Jansen Mechanism




The Theo Jansen mechanism is a kinetic sculpture that can move with the help of several pairs of legs.

Step 1: What You Need

I have used 15 straws, two wood sticks, a coper wire and adhesive tape.

Step 2: Tehnical Data

Theo Jensen has calculated the right dimensions for this mechanism using computer simulations. So we will borrow these dimensions from him.
Note that two opposite legs, or a pair, will have a common "a" arm, double in lenght.

Step 3: Cut the Straws

First of all cut the straws according to the dimensions from previous step. Use whatever measurement unit fits to your material. I have used millimeters.
Make the "j" and "k" arms ten units longer and the "a" arm double in size.
For easier work, flatten the tubes.
Using adhesive tape, bind the pieces together. A pair of legs is formed by two modules, in a mirrored position, linked via the "a" arm.
You need at least 3 pairs of legs.

Step 4: Pin

Using a safety pin bind together the "j" and "k" arms of each pair of legs.
Note that the two ends of each "j" and "k" arms are flatten in perpendicular planes.

Step 5: Together

In this step i have noticed that the "a" arms are hindering the movement of the legs. To resolve this, I have moved them away from the legs, and I have used two wood sticks to consolidate the structure. Note that all the "a" arms and wooden stick are in the same plane. They form the rigid structure of the mechanism.

Step 6: Crankshaft

Remove the safety pins and replace them with a coper wire.
Bend the wire in the shape of a crankshaft. The outside pair of legs must be in the same phase while the middle pair must be in the opposite phase.

Step 7: The End!

This is how you can do it.
It should



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    5 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Can you upload the video to youtube? It isnt possible for me to see it...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i made one just like that a while ago! used the same drawing for the measurements.

    cool mechanism! nice job man.