This was probably my largest and finest creation to date. It is a wearable set of motorized wings, which “flap” at about 5 times a minute, with large acrylic gears that turn on the back panel in timing with the main hub. I had to draw on my engineering education to properly craft this set of wings, designed to go with a costume that was inspired by the novel “Clockwork Angels” by Kevin Anderson, as well as the RUSH album of the same name. Neil Peart, lead singer and drummer of the band, gave a “thumbs up” on Twitter when Mr. Anderson shared it.
Using Kydex as the base material, the wings were overlaid with feathers of PVA craft foam. The whole base panel and wings were painted with a stony finish, to give the impression of being part of a clockwork statue. The mechanism employed a high-torque, low-speed motor of 35 foot-pounds to do the job of lifting and lowering the push rod, which connected to the wings using a custom spring-loaded hinge bar. The motor was powered by 8 “AA” alkaline batteries, for a total input of about 12 Volts DC, and was activated by a switch on the lowest part of the base panel. Finally, laser-cut acrylic gears were added to the back panel as part of the requested design.
The following video is a documentation of the actual costume contest performance of the wings.
Finally, it should be noted that this piece was made to last. It survived a tree impact into the customer’s home by deflecting a branch off of one of the wings. Only superficial damage was sustained, which could be painted over.
This piece cost about $550 USD, but obviously worth every penny!
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