Here's a cardboard model for the wings, now promising enough to start building a prototype out of wood. The cardboard model contains placeholders for all the movements, but now I need to make a 3D version to see how it works in the real world...
I started with a pile of sketches, redrawing ideas for each joint from different angles and organizing them with each other. The goal: imitate a real duck's wing movements, closed and open, with the least controls.
In the 80's I spent a lot of time thinking about and making sketches for a mechanical duck as an exercise. On the road performing magic shows, we'd stop at a Denny's and I'd look over my drawings. I bought whole ducks in San Francisco's chinatown and studied them to get a picture of the proportions and how the joints moved; measuring and making drawings. I have a large folder of sketches from those days.
The movement of a bird's wing is complex. Each of the primary and secondary feathers move independently and fold over each other. The elbow turns out to be the most challenging as it unfolds in two dimensions. I don't think I'll tackle the upper "web" area. As usual the enemy is friction, there will have to be a lot of springs...
Progress of the Mechanical Duck
Donations of any amount to the Mechanical Duck are greatly appreciated. They are used to open up time to move the