The Trained Dragon

People of all ages like the idea of playing and interacting with unique toys. Growing up, several members of the team fondly remembered playing with mechanically powered toys. Team members were, in part, inspired to pursue engineering because of these childhood memories. Even with this fondness, the process of creating a toy can be foreign to most. Therefore a project to create an action toy was conducted in the ME444 ‘CAD & prototyping’ class were the goal was to design a toy using CAD before further transitioning into a functional manufactured prototype .

To initiate the project, different ideas were brought up by group members and it was agreed upon to design a mechanical dragon with the potential incorporation of a ‘music box’ function. The main objective was to accomplish the swirling characteristic movement of an Asian dragon. Asian dragons differ from the prominent western cultural dragons which originate in Norse mythology. The western dragons are usually seen fire breathing and flying through the skies with large wings on their backs. Instead, the wingless Asian dragon swirls through the skies in a smooth motion similar to an eel. This pattern of motion for the Asian dragon was, however, difficult to mechanically design, therefore simplifications were made. The key function of the toy therefor narrowed to a simplify the Asian dragon movement by establishing a mechanically functional cam and rod system. The dragon itself was designed as head, body, and tail components with the head designed to rotate along the horizontal plane due to a specialty cam. This allowed the project to fulfill its requirement for two unique motions.