Picture of Articulated M.C. Escher
I've been a fan of M.C. Escher's drawings since I was very young, and have always particularly loved his invented creature Curl-up (or Wentelteefje in Dutch).  I recently had the opportunity, as an Artist in Residence at Instructables, to build a model of it.  I have seen one or two previous attempts at the standing pose, but none that curled up, and I determined to make the attempt.

Step 1: Analysis

Picture of Analysis
The first thing I did was to make some diagrams, expanding on Escher's creature as well as I could. Escher's published work containing the Curl-up constists of three drawings, Curl-up, House of Stairs, and House of Stairs II. These drawings are of course art, not a drafting diagram, so I had to make up some parts that were never shown clearly. I discovered that Escher cheated, too: the Curl-up's head is, in the standing posture, clearly the widest part of its body, but in the curled-up posture the smaller body segments encompass it, without any apparent stretching or bending. Although, with Escher's theme of realistically drawn but physically impossible objects, this isn't really surprising.

The Curl-up (in most cases I could observe) has a carapace with 18 body segments plus its head, with the last one, the tail, finishing in a rounded point instead of attaching to another segment. There is some inner flesh that protrudes a little from the head shell, but the underside of the body is never shown clearly. There are three pairs of legs, with a quite human knee and foot attached. I decided not to worry about the soft, squishy interior until I had the carapace working. I numbered the segments starting from the one just behind the head. The legs extend from segments 4, 9, and 14. The join between segments 1-2, 2-3, and 3-4 have a significant reverse bend in them when the Curl-up is standing normally, to keep its head raised. Some of the later segments also have a slighter reverse bend but this depends on the Curl-up's movement and activity.
MaggieCr1 month ago

SAwesome. Escher has always been a favorite of mine. I thought about hanhging his work all over my ceiling, but then decideed it might drive me insane. LOL

NathanSellers4 months ago
This is so cool. Great work. Thanks for sharing the process.
BernardM9 months ago

I want one of this , real , adult size , to "walk"around !! And the best is that I should not pay Road taxes since the texts only speak about "wheeled vehicle" , not about "legged vehicle" !! At least untill now !!

software used?
rachel (author)  Greasetattoo1 year ago
I used a CAD program called Moment of Inspiration (moi3d.com). I've been using it for a couple years now. It's not as full featured as something like Rhino or Inventor but it's an awful lot cheaper. There's a small but dedicated community and the program's author is extremely helpful and active in the forums, which is rare and awesome. I recommend it as a good beginner CAD program; these days I'd also look at FreeCAD (www.freecadweb.org), which is actually free.
Thank you...
I use Sketchup!
DukeP1 year ago
Excellent! Where is the .stl files?
rachel (author)  DukeP1 year ago
I didn't think to post these originally but now I want to tweak them a little more first ... the neck bend in particular I am not happy with and want to improve. I will post the files once I've done some of these fixes!
dworley1 year ago
I see you have paid your tithe. It came out pretty cool!
Alpha_geek1 year ago
Stunning little project and a fantastic write-up of the design process. Many thanks for sharing ... :-)
graham6411 year ago
Gregbot1 year ago
Mr. Noack1 year ago
Awesome! I'm a huge Escher fan!
BadPuns1 year ago
I have loved Escher's work since I was six. He probably would've loved this.
ynze1 year ago
That is one lovely Wentelteefje!
Well done. You put a lot of thought into this. A large scale version would be interesting to make.
Motorized with a driver, for Burning Man?!
This is great!!!
Kiteman1 year ago
Oh, that's an amazing result, and an excellent write-up.

Are we going to see different-sized Curl-Ups appearing around Pier 9 now?
Toga_Dan1 year ago
Cool project. Love Escher.