Introduction: Strandbeest

This instructable will teach you how to make a "Strandbeest", or a genius walking machine.

Theo Jansen is an Dutch Artist that started building large moving structures in the 90´s. He called them "Strandbeests", which simply means "Beach Beasts".

He has said that the structures is a mix between art and engineering, which made me think it was perfect for instructables.

This was a small project i had in school, in which we simply should make something move.


You don't have to gather any advanced tools for this instructable, it's pretty easy when you get the hang of it.

You will need:

-Cardboard (or any paper that is a little thicker)

-Steel wire (ca 2 mm or 1/12 Inch)

-Bamboo Skewer

-Hot glue


If you want to motorize it you will additionally need:

-A toy motor

-Any Switch


-Power source (battery)

-Small gears (belt and pulley also work)

Step 1: The Beginning (Prototype)

In this step we'll make a prototype to try out the mechanism, so we don't have to make any bigger changes later, the longer in the process you come the harder it will get to change it.

This step is therefore optional, but it's recommended.

In this step i recommend using paper with paper fasteners (split pin paper fastener, brass), because it's easy to build and easy to change.

In the picture you will see how a single leg looks like. Cut out a 10x15 cm square (4"x6" inches), and then cut it diagonally, so it will create two smaller triangles. Measure two links about 9x2 cm (3 2/4" x 3/4" inches) and cut them out. Now measure a L-Square 12x2, 15x2 cm (5"x 3/4", 6"x 3/4" inches). Make small holes with a hole-puncher, where they need to be according to the picture.

Lay out the hole thing and put the fasteners in the holes, you should now have a working prototype.

Step 2:

Step 3: Testing

If you're done with step 2, you should have all the pieces cut out for one leg. Try to assemble it with whatever you can find, like the paper fasteners, bamboo skewer or anything else that you will think of. Mount it on a piece of cardboard to test it.

If it works, try to make another leg and mount it as pictured.

I hope it works for you, and if it's done you should be proud, this is about 50% of the project, sadly though you have to repeat the last step for as many legs that you want, i recommend a minimum of 6 legs, 8 is good.

Try to make every leg as uniform as possible, for the best result.

Step 4: Assembly

Do you have enough parts to build a minimum of 6 legs, or as many legs you want? Then you are on the right step, otherwise you should back up and make more legs.

In the picture you see three fixed points, with three long rods, all the legs will be connected using the rods.

Bamboo skewers would work, a small wooden dowel or a small metal rod.

In the pictures you will see how it's supposed to look like now.

You should also make two large triangles that will connect all the fixed rods.

Step 5: Electronics

By now you should have a working strandbeest model. If you want, you can just attach a string and call it done.

If you're not yet satisfied, you can make it move with electric motors.

There are lots of modifications you can make, like a led that lights up, or you can probably make a controller or program it on a computer. But in this instructable, i will only attach a motor and a simple switch to control it.

As issued in the start, you will need:
-A toy motor

-A switch

-A power source (battery)

-A few cables

-Small gears (Belt and pulley works as well)

Step 6: Making It Move

If you have the electronics supplies, from the last step, then you can proceed.

First we must make a mount for the motor, cut out cardboard, so that it can connect all the fixed rods, just like in step 4. Cut out a slot in the triangle, that's where the motor will sit. As seen in the pictures, find a way to mount the gears (or belt & pulley), and make sure that the rest of the machine can still move correctly.

You should have a motor attached to the rest of the machine now. You'll just need to connect a switch, resistance and battery, you can see how i did it in the pictures, or make it any way you fancy.

There you have it.

Please comment if you have any questions or think something is unclear.