this instructable shows how to create an ornithopter or chirothopter (mechanical bird/bat)
this is my first instructable and i decided to make this page after i had finished the project so bear with me
ornithopters were originally designed by the great Leonard da vinci.
the word ornithopter opter comes from the latin and/or greek root words Orni meaning: bird and thopter meaning: mechanical flapping wing, chiro means: hand
though many small working models have been constructed, no life sized, motor powered machines, have ever been able to achieve sustained flight
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Gather Your Parts
you will need :
(optional) to make life easier
some kind of wing membrane
total cost: $30+
________w/o any tools or suplies
Step 2: Tail
begin the project by cutting a tail for your machine. make sure it is not too long or heavy!!!
add an upright dorsal fin to the end of the tail. make sure to leave room for a motor.
cut a small triangle out of the main tail piece at about 5/8" away from the beginning of the dorsal fin
make two long and somewhat thin strips of wood, fit the corners of the pieces into the cut-out rectangle and glue them at your desired angle.
if you want you can put a wing membrane on these as show
ignore the top two fins and clips, those are for later
Step 3: Base
the base that this page shows can come in handy during construction and for display
cut or make a large piece of wood keeping the tail in mind for the size.
make one 3 1/2" stand and one 4" stand, cut a small rectangle out of the tops and glue them onto the best side of the base but make sure the tail can fit inside the rectangles and sit on them as shown.
ignore the small box and wire, that is for later
Step 4: Select Your Gear Mechanism
there are about 3 major wing mechanism designs out there. the first and most common has two arms branching off of one rotating arm, the two arms connect to there own wings which share a pivot at one end. the next and most practical is a combination of the other two types but uses two motors. this allows for more maneuverability during flight it consists of a motor rotating an arm that makes another move up and down and then is connected to another for control and is then connected to a wing. this is repeated on the other wing. the last design, which i am showing how to make, is basically the third but it uses one motor and connects to the end of a wing and not the middle.
there are two ways to shorten the third mech design. each is pictured below, i will show how to make the one on the right.
if you have decided to use one of the other designs all i can tell you is that the first main arm needs to be significantly shorter than the others and to keep the dimensions in mind. you can skip to step 6. i also recommend going to http://www.ornithopter.org/flapdesign1.shtml and using the flap design software
Step 5: Mechanism Construction
begin by making two arms. they can be any six but one must be twice as long as the other
eg. 20mm & 40mm
carefully make a hole at both ends of each arm if you feel your splitting the wood, wrap the end with scotch tape to reinforce the hole
put the two arms together at one end and put a toothpick through both holes to form a hinge but leave about 10mm space in between the two arms. trim the tooth pick so it leaves just a little more than required. if necessary glue a block to both ends of the toothpick.
glue the optional large gear to the small arm so that the holes line up
place the conjoined pieces on a piece of wood in an L shape. move the long arm so that it looks like an upside-down 7. cut the wood it is on in a T shape around the arms leaving at least 1mm extra at both ends. this will become the face.
Step 6: Wing Construction
make two thin strips of wood at the length of your choice
poke a hole at 1.5 x the smallest arms leagnth from one end of both strips. cut a 3mm X (length of smallest arm) rectangle in the strips with the hole at the center (this is for smoothness)
at the end of the strip poke a hole and hinge the two wings together with an excevly large toothpick. (for the guide)
you can add wing membrane now if you want, use whatever you want. i used a slanted piece of wood, a paper clip , and wax paper.
poke a 2 holes at 1.5 X (the length of the first arm) from the center of the T shaped piece/wood face, put a toothpick in and put the conjoined wings in so the toothpicks are in the rectangles.
Step 7: Mechanism Guide
you will need to have a guide for your mechanism otherwise the arms will be going everywhere.
i suggest making a tall 1/2" wide piece of wood and then poking two hole in it and placing the toothpicks in the holes. remember when i said to make the wing joint excessively long, well this is what you need it for. place that long joint in-between the two toothpicks. glue the piece to your models face,"you may need to add an extension to the face."
Step 8: Attaching Face
first, set the arms so that when the wings are perfectly flat, that the arms make a perfect upside down 7
make a hole in the face plate that lines up with the small arm/gear's hole when in this position
place a toothpick through all the holes. stop when the toothpick starts to slant into a point.
glue a Block onto the top of the pick so that it cant go any farther through the hole.
right above the gear and arm, make a long thin oval cut. this will be use for the second gear.
now, glue the face plate to the tail, " if impatient, use super-glue to quickly bond and then reinforce with wood glue" be sure to leave just enough room for the toothpick.
add in small triangle shaped wood pieces to reinforce the face
Step 9: Motor and Cage
find a good motor and small gear. put the matal rod of the motor through the oval cut made in step 8. attach the small gear to the rod and move them both up and down the cut so that you find a good spot where the big and small gears mesh. glue the motor to the face but make sure not to make the motor jam or stick.
while waiting for glue to dry, take a piece of wood and make a curve shape that could fit around the motor. cut out an inside curve from this piece so that it fits snugly on the motor but can touch both the tail and face. glue it on.
Step 10: Test, Trim, and Decorate
test your motor with the battery you are going to use. i used a 9v but you can use whatever you like.
if it doesn't work, you may need to get a new motor or change your gear ratio. my gear ratio is about 14:4
if it works but is a little jerky, try sanding the hinge holes or adding blocks hear and there
if it works then congratulations!! you have officially made a chirothopter, or if you used feathers on your wings, an ornithopter, and if it has two sets of wing then its an entomopter.
you can now decorate your model by staining it or adding twine or painting, or like i did, add a control box to the base for wired ground control and display(next step)
Step 11: Control Box
if you chose to make this part you will be able to turn on/off your ornithopter as-well as control the speed and if you've decided to use a lithium rechargeable battery you can charge it.
for this you will need the optional:
begin by cutting 5 pieces of wood for a box, a top and four sides. the bottom is the base
near the center of the top piece cut a round hole fr the potentiometer. make sure its a snug fit
make sure the potentiometer is in the position you want it in for turning.
make a rectangle hole for the switch above the potentiometer. on one side of the switch, make a small hole for the LED
before soldering, make a hole in your back panel and thread your wire and battery snap
now solder it together in the configuration shown bellow.
glue the box together and glue it to the base. take your bottle cap and poke a hole in the side. thread a short toothpick through the hole and glue it to the top of the potentiometer
on the model, add alligator clips to your circuit for an easy connection
Step 12: Video
FYI i use Microsoft Sam's voice for the talking