Demonstration Grazer leg is out and about!
This past weekend, I put some of the finishing touches on the standing leg. Although the leg is easy to turn over by turning the wooden wheel, it does not walk as straight as I thought it would. I also decided to forego installing an electric motor, as it would have been in the shop for a while longer: waiting for parts, assembly, etc. Additionally, it would have cluttered the design considerably. Speaking of sloppy design, below are some pictures of the final product. I refrained to post any head-on angle pictures because, frankly, I’m embarrassed by them. The PVC joints are just really hard to get aligned and stay straight. However, Im happy that this project is out in the big world now, it will allow me to start thinking about the second phase of the project: the Grazer itself.
The fact that the leg walks all wonky actually inspired a great idea. One of the goals I set at the beginning of this project was to find a way to separate the Grazer from Theo Jansens Strandbeests. As I was looking on in disappointment at how the bottom triangle of the leg would bend outwards on the upswing of the step, nearly touching the wooden post, I thought of how that could be a good thing. I chalked the “problem” up to one of the lower connecting rods being a little too long.
Strandbeests can only move in a straight line, so what if the Grazer was able to crab one way or the other, by independently varying the lengths of the lower connecting rods. The Grazer could pick up its feet and step to the right or to the left of the same plane it was walking on the previous step. I made some drawings:
I am not sure what the engineering implications of this design would entail, but I know it would add a considerable amount of complexity, would most certainly have to be made out of metal, would be more expensive, heavier, and take more time than I may have. Still worth some further deliberation though.
On the topic of thinking, I read a really striking poem in my environmental justice class last week. It’s by Wendell Berry, an esteemed environmental activist, and it’s called:
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
I think that this poem speaks to many aspects of the Grazer. Maybe, how it can be made using recycled materials and really stand out from the ordinary. Grazer defies expectations.
Hopefully by next week I’ll finally have some CAD joint designs!