Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dragon Wings

Maysen has decided that she wants to be a dragon for halloween. (surprise). A couple of years ago I showed her these cool wings that someone made and suggested we make some. At the time she passed on the idea, but that was mostly because she didn't want to have to open/close/flap them by having her arms tied to them. She, being my daughter, wanted them to open/close/flap by themselves via some sort of remote control.

So this year, we're going to give that a try. Our wings will be slightly scaled down so that we can make the frame out of those big paint stirring sticks they give out at home depot. (Free stuff is cool!) These should actually be a good size for her.

Today we started putting the different pieces together for the first wing - mostly just roughing out the idea. One of these wings will be hooked to each side of a backpack type thing that we'll make out of PVC pipe or a padded scrap of plywood, which will be strapped to her back.

This is what one of the wings looks like closed...

...and this is what it looks like when opened...

(It reminds me of one of those extend-o-glove thingies they punch each other with in cartoons.)

We'll cover this skeleton with some kind of stretchy fabric. To make it open and close on it's own, we're going to made what is called an air muscle, as described here or here. I think we'll only need one, and by stringing it between the two wings it should open them both when it contracts. We'll find out next week when we give it a try! It means we'll be strapping a paintball tank of air on her back, wiring it up, and letting her open and close the wings with the press of a button.

We're excited to be making them, and I figure it will be a good thing to show/use in the robotics classes I'm hoping to teach soon. Watch for updates soon...

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