When You Need to Make Amazing Wings Because Your Daughter Said So #WearableWednesday #Wearabletech
Yes, there are more wonderful animatronic wings being made! I discovered this pair on Hackaday, and the project got its start from a young woman who wanted to be Nightmare Moon. Luckily, her entire family was up for the challenge, especially her father Nelson Stoldt.
[Nelson] had no idea what he’d gotten himself in to when he answered, “Sure, I can do that.” Making motorized cosplay wings that open up to 8 feet wide and close again at the flick of a switch without weighing a ton is not a trivial project. The final rig did end up tipping the scales at just over 9 kgs, but we guess that’s a load that cosplayers are used to hauling around.
There are many great learning moments you can check out on the family’s blog. (Oh yes, and the blog indeed has comments made in different colors so you know who is speaking, which is hilarious.) As someone who loves birds, I applaud the vision to get the outer feathers to move. Creating a support mechanism for the backpack with a piece of acrylic that was heated in an oven was a great idea, as was using yoga pants for the “skin” of the mechanism. Here’s Hackaday’s description of the mechanics:
The wings are operated by a scissor mechanism that is driven by a motorized screw operated sliding carriage. Wing position is measured by a potentiometer coupled to one of the wing elements. Basically, he just built a huge, powerful servo.
As you may have guessed, there is an Arduino (Uno) involved as well as a bunch of switches. Switches play an important role in safety with a cosplay this large—you need to be able to shut it down in tight spaces. This is especially true when you are at a contest venue with lots of people present, which is where this family found themselves. Like most maker binges, the family was gathered in a hotel room still assembling feathers and foam until the last minute. Luckily it was well worth the effort since the costume won Best in Show. Wings are a thing for this team, and Nelson has already started work on a new set with a steampunk theme. Can’t wait to see them! If anyone is hoping to get a start on their own wings, we’ve got the Arduino Uno for you. Have fun designing your own mythical creature!
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