Category Archives: MECHANISMS - Page 2

More StrandMaus Footage

StrandMausAfter my first video attempt, I decided to make another clip, this time featuring the external camera more prominently than the FPV GoPro footage. FPV footage is from my Hero4Session – now known just as “HeroSession” – Amazon.

The results, as previewed in a little GIF above, I think are much better. In the FPV portion, I featured a view of the front legs/linkages prominently, as I think this is the most interesting part of the design, that and the actual camera turret setup. Check out the whole video below!

You can see the original video, as well as a little more information in this post.


Introducing the FPV StrandMaus


If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you have seen my various iterations of a remote-controlled vehicle based on Theo Jansen’s StrandBeest. My latest version is much smaller, so I’m calling it the “StrandMaus” (Beach Mouse, instead of Beach Beast). Check it out walking around in the video below:

I plan to explain how it works in further detail in another video or post, but what really sets this apart from my other versions is that I’m using thrust bearings from Servocity*, along with shaft collars, which allow the legs to be tightened more than the loose configuration I tried before. Also, the gear train is partially based on something I saw on Twitter from Jo!, using gears instead of linkages to transmit power between the central shaft and the legs.

Probably the most visually obvious feature of the FPV StrandMaus is the GoPro camera (a tiny Hero4 Session – Amazon) attached on a Servocity Pan/Tilt system. I used this on my first StrandBeest model which was neat, but was never able to walk on its own. In theory, one could log onto the StrandMaus’ camera and view it remotely while having it walk around it’s environment. Certainly I’ll have to experiment with this further in the future!

Until then, Read more »

Modify Fisher-Price Corn Popper for Hardwood Use

corn popper with o-rings

You might not remember the black rings around the wheels…

If you were a kid at one time, you might remember playing with something that you rolled over a carpet, and balls popped up. Your mom and dad likely remember this as well; hopefully with fond memories.

That being said, now that I have a kid, we now are the proud owners of a Fisher-Price “Corn Popper.” (Amazon) I previously had no idea what it was called, but that sounds better than “rolling popper kids toy.” We are also owners of a house featuring quite a bit of hardwood flooring. As seen in the video below, the corn popper doesn’t perform well on this type of surface. Naturally I had to find a solution.

After having this “problem” running around in the back of my mind for some time, it finally occurred to me that if a channel is cut around the circumference of the wheels, I could place an o-ring on each of the wheels, and it shouldn’t come off. Results of this experiment can be seen in the video below:

I used a bandsaw to perform this operation, rolling the wheels to form a sort of impromptu lathe. Results were OK, and I considered using my actual lath with this instead. This would have probably led to a more consistent cut, but would have also meant I needed to take the popper apart. Also, most people don’t have a lathe, likely making this project less accessible.

That being said, I probably should have cut the grooves even deeper than I did, as the o-rings can come off if used roughly enough (as they certainly will be). Obviously, do this or any other project on this site at your own risk; I certainly haven’t thought of every danger o-rings could cause to a child!

If you’re wondering, O-rings were from this handy variety pack from Amazon.

Also, I’ve been posting a lot of stuff on Twitter that’s not necessarily for my site and/or I’m currently working on. Be sure to check out my feed for more wacky creations!