Dragon Teeter-Totter

Above: an Autodesk Mudbox 3d rendering of the Dragon’s Head.

Seen above: exploded view

The Dragon Teeter Totter is a combination of a ride for kids (or adults), a puppet and a dynamic sculpture.

As the riders tip themselves back and forth, the dragon will flex and bend its neck and tail and flap its wings in response. The riders can also pull levers that open the dragon’s mouth and spin a wheel in its head that throws off sparks.

The basic teeter totter, which seats two, pivots on a central post.

Neck, Tail, and wings are attached to the “body”, which has two saddle-shaped seats.

Dragon Scale Segment– Video (Quicktime mov)

Or click here to see it on Youtube

The head and tip of the tail are supported by posts, which allow the tail and neck to slide back and forth with the rocking motion of the ride. The wings are hinged to the body at the shoulder and supported at mid point by posts, which allows them to rock up and down with the movement of the riders.

The segments of the neck and tail are relatively simple: a single sheet of metal folded into an inverted U shape, wider at one end and narrower at the other. with a large thorn-shaped spine at one end to form the ridges along the dragon’s back.

The dragon’s head in the “exploded model” is very spiky, due to limitations in the way Sketchup handles curves. The model of the head would be more like this:

Because the head and tail would be moved back and forth with the rocking motion, they need to be secured to a post with a “slide” at the bottom, that would guide and stabilize the head.

The segments fit together, inserting the narrower end into the wider like stacking cups, and are held together and pivot on a simple pin.

For kids or adults riding the dragon, they should get the experience of “flying” the dragon, with neck and tail arching and wings flapping as using their own power.

I have contacted a local blacksmith to make a mock-up and build a working prototype.

If you’re interested in updates – or your own dragon, contact me at jetpackmedia@me.com.

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