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This is a project that I’ve put roughly 700 hours into. It is my eighth woodworking design project, and it is by far the most complicated one I’ve done to date. This is Colibri.



It began with a lunchtime conversation between a friend and I, bouncing ideas around about what my next woodworking project could be. For most of our conversation, few ideas peaked my interest. Then it hit me. I wanted to try and step out of my comfort zone and do something that I had never done before. I wanted to make something whose motions were organic and fluid, a piece that simulated something found in nature. I turned to my friend, “What if I made a sculpture of a hummingbird flying in slow motion?” “How are you going to do that?” he asked. I paused, and then replied, “I have no idea.” He laughed, “Cool, you should do that.”



So it started. I scoured the internet for study material: slow motion hummingbirds videos. I watched them for hours, trying to fully understand all the motions I wanted to include in my sculpture. I used some of the videos I had found as underlays to create 3D animations of Colibri’s movements, carefully matching my animations to the motions in the videos. From there came the painstaking process of generating the mechanisms that could drive those motions. Coming up with the basic mechanisms was an immense challenge in itself. Fine-tuning them to closely match the motion of the animations added an entirely new layer of complexity.



On top of making the sculpture function as intended, I felt it was important that the appearance of Colibri’s forms complimented its movements. For this reason, nearly every shape in the sculpture is constructed from tapering, sweeping curves. Straight lines and geometric shapes were only used when necessary, to help minimize a machine-like appearance and promote a more organic aesthetic.



For more information, or to get detailed woodworking plans for Colibri, please visit my website: www.derekhugger.com

And, last but not least, here is a video of Colibri in motion:
https://youtu.be/1scj5sotD-E

I’d love to hear your thoughts.
-Derek
 

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was2ndlast – There is a small 7 RPM AC synchronous motor in the back, under the tail and near the counterweight.

Barong02 – If you can accurately cut parts on a bandsaw/scroll saw, and if you can follow Lego style assembly instructions, you can make this! Take a look at the sample plans (scroll to the bottom of the Colibri page on my website). They'll give you an idea for what you'd get.
 

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Sort of. I'm a bit of a weird hybrid. Half my schooling was engineering, the other half was graphic design and animation. Although my full time job is mostly engineering, I'm not technically an engineer ;)
 

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Sort of. I'm a bit of a weird hybrid. Half my schooling was engineering, the other half was graphic design and animation. Although my full time job is mostly engineering, I'm not technically an engineer ;)
Myself as well. I shared this with people at work (all engineers) and they thought it was really well executed. Great job!
 
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