Izzy Swan was inspired to make a rideable, mechanical Tyrannosaurus rex after showing his kids Jurassic Park. His son thought it would be fun to ride a dinosaur and Swan figured he could make it happen. “I think as a whole, I tend to look at things a little differently, and I love to design — that coupled with an insatiable curiosity to try new things leads to some pretty wild ideas and projects,” he says.
Though there are a lot of pieces that make this machine come to life, the most complex part of the project is the legs, which were inspired by those Theo Jansen uses on his wind-powered Strandbeests. Swan had been working on mechanical legs for quite some time, and this T. rex gave him the opportunity to test it on a particularly fun project. It took him a few iterations, but he finally came up with a leg design that brings to mind the strutting stride of an imposing T. rex. And it’s all powered by an 18V cordless drill.
If you want to know more about the process of designing and prototyping the legs for movement, Swan shared the details with us for an earlier article.
Swan is a retired furniture manufacturer and fifth-generation craftsman. “Because rustic furniture is not always straightforward, it required me to design and make some of my own equipment,” he says. “More then anything, I hope my projects will help people to realize that making/building is fun, and with a little thinking it is possible to do some pretty amazing stuff.”