Picture of Anomalocaris inspired undulating mechanism
This instructable covers the making of an undulating mechanism.
Just a thingy that you can turn and it moves in a wavy way.

Initially it started as a try to make an Anomalocaris:

But with six wings
That proved to be a bit unfeasible with just paperclips.
However the end result is very similar and the movement still looks quite good (especially that spine).
And it turns surprisingly smooth for a paperclip mechanism.

There are some things done that reduced the 'goodness' but I will point them out later.

Just, if somebody tries something similar, just make it bigger than this one, that's the main advice.

Step 1: Materials used

Materials used:

-Different paper clips:
A lot of smaller, easy to bend ones.
A couple of strong, hard to bend ones.
-Thick plastic (whiteboard) marker

-Some discardable ballpoint pens.

-A flexible, plastic ruler. (often given as advertisement).

-An even more flexible, very flat (almost paper thin), small plastic ruler. (also advertisment).

-rubber band

-some twine

Tools used:

-lots of glue

-Soldering Iron (but can be replaced by whatever can fix two wires together (solder is just very fast and easy)

-Needle nose pliers (or sust fine pliers). One is necessary but a second one is highly recommended.

-Pointy object to make a fine hole in plastic.

-Perforator to cut small plastic circles (out of the small ruler).

-Whatever helps.
Alderin1 year ago
Very cool! Makes me ponder this as an Radio Controlled Blimp motion system. Two motors, one for each side of the blimp, running a set of undulating 'wing'... would make for a very cool indoor RC creature!
ynze2 years ago
Owwww, wonderful!
vincent75202 years ago
Awesome !…
Still your too modest.
You're not "just a student in physics" but an inventor of life movements … a way of saying you're next to God ! ;D

Lot of fun and thanks for posting !…
Sparticles (author)  vincent75202 years ago
From memebase (know your meme)
damianzuch2 years ago
Wow, I'm very excited to see this project! I wanted to build a wind-powered kinetic machine and was trying to figure out the mechanism to move a puppet Manta ray- you have it here. If you have any additional thoughts or adjustments to your design I'd love to hear them, I'm hoping to start building soon. (For the crankshaft I was thinking of using offset discs along the shaft to keep the shaft straighter?). Anyway, thank you, this is fantastic!!
Sparticles (author)  damianzuch2 years ago
That's a great Idea!
All my thoughts are in the instructable. I've explained some of the problems I had, so they can be avoided. (e.g make sure you connect the moving rod to a good spot on the wings (because of leverage => good movement). And if you do multiple wings and you want to connect them to make one large undulating wing, watch out that it isn't too stiff as was the case with me.

I had multiple offset discs too, but they didn't all fit. The shaft was small and rigid enough to function without them.

Good luck!
Let me know how it turns out!

Tomdf2 years ago
Check this out! I saw this video today and was instantly reminded of your project. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di91H_Twqww&feature=related
Sparticles (author)  Tomdf2 years ago
Yes, indeed !
I've looked to Theo Jansen's strandbeesten to see how it works, but the same mechanism would not have worked here.

Awesome that you've remembered this. (Cool to know that my instructable stays active in the subconsciousness of other people)
FrodoandSam2 years ago
O. M. G. ...
Tomdf2 years ago
It might not be ready to swim yet, but I think this looks really cool. This concept would make a pretty sick kinetic sculpture.
rimar20002 years ago
What a good work you have done!

Maybe the plastic wings added in step 12 are too tight, it would be the reason to its stiffness. Try leaving a wave between a rod and the following. That will allow better movement.
Sparticles (author)  rimar20002 years ago
I have just removed them and now there is only a very thin glue membrane left. It moves more fluent.
Later today I will add an other animation of the wing movement.
nnygamer2 years ago
It reminds me of the power sails used by Theo Jansen on his beach roaming Strandbeests
Sparticles (author)  nnygamer2 years ago
Yes, I've seen that, but that mechanism wouldn't work for two bilateral wings. (with one crankshaft)
One wing would go up while the other goes down.
It is more similar to 12 ornithopter mechanisms behind each other.
randofo2 years ago
Nicely done!
Sparticles (author)  randofo2 years ago
Thank you very much!
Kiteman2 years ago
I can't tell from the animation - do the wings themselves move very much?
Sparticles (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
Yes, but not good, the glue on the plastic stiffened it up too much I think.
One moves barely, and the other turns from a wave shape to flat and back.

Before the plastic was glued on they moved nicely (for paper clips).

But I will add some more animations tomorrow( hopefully with more light and sharper)