El Pulpo Mechanico – Machine Research Project
Last week I attended Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert in Nevada. There I’ve seen a lot of well made art mechanism. When I got the assignment for this class to find a machine that I like and think it is cool, I didn’t have any doubt what I will write about.
I want to share El Pulpo Mechanico machine with all of you. I love it! I was staring at this mechanism many times last week, and it looks cool and well made at day time and at night time as well.
El Pulpo Mecanico is a 25-foot-tall piece of art built in Humboldt County, California, created by artist Duane Flatmo.
Flatmo got the inspiration for El Pulpo Mecanico while visiting Mexico. During his travels, he saw a small metal octopus ornament.
“I brought it home and I decided I wanted to build a 25 foot one,” said Flatmo
El Pulpo Mecanico has been to four Burning Man festivals, as well as Las Vegas, San Francisco and a couple other tours.
The art piece is not computerized at all. It is completely mechanical and is controlled by Flatmo himself.
“The “El Pulpo” is a combination of art and technology melded together. We built this knowing that it would be fun to watch as the giant cam spun up through the center moving the tentacles and eyes in and out while fire spewed from the tentacles and head. No hydraulics or computers were used in this contraption. We built the sculpture primarily out of recycled and used junk found at our local scrap yard.”- mentioned on the official website of El Pulpo Mechanico. (http://www.elpulpomecanico.com/project.html)
The mechanism of this machine you can see on following videos:
on this video we see wheel and axle mechanism maks tentacles move
El Pulpo Mechanico is representation of simple machines, such as levers, pulleys, wheels and axles, and gears. Creators made this machine simple to operate and beautiful for gapers.
I’ve decided to make a prototype of a moving picture on a wall.
While I was drawing the idea on paper, I was trying to decide how I’m going to build this project. When I had an answer in my head, I started looking for sources in internet that could match my idea. My thought was to build a “sliding door” with two pictures on it using pneumatics. So, I started looking online how people build sliding door, and found a blog that helped me to build my prototype.
I chose pneumatics to move my picture, I think this is more officiant way to build theatre related products and also I wanted to test myself. Working on pneumatics on paper (and not only pneumatics, almost everything) doesn’t give you enough understanding. TESTING is a main key!
When I had an answer how to build moving picture I started looking for accessible materials: mounting brackets, tracks, cylinders, etc. Most of the materials I found at McMAster.com.
I started a process from building the moving part in my project, testing it (had some misunderstanding which way cylinder goes, while it’s activated ), and then creating a frame for it.
I think my overall process went smooth, I had good sources at the beginning. For my first pneumatic experience I’m happy with the result, my model is accurate enough – it works!
In real life things depended on a completion of overall production with tones of projects like this one, and things can change by a specific task, like weight, position, noise, speed, size, etc. And I’m sure my project will be different in a way in a real production.