K'nex Strandbeest




A motor powered Strandbeest made from K'nex!

Strandbeests, which means "beach beasts," are a type of kinetic sculpture made by Theo Jansen. These sculptures are able to walk with only wind power. After designing the walkers with a special algorithm, he races them on the beach to measure their fitness and incorporates the best traits to modify improve the design. The designs grow more complex over time, and have artificial stomachs, obstacle detection and other features. This video should give you an overview.

Here is a video of my Strandbeest. It has terrible traction on concrete, and the motor is a bit underpowered.

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Step 1: Gather Pieces

- 12 white
- 60 yellow
- 12 red
- 10 orange
- 80 grey

End Connectors
- 20 tan lock

- 3 black
- 36 red
- 72 yellow
- 30 blue
- 20 green

Motors and Wheels
- 1 trekker motor

Step 2: Design

K'nex was a limitation in the design, as the rod lengths only came in certain lengths. Creating intermediate lengths with rods and connectors would weaken the structure and increase weight. The lengths used here can be modified, but the K'nex motors will probably be too weak to power anything larger. Also the joints were not entire pieces, so the ends would twist a great deal, requiring a heavy double-layer design.

Keep in mind that this is a very very basic design. It does not have numerous legs, so the movement is very unstable. More legs can be added by simply attaching legs at different points along the central axle.

Step 3: Build Basic Structures

Build these basic structures of the leg.

Step 4: Build a Leg

Combine the elements from the previous step. Note the different layers the pieces are on in the third image.

Step 5: Build Second Half of Leg

Build and complete the legs. Note which layer each component is on.

Step 6: Build the Truss

Built the truss and attach components.

Step 7: Build the Opposite Side

The Strandbeest is symmetrical, so now build the other side, but reflect the layering of your pieces.



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    81 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Very cool, although halfway through construction I ran out of several different pieces. Your piece count was WAY off.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    adding more legs will help with the moon-walking, increasing the friction between the feet and the floor/ground


    This is cool, this is the next thing I was going to attempt after I took apart my K'nex clock.

    the strengthened black rods are used to connect the to pairs of leg he used in the strandbeast, if you dont have any, use the grey/orange long knex rods

    snow clones

    9 years ago on Step 1

    You are insanely smart, and this thing is truly "beest"!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Such fascinating examples of kinetic art! Can they be ridden like a bicycle and steered? Could they hold my weight? GAH! I have to find out more! =P

    1 reply

    Actually, a Klann Linkage seems to be pretty different from the linkage used in Jansen's Strandbeests. Here is a comparison: http://www.mechanicalspider.com/comparison.html

    i made a six-legged strandbeest. it walks perfectly in a straight line, i will try to get a picture or a vid on youtube.

    Same as Oompa-Loompa. I am definitely making one of these. (I just need a motor first) I have thousands of pieces, but no motors. Very sad.

    2 replies

    I got my motors from roller coaster sets, they have lots of rods and a motor. Just make sure it isn't a plug in model if you are going for something mobile


    10 years ago on Introduction

    what motor is that the 12v one??????? i only have the motor below.