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Colibri Mechanized Kinetic Hummingbird Sculpture

Posted: September 22, 2017

Colibri the wooden hummingbird is a stunning addition to the world of kinetic sculptures. And DIY. And CNC machining. And gears. I don't really have anything more clever or insightful to say about it, because watching the mechanized little birdie fly in slo-mo is sucking me in, and making me feel all these, like, emotions.

Kudos to Colibri designer Derek Hugger for doing to me what none but Old Yeller and Toy Story 3 ever has.

Less emotionally moving, and more just plain emotionally sad is that Hugger isn't selling the kinetic hummingbird. At least not in its assembled, mechanized form. The price you see on his site is for the plans to build your own Colibri. You'll get the woodworking goods digitally via email, with instructions for cutting plywood parts manually with printable PDF patterns, or with a CNC machine using DXF files.

Building the hummingbird sculpture doesn't look like an easy lazy Sunday task, but if you can master it you'll have yourself a near-perfect replica of a hummingbird's motion during flight. Hugger says he studied videos of real hummingbird flights, and then used them as underlays to develop 3D animations whose data he could convert into cam profiles and linkages. He's calibrated the sculpture's wings, tail, head, and body to move in smooth synchrony, and appear as life-like as possible.

The "cogs in the Colibri machine" consist of a network of gears, hypocycloid reducers, cams, and linkages. Completed kinetic hummingbird sculptures stand 20.4" tall x 24.9" wide x 25.5" deep.

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