Giant Kinetic Praying Mantis Sculpture from found materials

Picture of Giant Kinetic Praying Mantis Sculpture from found materials
I have always felt that the Praying Mantis is one of natures coolest creatures. As a sculptor, this insect proved to be the perfect inspiration for my latest project. I hope the community here will forgive me if this project is not necessarily the sort that is easy to duplicate. I have posted it here as a way to share the steps that go into my sculptures and to promote discussions about building things, creative reuse and fine art in general. As I will demonstrate in the following steps, this sculpture was made out of 99.9% found and salvaged materials. Even in instances where you see machined aluminum, know that it was scrap yard salvaged or pulled from the carcass of a larger machine somewhere else. This is also true of all wire, bearings, switches etc.
If you like what you see, please consider visiting my website to see my portfolio of other similar work.

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Step 1: Parts selection and layout

Picture of Parts selection and layout
I usually begin each of my pieces by arranging various found parts on the floor like a jigsaw puzzle until I start to see a shape that I like. In this case I had already collected a number of objects that I hoped would add up to a Praying Mantis. The main basic elements were: a pair of gas pumps to be made into pinchers, a set of four curtain rod brackets to be used as leg elements, a propane tank for the body, a hanging lamp for the abdomen, and the arm from a scroll saw to form the upper body.

Step 2: Pinchers

Picture of Pinchers
Since this piece basically began in my head with the discovery of the gas pumps I decided to start there. I also realized that this could potentially be the most complicated mechanical aspect of the project so it made sense to get it roughed out quickly to determine if my concept was going to work. The idea was to combine the gas pumps, curtain rod brackets, and some drafting table parts to mimic the design of a backhoe arm. The intended effect was to be part earth moving equipment, part insect.

jawasan2 years ago
I didn't realize the scale of this till seeing the parts layed out on the floor, first glance completed it looks like a table lamp........ THEN I wander over to your website....(excuse the caps!) ABSOLUTELY AMAZING WORK NEMO! Your site is definitely in my favs.
I didn't read your website completely but i would imagine your work is in galleries?
nemomatic (author)  jawasan2 years ago
Hey thanks! And thanks for following the crumbs out to my website. I show my work in a variety of venues, including galleries.
mjursic3 years ago
So do you start off with parts and an idea, or do you agglomerate parts, lay them down and then go for the idea from there? Very nice, by the way. I have a garage full of random bike parts, which is why I ask..
nemomatic (author)  mjursic3 years ago
I typically start with gathering parts. I'm pretty obsessive about this, always on the hunt. Eventually I'll start to see potential relationships between objects and take it from there.
Thanks for asking.
spikes05774 years ago
bluelantern4 years ago
What a beautiful thing! awesome,dont know what else to say,love it.thank you for sharing!
Batness4 years ago
So cool looking! I thought this was much, much smaller, I'm saddened I don't have space to attempt to create something like this!

You need to do an 'Ible where this is like...Paperweight-sized. XD
lol,i also thought it was a small thing until i saw the parts he used! lol,now i understand also why it makes that cool sound too.i love that thing! great project! also very unique.
I too thought it was really small when I saw the main image! I was suprised when I realised the size of it.

Awesome work!
RadBear4 years ago
tchitwood4 years ago
This is the coolest thing!
Steinzel4 years ago
Waaaay too cool! I love it!
Ajaykak4 years ago
Awesome !! must've taken quite an effort to build that !! GREAT ! :)
Great stuff as always
nemomatic (author) 4 years ago
Hey, thanks for all the kind words everyone!
Mr.Sanchez4 years ago
OMG...that{s absolutelly Awesome...Way to go...
verdastel4 years ago
This is just cool!
SinAmos4 years ago
My kind of project. Bravo!
sculptur4 years ago
this thing is so cool i wish i were as good of a sculptor as you
spylock5 years ago
That is almost too cool,you should win an award for that,Im sure you could sell them also ,I would buy one,if it didnt break the bank.
oreosmooshy5 years ago
woooow, if that doesn't display mad skills, idk what does!!
Patented5 years ago
WOW! So well done! Very original! 5*
Kimbernugs5 years ago
Spectacular! Kudos for coming up with a way to turn refuse into art. The mantis was a perfect choice - I agree they are one of the coolest insects.
gmoon5 years ago
Very, very, very nice!
uguy5 years ago
I don't know if it's the coolest evil thing I've ever seen or the evilest cool thing? Well done, thanks for sharing.
CameronSS5 years ago
:-O When I saw the title on the RSS feed, my first thought was "I wonder if nemo's come up with something else." This is AWESOME! I love the demonic chattering of the arm drive motor, don't ever lubricate that.