Saphiro the Blue dragon

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This project is the result of the #RobotRemix4 challenge. I was invited to come up with ideas for combining the 42066 Acrobatic Jet with the 31313 basic mindstorms set. Contrary to the EV3 elephant this model can turn left and right and flap it’s wings. It’s also much larger and the sets required to build it are cheaper!

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Programming the dragon

Programming the Saphiro the blue dragon is harder than it looks. I’ve seen many advanced Mindstorms builders struggle with it. You need to synchronize left and right legs. And you need to re-synchronise them after saphire took a left or right turn. Moving the head is also interesting, because there is a limit to how far the head can move up and down. You need to find those limits by detecting whether the motor stalls. To ease programming for you I have included a download link below.

Design Process

In this slightly longer video you can get an impression of the design process. I started with a walking mechanism and built the dragon from there. I quickly discovered that the total weight of the dragon is problematic for most walking systems. In the end LEGO is just plastic. So I needed a strong and smart construcion. After walking worked more or less I moved on to the wings. I wanted a double action wing movement, much like real birds. So not just flapping, but also tilting and moving the wings forward. In the last stage I detailed the head. This was more work than I expected. The head changes the total model impression a lot. A draws a lot of attention. So it need to be just the right size and just right dangerous expression.

Rotating action stand

After showing the dragon on some fairs Martyn Boogaerts had the idea of building a dragon stand that was high enough to allow for flapping wings. I took his idea one step further and made a rotating version. You can also build that stand with the pieces of the two remix boxes. There are separate building instrucions on Bricklink for it. (See below for links.)

What you need to build one for yourself

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  • Studio software and the model file
  • The EV3 program file program file
  • Rotating display stand building instructions


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