Picture of Steampunk auto-folding wings
I have made for my daughter steampunk wings which can fold open and closed with the help of Lego Technic parts.

I was running out of time for the "make it real" contest, so I posted this instructable before I am all done, with the intent to improve/expand as I go... I have not yet been able to do the fabric on the wings, but the rest is done and working.

This is my first instructable, so bear with me as I tweak my style...

So where do you start? You find wings you like that fit the style... Leonardo DaVinci was a prolific drawer and researcher of wings, so I started with looking for images by him, and found one that my daughter liked and looked doable...

Finally, what would I do with the printer? It'd print the parts I used and make them look more Steam Punk and less Lego... And then more, obviously.
I'd also like to start a little 3D printing workshop to allow others access to affordable 3D printing...
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Step 1: Design the mechanism

Picture of Design the mechanism
I then designed the mechanism for the wings in Lego Digital Designer, and subsequently built it for real to test whether it actually worked...

Step 2: Transfer the design to the wings image

Picture of Transfer the design to the wings image
Satisfied the mechanism worked I took the measurements of the Lego mechanism and transferred it to the image from DaVinci and then I printed it on 1:1 scale. After that I drew the actual shapes on the drawing and then transferred those to foamboard to create a real size prototype.
megaduty2 years ago
Pretty cool Cesco, I voted for you!
And thanks for uploading the vid.
CescoAiel (author)  megaduty2 years ago
You're welcome! Thx for the constructive criticism and for the vote! (I can definitely use more of the latter! )

And hey, it got an email telling me it's featured in the Technology section! Flabbergasted! Esp. as it is my very first Instructable, and not even finished yet!
aegawa12 hours ago

Super Cool! Thanks for sharing, you did a fantastic Job! Very creative and live how the open with battery!

Batman204 days ago
You could be like batman if you paint it black
JinxieChick7 months ago
I might be able to build it if I knew what a good alternative to buying online would be.
CescoAiel (author)  JinxieChick7 months ago
Most wood (multiplex) can be bought almost anywhere, as can the nuts and bolts. (If you want to use balsa (like I did) you may have to go to specialist shops for model-plane building) Lego Technic (if you want to go that way, see my reliability remark in the other comment) can be bought in many toy stores, or you can go to a Lego shop to just get the required parts ordered. The wine box can be gotten at many deco shops (Just saw them on my vacation trip to Florida in the Hobby Lobby for instance)
For fabric, try JoAnn's or Michael's if you're in the USA...
JinxieChick7 months ago
I have a question. How much would you charge to build one of these? I would like one but don't have acess to internet often enough. Could it be built for 100$ or less?
CescoAiel (author)  JinxieChick7 months ago
I really don't have the time to build another one of these. We've discontinued use of the wings because it was - after repeated use - unreliable. The small gears (the really small ones) kept breaking...
​​My daughter thinks they're too heavy too, so I won't try to remedy the problem either... If I were to try remedying it, I'd probably use a high speed linear actuator (which I tried to replicate with the Lego Technic, which in itself was successful, just had issues with the reliability/quality of the small gears ), and those aren't cheap.
Finally the shipping would be prohibitively expensive, due to the total weight!

Sorry I cannot help you any further!
Is there a website one could go on to get the lego pieces?
do you think it would be possible to use springs and a latch to make the wings jump open rather than using electronics? or is the system too delicate for that kind of jolt
CescoAiel (author)  captainjazzhands1 year ago
As long as you don't use springs that are too powerful and tighten the nuts accordingly it should work... (I think!)
eduard812 years ago
Hmm, for some reason i can't seem to reply on your post... So I'll just repost.

OK, thanks.
That might be a bit small for me, so i'll probably add an extra foot. To bad the engine won't hold up, it was an nice solution (everybody has easy acces to lego's).

I also thought about using gas pistons and then linked to the small 12gr co2 canisters. I haven't found an affordable piston though.
CescoAiel (author)  eduard812 years ago
I think it also depends what you want to use for the wings... Wood is relatively heavy... So is cotton fabric...

If you were to use lighter materials (aluminium, fiber/resin spines, nylon fabric, etc.) you might still be able to get away with using the Lego... Perhaps adding springs to take some of the load (esp. when extending the wings, which is clearly the heaviest task for the motor) may help as well...
CescoAiel (author)  CescoAiel2 years ago
PS: The main problem is not the motor (and if it were, Lego also has a bigger one, although that is a bit slower too), but the strength of the plastic cogs, esp. the really small ones, as well as the cohesion of the frame they're mounted in (the 'bricks' come apart which cause the cogs to slip).
I chose to not glue anything together, so it can be repurposed... I think that using glue and resin to reinforce the cogs and stick the 'bricks' of the framework together would also increase the load they can take!
buzzthud2 years ago
oh my gosh i LOVE this!! i want to make one but can you please post a little more on the motor and how you attached it?
CescoAiel (author)  buzzthud2 years ago
Sorry for not replying sooner, but I have been (and still am) too busy to do any crafting or instructables updating!

I have pictures for another instructable (a steampunk reactor/powersource) ready, but no time to make it...

I'll try to make pictures and post them though... Not giving an ETA tho!
eduard812 years ago
I love this build! (consider it stolen for my own set of wings).
One question though (well 2 actually). What was your wingspan, and do you recon the little motor could handle more (and thus a heavier weight)?

CescoAiel (author)  eduard812 years ago
Wingspan is approx 5' / 150 cm when expanded... And the Lego already struggles (already replaced some broken cogs!) with these, so bigger wingspan would very likely not work with Lego.

I have looked at using either pistons (but that requires a source of pressurized gas/vapor), which would be more true to the theme, or electric linear actuators, but the (10V-12V) ones that have sufficient range (IIRC approx 14cm or 7") of movement are very expensive...
nerd74732 years ago
nerd74732 years ago
Coll I may build this
A very nice project! The idea and the combination of the LEGO Software, the LEGO itself and the DaVinci Wings are great. Looking forward to see more...
Very cool, excited to see the completed project
CescoAiel (author)  iminthebathroom2 years ago
So am I.... So am I! ;)
CescoAiel (author)  CescoAiel2 years ago
Almost done now!

A few more pictures and a videoclip to be added, but over all, the project itself is finished!
Kiteman2 years ago
It's a shame the photos are so dark, but what we really need is a video of them operating!
+1 on video!
CescoAiel (author)  megaduty2 years ago
As I mentioned, I had to work with the pictures I had on my PC and iPad. I will definitely get better pictures (and a video) as soon as I get back home end of this week...
CescoAiel (author)  CescoAiel2 years ago
Better pics and video added...