Wings That Work

Wingpack01_t.jpg (13129 bytes)

(Click on the pictures for a more detailed explanation.)

The third generation wing armature uses regulated CO2 pressure for its power source.   Twin pneumatic pistons drive the wings upward at a controlled rate, and fold them out from behind the back at the same time.  The motion is smooth, powerful and almost completely silent.  This is the wingpack armature shown at FurCon 2000.

Wings1a_t.jpg (17094 bytes) The second generation armature used a cordless screwdriver as a power source.  The motor was intended to help the spring action with nylon cords and pulleys.  A pair of relays started and reversed the motor, controlled by magnetic reed switches in the gloves to open and close the wings, and three limit switches to stop the motor when it reached the limit of movement.  The idea was good, but the implementation fell short.  Any slack in the cord would cause the pulleys to foul, and the torque would snap the cord.  It did this with remarkable regularity.
wing22_t.jpg (9645 bytes) Here's the first working armature.  It was built out of 1/8" thick aluminum bars, gate hinges and a workman's tool harness.   The mid wing arms had to be lengthened because they turned out a little too short, but otherwise it was a complete success.  The problem was how to make it move.  I was too optimistic at first about opening it by just raising and lowering my shoulders.  The armature was balanced and sprung well enough, but simple friction in the nylon bearings overcame the small mechanical advantage at my shoulders, and made it impossible to control the wings without assistance.
wing2_t.jpg (4419 bytes) The idea started out simple.  My first fursuit, twenty years ago, was a full-body dragon.  It didn't have wings, but I would have liked it to...  so I've been thinking about how to build wings ever since.  This simple prototype is made out of popsicle sticks and push pins.  It combines the skeletal structure of a bird's wing with Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion principles, to make a simple, balanced armature that can open to a 12 foot or greater wingspan, yet is light enough to wear all day.
All of the designs, images and construction details on these pages are Copyright (C)2000 by Charlie Kellner and Doug Linger.  You may link to these pages if you wish, but please don't repost or publish the information.  Permission is granted to use these designs for making your own personal costumes.  For commercial use or resale, please contact