legs? It’s an oddity for sure, but an impressive feat nonetheless. Not to mention he’s powering the whole thing using a little cordless drill…

Despite it looking like machined aluminum, it is in fact made of wood, though it does feature a metal gearbox using worm gears to transfer torque from the drill. We want to see a Segway version of this… we might have to make use of the laser cutter in the office…

[Thanks for the awesome tip Uminded!]

34 thoughts on “Drill Powered Scooter Walks With Legs

  1. Where is the flare? You said a flare! I watched the whole video. Not a single flare. No chaff. No countermeasures of any sort. What sort of fun is that? (Now, maybe the countermeasures from something that walks like a disabled cow would be in the form of patties…)

  2. I wonder if there’s any applications where Strandbeest legs work better than wheels. I’m not trying to say they’re pointless like some people are, I just wonder if they’re more practical for some circumstances.

    1. Hmm it looks like their ‘thing’ is low power requirement as they don’t actually lift anything besides the legs, they seem like they can be more stable at low speeds, they seems to be reasonably maneuverable in small spaces (haven’t seen a wheeled segway do a full turn on the spot, might be wrong).

      Maybe something like a heavy cargo crawler for manufacturing, like a mobile engine hoist? Something that can deftly maneuver large loads without jerk or slop. I get that it is probably usually done with castors or something but in this case you can clear cables and crap on the ground.
      Everything has a strengths and weaknesses, there’s bound to be applications for it.

      1. As cool as the Strandbeest mechanism is, I think Mechanum/omni wheels have the advantage for that – cables & crap are likely to be Murphy’d into the mechanism of the legs. I haven’t seen any effort to instrument the “toes” on the feet though…think of a system that wouldn’t step on something it wasn’t supposed to.

        1. Suppose you did sensor-ify the toes. What would you do with that information? You have no decisions to make, no degrees of freedom to change the trajectory of that foot.

          1. I don’t think Theo Jansen legs in particular are very practical – their trajectory is optimised for flatness at the bottom, and as a result their obstacle clearing ability is quite poor.

            However, if you look at the stuff Boston Dynamics have been working on, more sophisticated legs with multiple degrees of freedom are becoming more and more practical for places where wheels are not.

  3. Very cool looking machine! But it’s NOT a walking machine, it supports itself on wheels. The Cajun Crawler from the link above would be an example of a true walking machine.

  4. Does all the effort, makes and designs a clever mechanism, then makes the steering handlebars 5 inches too low..
    Anyway I wonder who will make an amusing artsy GIF from this eventually. I hope someone with talent comes through.

  5. It looks like a horses ass, no really! It seems to me that he put the cart before the horse in this case, he should really build a set of legs pulling a wagon of some sort.

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