Myles Lack-Zell and Richard Lourie

Our idea was to create an ornithopter that could be steered from from a remote control. Ornithopters usually only go in one direction because the flapping of the wings interfere with the steering. We wanted to be able to make an ornithopter that could stop flapping, steer, and start flapping again. The goal of the studio was to create a flying sculpture. Our project fulfils this goal because if we were able to finish it, we would have made it look like a dragonfly. This would have made it into a fun, interactive sculpture.


Richard Lourie and Myles Lack-Zell

Our prompt was to create a flying object. At the beginning of the studio the coaches gave us inspiration such as planes or helicopters and then we were assigned partners. Our project was going to be a cuttlefish but we wanted to do something free-flying so we settled on an ornithopter. We based our design on a project from It had two pairs of wings on top of each other and is powered by a rubber band. We thought it would be pretty cool to add steering so we put two flaps on the wings. Then we decided that a rubber band was not reliable enough to power the design. So we added a motor on the back to control the flapping mechanism. After that we moved the steering to the tail where we put a rudder and an elevator. After that we tried to find a way to mount the servos for the steering. Eventually we settled on a design with the servos mounted on a back stabilizer.

For the wing mechanism of our ornithopter, we started off by making a flat model of the mechanism to see how it works. After that we moved on to making the mechanism into something that could be powered by a motor, since the model was hand powered originally. In the end, we created a wing flapping mechanism that easily mounts onto the ornithopter and has the wings glued on to it. The wing mechanism of our ornithopter is able to move the wings easily, but does not have enough power to generate lift. Because the wings are very short, they are also unable to generate any lift. In our next iteration, we hope to make larger wings and use a powerful motor since we want to be able to make our ornithopter fly.

First we made a two foot model of the back to see it in comparison to the wing mechanism. Then we made a one foot version after seeing that the first one was too big. After that we made one that was two feet again but much thinner. Then we added a way to connect it to the body. After that we cut out large chunks of our design to make it much lighter. In the end the elevator and rudder used for steering worked very well. In the next iteration I hope that we will be able to see if the mechanism is actually able to turn the ornithopter.

Our project is an ornithopter. It has two pairs of wings placed vertically on top of one another. It is turned by an elevator and a rudder at the end of a long, bulbous tail. There are three small pieces attaching a long rod to the back part. Unfortunately it is not able to fly because the relatively small wings cannot support the weight of the ornithopter.