Do the Crocodile (Tick) Tock

Craft & Design
Do the Crocodile (Tick) Tock
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Tick Tock the Croc is a 51 foot long articulated human powered kinetic sculpture designed and built by a group of makers in Maryland. The group entered Tick Tock in the Baltimore-based American Visionary Arts Museum’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race this year, winning several awards as well as the honor of being displayed at the museum until the 2015 race.

The segmented sculpture is powered by adult sized tricycles. Team members can ride down the street, or Tick Tock can even take to the water. That’s right, an amphibious people-powered, kinetic sculpture. The head is articulated so that it can be raised or lowered, the mouth opens and closes, the eyes move, and the tongue inflates. It even wags its tail!

The creators of Tick Tock have been having a ball together for five years. They’ve developed three different sculptures for the kinetic sculpture race. A team spokesman said, “Creating sculptures with a diverse team is a wonderful exercise in collaborative creativity, inspiration, and perspiration mixed with a bit of compromise, and heavy on one upmanship.”

The sculpture’s chassis is made up of six Schwinn tricycles. The body form is largely made of metal conduit, wire, sheet and spray foam. The 15 foot long tail is cantilevered and articulated by cable controls operated by the rear (sixth) pilot. Some plasma cut steel frame parts were part of a previous sculpture, “Alice in Wonderland”. A cluster of LEDs dubbed “Tinkerbell” floats above the sculpture.


If you live in the Baltimore area go check out Tick Tock, which is currently on display at the American Visionary Arts Museum. The Tick Tock team and their reptilian friend will be at World Maker Faire in New York this September. Catch them parading around the grounds of the New York Hall of Science. You may hear them before you see them, as the powerful on-board stereo plays appropriate music and sound effects that announce Tick Tock’s arrival before they are even in sight.

Check out Tick Tock’s Facebook page to see more fun pictures and info.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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