Wooden mini Jansen Walker robot parts

Arduino Robotics
Wooden mini Jansen Walker robot parts


My friend and yours, Gareth Branwyn, heard I was testing the Epilog Zing laser cutter and asked if I could cut him the parts for a 4Volt Jansen Walker. Gar is a robot master and a steampunk to the core (check out his Lost Knowledge issue of MAKE magazine for more proof) so I figured clear acrylic wouldn’t do it. He needed a wooden walker! I’m going to convince him to purchase brass nuts and bolts for the build, and maybe he can use small steam engines instead of servos and swap in a Babbage Machine for the Arduino…

I downloaded the parts files from Thingiverse, pulled them into Corel Draw, prepped them on a single 16″ x 12″ page, and fired it off. After about 20 minutes of cutting (OK, I was just sipping a cocktail watching it cut) the parts were all done. If you look closely there are some strange curves that became segmented or non-tangent. It turns out a single bolt in the laser optics assembly had wiggled loose. I paused the cutting, tightened the bolt, and the remaining cuts were perfect. I kind of hope these anomalies will enhance the organic nature of the design.


We’ll have to bug Gar to pick up the story from here once I ship the parts to him!

Here’s the original, inspiring, wonderful, otherworldly Jansen Walker that inspired Mr. 4Volt.

10 thoughts on “Wooden mini Jansen Walker robot parts

  1. 4volt Jeremy says:

    It’s cool to see more of these in the wild, I would love to see picture when you get it all put together. I like the idea of having a wooden walker.

    Since your version will be heaver then the plastic version (probably), you may also want to get the 1:1.8 ratio gears for more drive power over at my project page: http://4volt.com/projects/jansen/


  2. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Whoa, that’s really awesome, John. Thanks!

    On my robot panel at the Faire, I didn’t get a chance to say that the moment that I emailed you, and casually asked you to print me out one of Jeremy’s walkers, was one of the first moments where I felt I was actually, finally living in the 21st century.

    Re: being steampunk to the core
    THAT I don’t know about. I do loves me the alt.Victoriana, but I don’t think you can *be* a steampunk if you refuse the tophat and goggles. I HAVE a nice tophat and a killer pair of goggles, but they’re mainly for display purposes.

    That said, I’m already thinking of how I can finish this bot off with an enclosure for the Ardunio, etc. that does the wood justice. I’ll definitely use brass hardware.

    And thanks for the tip about gearing for a heavier bot, Jeremy.

  3. John Park says:

    I should know better than to try to fit a guy as original as you into a particular slot! Gar is Gar.

  4. Ron says:

    Funny you mentioned steam engines instead f servos. A few years ago, I read about a prototype prosthetic arm that used miniature hydraulic pistons powered by a catalytic hydrogen peroxide steam generator. The article claimed the actuators were much more powerful than similarly sized electric actuators.

    1. John Park says:

      Oh, yes, there was a bit on that after the Jake von Slatt profile on Make: television. This is the guy who built it: http://frontweb.vuse.vanderbilt.edu/me/spotlight/goldfarb.htm

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John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

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