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Carapace is a wooden kinetic sculpture that simulates the motion of a sea turtle swimming. A complex series of mechanisms allows Carapace to swim up and down, tilt forward or back, and even lift its head up for a breath of air. As each mechanism is carefully linked to the next, each of Carapace's flowing motions are driven by turning a single crank.

This sculpture has over 600 parts.

Its mechanisms include:
- gears
- hypocycloid reducers (one is single stage, one is dual stage)
- Peaucellier linkages
- cams
- a synchronized gear mechanism (to keep the flippers moving at a constant speed regardless of vertical motion)
- four bar linkages

Here's a video of Carapace in motion:

If you'd like to make one yourself, detailed woodworking plans are available on my website:
www.derekhugger.com

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

-Derek

Gallery

Comments

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The most amazing kinetic sculptures/machines I have ever seen. Incredible work.
 

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520 Posts
Congratulations! That is beautiful. I have always wanted to try one since I first saw his Hummingbird.
 

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Great build. Thanks for sharing. Its stuff like this that brings me here.
 

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Man, this is beautiful. I may give this is a shot one day. How much were all the parts from McMaster Carr for you?
 

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I love that,it's so amazing. i'm wondering how to plan such a project
!
 

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One of the most amazing things I've seen on LJs. Excellent!
 

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Wow! Beautiful work from designing to planning!

Claude
 

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Derek, you are one sick puppy! :D I am in awe and jealous of your abilities. Beautifully done!
 

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That's amazing, inspirational, and most definitely unique.
 

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Rayne - I think all the hardware was somewhere between $400 and $500.

Grulgor & Johan_Bengtsson - I start with animation software. I model some very basic shapes, and then I animate them in the way that I want them to move in real life. Then the fun starts. I begin to think of what kind of mechanisms can drive these motions. I rough in the geometry for the mechanisms and animate those as well. When I'm confident with how everything works, I start work in CAD. From there, I do all the design, geometry detailing, analysis, and simulations. Then, I cut parts and hope that everything works in real life.
 

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Rayne - I think all the hardware was somewhere between $400 and $500.

Grulgor & Johan_Bengtsson - I start with animation software. I model some very basic shapes, and then I animate them in the way that I want them to move in real life. Then the fun starts. I begin to think of what kind of mechanisms can drive these motions. I rough in the geometry for the mechanisms and animate those as well. When I m confident with how everything works, I start work in CAD. From there, I do all the design, geometry detailing, analysis, and simulations. Then, I cut parts and hope that everything works in real life.

- Derek Hugger
Derek, you are my idol. That's exactly where I want to get to in my woodworking life. I am working at the moment on a wood clock, which actually quite often let hurt my head due to the challenges that arise. But your approach of having moving wood parts is even more creative, absolutely challenging and for me still so far away.
 

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stunning and I know the turtles would approve.
 

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Derek - Are most of the moving parts cut on CNC machines?
 
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