A moving hummingbird sculpture: make your own

January 6, 2016 • 1:45 pm

We’ll finish up today with two light items. First, another find by Matthew Cobb: an amazing and complex wooden sculpture of a hummingbird sipping from a flower. Apparently it’s anatomically correct:

And if you want to make one (proceed at your own risk), you can read about the sculpture and buy the plans (for $99!) here. You can either crank it or power it with a motor. Being ham-handed about these things, I’d just prefer to buy one or get one as a gift!


23 thoughts on “A moving hummingbird sculpture: make your own

  1. “…this beholder is enchanted.” – Sir Percy, The Scarlet Pimpernel (the one with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour)

      1. I have felt that RAM chips are pretty tough, as long as you don’t expose it to electrical fields during the install.

      1. And as soon as someone figures a way to 3d print lignam vitae and materials of contrasting thermal coefficients of expansion. Neither of which are in the offing, TTBOMK.

            1. I’ve never heard of that and can’t find lingam vitae nor lignam vitae on the internet. I know of lignum vitae; we used to own furniture made from it. Very hard wood indeed.

      2. Anyone who can afford a car can afford a 3D printer, but the masses do not need to own one. Just entrepreneurs.

        There are already wood cutting printers that carve away what isn’t part of the design.

        There is no need to print the pendulum wire, and there are already plans for building wooden grasshopper movements. It doesn’t have to have observatory accuracy.

  2. Very cool. It would be nice to make the gearing and support elements from a transparent material. The bird itself could be enhanced by using color with something like stained glass technique. The possibilities are endless.

  3. I want one! I think it’s wonderful and beautiful!

    Although I could manage to put the bits together, I couldn’t make it from scratch, plans or no plans, so I just have to hope that I come across one some day when I have the money to buy it. Which is seriously unlikely. 🙁

  4. Required power tools: band saw, scroll saw, drill press, belt/disk sander.
    Recommended: mini chop saw, metal lathe, cnc router.
    I wish I had all that stuff, but don’t.

  5. Wow, that is a wonderful piece of work. How would you price something like that which I should imagine took hours and hours of work.

  6. Absolutely fabulous (much better to watch than the TV show). And then I thought of the Antikythera mechanism–how the hell did they make it without modern tools? Talk about hours & hours of work! Yikes.

  7. There are 3D printers available that can make most of their own components[1]. Anyone with a CNC milling machine (these are actually available for home use now [2]) could make any equivalent to this sculpture out of wood.

    If I ever make an equivalent it would be entirely out of metal though. Aluminum can be anodized in very bright or pastel colors
    [3], and combined with stainless and brass it would make a quite stunning display piece. The birds wings and tail could be far more elaborate and colorful, for example.

    I would also power it with a very low power home made motor that consumed microwatts of power so that no batteries would be required

    NOTES: There are far more examples than this list; simply do a Google search.
    1. http://reprap.org/
    2. http://www.tormach.com/
    3. https://www.google.com/search?q=anodizing+aluminum+colors
    4. Such a motor can be powered by either a very low leakage capacitor or even the Earth’s atmospheric electric field.

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