After seeing Theo Jansen’s walking Strandbeest creatures a few years ago, I decided to build my own. Jansen had already done all the hard work of figuring out the linkages that power his PVC contraption, so all I had to do was scale it and assemble it with wood instead of PVC and attach a motor … Or so I thought.
Three years and four ‘beest iterations later, I came up with something quite a bit smaller than Jansen’s.
Not only can it walk via remote control and two motors, but it can also observe its environment via a turret-mounted GoPro camera. Because of this, I can drive it in first-person view.
Joachim Haas, whose similar walker was featured in the January 2016 issue of the German edition of Make:, designed a gear train concept that was extremely helpful to building a reliable version.
I call this little one-foot-tall contraption the FPV StrandMaus, or “beach mouse,” as a small-stature homage to Jansen’s “beach beast.”
The first two ‘beests that I built were closer to the size of a golf cart, but due to various issues with weight, friction, and unsuitable motors, they never walked. The third ‘beest (and the first that I would call a ‘maus) was even smaller than what’s pictured here, but didn’t feature bearings or the same gear train setup. Though it walked for a limited time, I soon scaled it up to the successful FPV StrandMaus, which I CNCed out of ¼” MDF.