Da Vinci Flying Machine




The Da Vinci Flying Machine or Davifman for short, was modified from a drawing in Da Vinci's  journal.  I added moddern touches like replacing the yew benders with trampoline springs and other minor adjustments. Sorry I don't have any mesurments but my modle is to scale and the mesurements are 13ft. wing span 25in. long and 10in. high.  You can deviate from these mesurments as much as you like but this is in close scale to what Da Vinci wanted.  If the instructions for some things seem hard to understand but the pictures will clear that up.

Step 1: Making the Base

I started with a 1in. pipe with a pulley on each end.  I attached the pulleys by welding a bolt to a 1in. circle of metal then you just weld that to the both ends of the pipe.  After that slide your pulleys on the end of the bolts and add a washer and nut. Attach the pipe to a wood plank with a c-clamp.  Then add two planks from the middle of the plank thats attached to the middle of the pipe and attach the other end to the ends of the pipe. 

After this in the middle of the pipe add ether wood or iron bars to make a trapezoid with the pipe. On the top of this add a flat bar with a hole in the top (for the wings) and on the top left and bottom right add a wood block that will make the wings rest level.  In the middle of the trapezoid add a pulley on each side.

Step 2: The Wings

The wing's backbone consist of three different parts, the first  extends past the mount on the base a little bit (refer to picture).  The second fits into the first and has the first wing.  Between the two is a trampoline spring and the third is just long enough to hold the second wing. The wings mount on opposite ends of the base mount.

The wings are dowles cut at different lengths to look like a bird wing with an old sheet attached to the top with string.

Near the begining of the second wing backbone segment attach a rod with a spring on the bottom then attach the spring to the base pipe.  After this attach a ring to the bottom of the second segment of the wing backbone (for the rope).

For this I used a hack saw but a  Craftsman Cut Off Saw would sure make this faster.

Step 3: The Peddles

This has two parts the ring board (I'll explain later) that attaches to the back of the base and the peddles.  The ring board is a plank the same width of the the base plank with a hole in the bottom corrner and just above the middle on both sides. Attach the end opposite of the holes in the corners to the base plank.

Second the peddles are just two planks of wood one with a hole in each of the corners and one with a hole in the middle on each side.

Step 4: The Ropes

This is the hardest part but it should be easier if you remember these things:  there is a pair of pulleys, one on each side of the machine so just do the same exact thing on both sides but opposite; the pulleys attached to the base pipe I'll call 1's and the ones on the trapezoid I'll call those 2's.

The paddle with one hole goes on the bottom. Attach the rope through teh hole in the paddle with a knot, the rope then goes through the hole in the bottom corner of the ring board this rope then goes to pulley 1 and attaches to the end of wing backbone one that extends opposite of the rest of the wing.

The second peddle goes on top.  Put a rope through the hole on the bottom corner then go through the hole in the middle of the ring board and attach to the rod you put in the second wing backbone righ were the rod and spring attach at the bottom this will make it so that as the wing comes down they will turn slightly.

Now attach a rope to the hole in the top corner of the peddle don't put this through a hole in the ring board but take it strait to the number 2 pulley then through the ring on the second wing segment and fimaly attach it to the end of the third wing segment.

Step 5: Extra Information

If you have trouble or don't get any thing ask me and I will try to get back to you asap. 

Finalist in the
Kinetic Sculpture Design Contest

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
Craftsman Tools Contest



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    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction



    8 years ago on Introduction

    How come no flight video? Actually pretty cool looking, but serious doubts about it getting off the ground. Looks a little heavy for the wing span, add an eager volunteer...

    It would have been nice to see somebody strapped in, and flapping the wing and such though, showing the function. Maybe you are waiting for a calmer day, a little wind could be as bad, as actually launch off a cliff or rooftop...

    6 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I considered straping my little brother in and throwing him off the house but my mom cought me. This was one of Da VInci's fails, if it could fly belive me there would be plenty of flight video.

    the poodleojeff-o

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    w8 is it just a model or is it just the model? also, if it is life size, do u think u can make aan instructable, or modifications, for a scale model of it? cause that would be cool.


    My model is to scale it has a 13ft wing span the board where the pilot lays is 25in and thetrapezoid that holds the wings is ten in high