Today I would like to show you a couple of really fun LEGO creation by Jason Allemann (a.k.a. JK Brickworks), a waddling duck and a hopping kangaroo. They are based on traditional mechanical wooden toys that use gravity to walk down a ramp. I think you will really enjoy them. In the video below Jason will explain how these LEGO toy animals were made, and he even shares the step-by-step building instructions on his website. 🙂
Jason shares on his website JKBrickworks.com: “Deep in a YouTube session one night, I stumbled across some traditional wooden walking toys and immediately added them to my list of potential LEGO projects. After several prototypes and many tweaks I finally finished these cute little guys. A duck and kangaroo that waddle/hop down an incline. The mechanics are extremely simple, and to me they are reminiscent of the escapement on a gravity powered clock, controlling the power of gravity by channeling it into discrete steps.” Take a look at both walking animals in the video below:
Really fun, aren’t they? And also very cute! While the mechanics look easy, it is obvious that it took a lot of trials and tweaks to get them just right. Instructions for both models can be found at Jason’s website at the following link: DOWNLOAD INSTUCTIONS FOR WALKING LEGO ANIMALS
Once you build these walking LEGO animals, if they don’t seem to be walking very well there are some hints below for getting them to behave:
- Just like the original wooden toys, these walking LEGO animals only work on an incline of a specific angle. Too steep and they will get stuck on their front feet, not steep enough and they will get stuck on their back feet. Adjust the incline until you find the sweet-spot (note the optimal angle for the duck and kangaroo are slightly different).
- There is very little friction between LEGO and cardboard, which is why Jason is using felt ramps in the video. Also, he found that putting a bit of masking-tape on the feet give their surface a bit more friction. You can also try them out on wooden ramps or other materials, just keep in mind that the friction is very important; if the feet slip at all, even a tiny amount, they will lose a lot of energy and not walk as effectively.
- For the LEGO duck, make sure that the sides of the body aren’t pushed too tightly together. The rear leg needs to be able to swing freely, and if the gap is even a little too tight this won’t be the case. You can just pull the sides apart a bit to make sure the gap is a little wider than the leg. The kangaroo doesn’t have this problem since the legs are on the outside of the body.
So what do you think? How do you like these walking LEGO animals? Are you planning to build them? What other animals do you think would work well with this mechanism? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below! Also, I highly recommend you check out Jason’s YouTube channel because he has many other amazing mechanical LEGO creations, including a running LEGO horse, a LEGO particle-accelerator, working LEGO ballista, self-guided LEGO vehicles, a LEGO version of Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, and more! And just like in the video above, Jason shares how each of his creations were made, and he also shares building-instructions to most of them. 🙂
And you might also like to check out the following related posts: