Theo Jansen Machine

Introduction: Theo Jansen Machine

this walking machine was invented by theo jansen. his models are about 2m tall, up to 15m long, and are powered by the wind. to see how to make this battery powered click here

Step 1: Materials

balsa wood - 2 different sizes
pins - about 14 per set of legs
hot glue
stif wire
2 very small pieces of dowel - i used bbq skewers
small metal tube cut into 8 pieces ~ 1cm long

exacto knife
wire cutters
hot glue gun
drill and small drill bit

Step 2: Cutting the Wood

this is what you need for each st of legs.
small size
~ 4cm x8
~5cm x2
~6cm x4
~3cm x2

large size
~10cm x2
~9 cm x2

Step 3:

lay the pieces out in the order that they will be pined together. pin the pieces together so that they can still move freely.

Step 4:

with the wire cutters, cut off the ends of the pins so they are only sticking out about 1/2cm.
put a little bit of hot glue on the end of each trimmed pin to prevent them from sliding out.

Step 5:

glue one piece of the metal tube to each leg.

Step 6:

repeat steps 2-5 until you have the ammount of legs that you want. i made 3 pairs.

Step 7:

bend the crankshaft in as many places as the ammount of legs you have. for example i had 6 legs so i bent it in 6 places.

Step 8:

slide each set of legs along the crankshaft and into place.

Step 9:

slide the dowel through the metal tubes on the legs on both sides and put a dab of hot glue on both sides of the tube to keep them from sliding up and down the dowel.

Step 10:

glue a piece of metal tube to another piece of balsa wood and glue the wood onto the dowels joining them together and feed the crankshaft through the tube. do this on each end.

Step 11:

bend the crankshaft so that you can easily turn it. then you're finished!

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    video!!! Looks cool. I have his book and dvd. Love his things. Yours, too :)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Does his book have any technical specs on them? Especially the more complex ones run on air pressure?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    He shows quite a few close-ups of several of his creatures. There are specs on the leg geometry of the walking structures. However, I cannot find anything on the air pressure sensors you mention, darn it!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i didn't know he had a book or dvd. what are they called?