Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Smallest Pneumatic Walker?

Name of Model: Micro Pneumatic Walker
Created by: Alexander "aeh" Holroyd
Found at: and in true pneumatic walker tradition, also in a LUGNET thread
Every once in a while, you hear me mention that something has become a "fad" of sorts among LEGO fans. About a decade or so back, a rash of pneumatic walkers flooded LUGNET (the LEGO Users Group network) and RTL (Rec.Toys.LEGO, a USENET newsgroup from back when "USENET" and "newsgroup" were things people actually used) as Technic and Mindstorms fans tried to push the limits of what could be done mechanically without having to use expensive motors and sensors to automate creations. Pneumatic walkers are an incredibly fun application of pneumatic logic gates. Simple logic gates (of the same sort used in electronics) have long been considered a "classic project" for LEGO pneumatic elements, but the relative scarcity of those parts generally prevents people from experimenting with the field too much. The basic idea of pneumatic walkers is to have all motion control handled purely by pneumatics - no motors, gears, or sensors are needed on the machine itself. The only source of power is a pneumatic tube supplying air pressure. Each piston-forced movement is mechanically attached to another pneumatic valve, which in turn will force another pneumatic piston to trigger its linkages. Since LEGO pneumatic parts aren't quite instantaneous, they can be used in a variety of synchronized machines, including walkers. Today's featured model is a recent creation that claims to be the smallest pneumatic walker. The machine has a small footprint and only uses the smallest size of pneumatic piston. The newer studless valves are used here to great effect - I can't imagine trying to build a similar structure while needing to brace the older valve elements with bricks. Don't miss the video on Brickshelf alongside the photos.
This is Monday's model of the day

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