Introduction: K'nex Strandbeest

Picture of K'nex Strandbeest
A motor powered Strandbeest made from K'nex!

Strandbeests, which means "beach beasts," are a type of kinetic sculpture made by Theo Jansen. These sculptures are able to walk with only wind power. After designing the walkers with a special algorithm, he races them on the beach to measure their fitness and incorporates the best traits to modify improve the design. The designs grow more complex over time, and have artificial stomachs, obstacle detection and other features. This video should give you an overview.

Here is a video of my Strandbeest. It has terrible traction on concrete, and the motor is a bit underpowered.

Step 1: Gather Pieces

- 12 white
- 60 yellow
- 12 red
- 10 orange
- 80 grey

End Connectors
- 20 tan lock

- 3 black
- 36 red
- 72 yellow
- 30 blue
- 20 green

Motors and Wheels
- 1 trekker motor

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design

K'nex was a limitation in the design, as the rod lengths only came in certain lengths. Creating intermediate lengths with rods and connectors would weaken the structure and increase weight. The lengths used here can be modified, but the K'nex motors will probably be too weak to power anything larger. Also the joints were not entire pieces, so the ends would twist a great deal, requiring a heavy double-layer design.

Keep in mind that this is a very very basic design. It does not have numerous legs, so the movement is very unstable. More legs can be added by simply attaching legs at different points along the central axle.

Step 3: Build Basic Structures

Picture of Build Basic Structures

Build these basic structures of the leg.

Step 4: Build a Leg

Picture of Build a Leg

Combine the elements from the previous step. Note the different layers the pieces are on in the third image.

Step 5: Build Second Half of Leg

Picture of Build Second Half of Leg

Build and complete the legs. Note which layer each component is on.

Step 6: Build the Truss

Picture of Build the Truss

Built the truss and attach components.

Step 7: Build the Opposite Side

Picture of Build the Opposite Side

The Strandbeest is symmetrical, so now build the other side, but reflect the layering of your pieces.


SirDaftBunny (author)2016-06-11

Very cool, although halfway through construction I ran out of several different pieces. Your piece count was WAY off.

ninjalim (author)2014-09-18

does it have to be a treker moteor

Kred14 (author)2013-08-16

adding more legs will help with the moon-walking, increasing the friction between the feet and the floor/ground

danielhone9 (author)2013-04-12

on the video it looks like its doing the moonwalk

freeza36 (author)2012-01-18

theo jansens dont have motors though

Anybodysguess (author)2011-09-29

This is cool, this is the next thing I was going to attempt after I took apart my K'nex clock.

aashilrv (author)2011-03-20

LOL It almost looks like a moon walk.

Franky14 (author)2010-06-21

what are the 3 black rods

the strengthened black rods are used to connect the to pairs of leg he used in the strandbeast, if you dont have any, use the grey/orange long knex rods

snow clones (author)2010-06-12

You are insanely smart, and this thing is truly "beest"!

MattGyver92 (author)2010-02-14

Such fascinating examples of kinetic art! Can they be ridden like a bicycle and steered? Could they hold my weight? GAH! I have to find out more! =P

dombeef (author)MattGyver922010-04-11

 Try with pvc pipe.
Here is a template i made for the strandbeest designs 

MoonlightWolf (author)2010-01-21

The walking mechanism you are using is called a ''Clan Linkage''

Actually, a Klann Linkage seems to be pretty different from the linkage used in Jansen's Strandbeests. Here is a comparison:

The Great Knex Warrior (author)2009-09-15

i made a six-legged strandbeest. it walks perfectly in a straight line, i will try to get a picture or a vid on youtube.

Your Average Guy (author)2008-08-21

Same as Oompa-Loompa. I am definitely making one of these. (I just need a motor first) I have thousands of pieces, but no motors. Very sad.

oompa loompa WAS smart, now he is just average.

I got my motors from roller coaster sets, they have lots of rods and a motor. Just make sure it isn't a plug in model if you are going for something mobile

riku1 (author)2009-05-27

what motor is that the 12v one??????? i only have the motor below.

Miles Tails Prower (author)riku12009-07-25

It's 6 volt with 4 AA batteries. I have one. Double as powerful and has two speeds.

riku1 (author)2009-05-27

add more detailed instructions plz and if possable state substitution pieces

knexsuperbuilderfreak (author)2008-12-10

where can i get that motor

Idk if its still sold its like a treckor or something

An Villain (author)Wafflicious2009-05-07

all terrain trekker and no it is not sold anymore but you can get it at amazon or something like that

The Great Knex Warrior (author)2009-04-09

you have made the crank move the wrong way to the legs.

smilee (author)2009-03-22

can you use a different motor???

florina19martie (author)2009-01-30

It's an interesting creation and can be improved. I wan't to buid such a thing on my on and thank you for informations.

Miles Tails Prower (author)2009-01-24

crestind, Are you Dutch? 'Cause I am.

stale56 (author)2008-12-23

this guy i smart, he knows what hes talking about

grevious (author)2008-10-17

ummm... i looked at the video and now im confused, ar these things actually real...?

crestind (author)grevious2008-10-17

What do you mean?

grevious (author)crestind2008-10-17

is a strandbeast a real thing? or is not?

WoD5 (author)grevious2008-11-23

these are very real but there not alive they simpley have a bunch of simple sensors like tubes kenected to botles, to sence the water, and a BIOS (basic imput output) toproseses left and right or 1s and 0s. but i could understand your disbelief. there quite amazing machines.

grevious (author)WoD52008-11-25

wow they do seem very simple for there functions, ill have to look deeper into these...

Your Average Guy (author)2008-08-21

Srry for double comment, can I make one of these move with a wind up?

It won't work. They're nowhere near powerful enough.

what about with three wind up motors?

They'll start off strong and lose power very quickly, so you'll probably only get one revolution or so. It needs continuous power.

Ok thanks, yeah i just figured that out.

Oompa-Loompa (author)2008-08-06

I favorited this so I know where to find it when I take apart my sniper rifle. Really cool. (author)2008-06-26


The new official spanish website of strandbeest, is ready. This is the link:


NajaMushrooms (author)2008-04-11

Wow, I am Amazed! :D

Sypran (author)2008-03-02

nice i made one once, try renforceing the legs, thats what i did (also it helps if you make big legs for some reason... anyway here is a model i created that is defrent from that dutch dudes one ill put a vid on soon on my page thing

Kaiven (author)2008-02-29

can i use a classic motor? :/

crestind (author)Kaiven2008-03-02

No, it's not strong enough. I'll be making a lightweight model soon.

yakumokobe (author)2008-02-23


theperson2 (author)2008-01-29

anyone want me to post a knex walking machine

the_burrito_master (author)2007-12-29

coming soon! one +rating.

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