How to Build a Strandbeest Leg




Introduction: How to Build a Strandbeest Leg

What's a Strandbeest? The Strandbeest, originally made by Theo Janssen, is a walking machine made from PVC tubing that can move along a beach or similar space using wind-power. The version that we created is a recreation of Janssen’s model, where instead of using PVC pipes, we used Fusion 360 to design and create the acrylic pieces that we used to build and construct the acrylic StrandBeest. The making of a Strandbeest is no easy task, attention to detail is key in order to execute the construction flawlessly. Look at the Supplies list below and the pictures above of them in order for you to know what you need to buy specifically and it's quantity. Keep on reading to find out how the Strandbeest is made step by step and further details on this masterpiece.



Acrylic Sheets

Bolts: ⅜”

Screws: ⅜” x 1 inch, ⅜ “ x 2 inch, ⅜” x 2.5 inch

Nylon Washers (⅜”) shoulder washers


Laser Printer and Computer

CAD Fusion 360 software


Power Saw


5 acrylic sheets (180x120x0.3)

1 acrylic sheets (180x120x0.5)

Step 1: Design

The first step in order to construct the Strandbeest is to design and form the pieces digitally on Fusion 360, a computer app where all types of pieces or tools can be designed and later on printed with a laser cutter. We used the machine called the Glowforge, a laser cutter that cut through pieces of acrylic in order to create the specific pieces for the Strandbeest (see pictures above). So you don't have to take extra time and design the pieces digitally on Fusion 360, we have done it for you. Attached below are the files of the pieces on Fusion 360, all you have to do now is print it on any laser cutter, we recommend the Glowforge. If you do decide to design the pieces on your own, then follow the steps on this website

Once you have printed out all the necessary pieces, you will be set to start constructing the "Strandbeest". Follow the next steps to know exactly what to do.

Step 2: Breaking Acrylic

The next step you need to take to approach the completion of this machine is simple but difficult. You have to cut the acrylic sheets and make them small enough for them to fit in the laser cutter (for us is the glowforge). Cut the acrylic sheets with the size of 20x13cm with a power saw, be sure to mark down lines with any erasable marker so you know exactly where to cut. This is a simple task as you are just slicing the acrylic into smaller pieces so you are able to place it accordingly in the laser cutter. Once you have your pieces cut to the size of your laser cutter, you can now move on to the next step, printing out the pieces.

Step 3: Printing the Pieces

Once you have completed the previous step and have all your acrylic pieces ready, you may proceed to the printing of the pieces. Again this is a simple step as all you need to do is connect your computer with your specific laser cutter (for us is the glowforge) and print out the pieces you created on Fusion 360, or you can use the files we have attached in Step 1. Remember that this process can be done with all types of laser cutters/printers, although our recommendation would be to use the Glowforge.

Step 4: Construction of the Strandbeest

Now that you have all your pieces printed and supplies laid out on the table, you are ready to start putting everything together and construct this machine. As this is a very tedious, detailed, and complicated process, two of our best constructors, Gabriel and Mauricio, will show you specifically how to build the Strandbeest in the video attached below. Don't forget to look at the pictures attached as these will help guide you on what piece goes where.

Step 5: Finishing the Strandbeest

Now that you have an assembled prototype, make sure that it is functional and working. You can test out the movement of the legs by turning it while holding the middle. Make sure that nothing is failing and is in good condition. If something is not working, go back to a previous step to see where you made your mistakes.

Step 6: Completed Product

Step 7: Conclusion

That was how to build a Strandbeest leg. We hope you learn something new and are able to create something similar to our project. If you have any questions or doubts, do not hesitate in contacting us via email: or via Instagram:

- ASFM Equipment Design Class 2019-20

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    2 years ago

    Great work 👍🏻


    2 years ago

    Greetings! We are Cory Austen, Dr. Heidi Orloff and Gerrardo Orozco and we will be co-teaching this Equipment Design course. Our primary aim is to offer a very hands-on and project-based learning experience. Looking to the future and our end goal, we would like to see this team collaboratively build a Standbeest animal/machine who will roam the ASFM campus. As facilitators, we're not exactly sure how to build these Standbeest machines but we believe that putting the challenge to students' along with the right support, anything is possible. The first part of the course will start with an intro to the Standbeests and their parts.

    During the first weeks, we'll construct and use a model to understand how these ' Beests ' operate and move. From there we'll explore some math principals behind the movement of both humans and the 'Beest's. This will include an introduction to the Human Gait Cycle and the 13 Holy numbers. From here we'll get into some exposure to CAD drawings and design. This will be a very important skill as we get into the large-scale design of our Standbeest. Next, we'll build models of Standbeest legs and various parts. Once mastered and understood we'll continue the build by putting these legs and various pieces together to start forming our large scale Standbeest. By February 2020 we would like to have a working prototype and have students present their process and learning at the annual Live Curious, Go Beyond Tech and Innovation in Education Conference hosted here at ASFM. From there we'll continue with our building and prototyping and possibly exploring a new Beest! Let see!


    2 years ago

    What a rad class project!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks a lot! We are hoping to see it walk in the upcoming month! :D