Update 3/19/2017: Instructions for building the core flapping mechanism are now available here.
As I mentioned in my post about our trip to Australia, Brickvention is held in one of the coolest venues for any LEGO event I’ve been to. What I didn’t mention was that the Royal Exhibition Building is surrounded by some really wonderful green space, and that every evening as left we would see some cool Fruit Bats flying around. This was the inspiration for Kristal’s latest LEGO model, The Bat.
It took quite a few design iterations to finally get the mechanics of this model compact enough to fit in and under the body, but still evoke the unique movement of a bat’s wings. This includes the flapping motion, their expansion and contraction, and sweeping them forward with every beat. The stand also moves the entire bat up and down. In the video I explain how the mechanics work together to achieve these movements.
The wings are built mostly with LEGO flex tube, to keep them as light as possible. Even so, you can see that they do bounce a bit when they reach the bottom of the downward beat. This is mostly due to the backlash that is present in any LEGO gear system, which is taken up as the wings turn over at the top of their cycle. The wings then recoil a bit as the gears ‘catch up’ to them at the bottom.
As these bats are mostly active at night, Kristal designed a brick built sunset on one side of the stand, which transitions to night as you turn the model around.