The Flight of VeePees

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In my initial sketches for the character of VeePees, one thing that always felt right was his ability to fly. In the source image I saw a look of exhilaration, with his arms spread in a flying motion and an unclear mess of lines (possibly acceleration) where his legs should be.

I like the idea of his underside being some kind of propulsion system, balanced by the Tesla Coils on his arms, with a similar method of flight to Iron Man.

When thinking about this method of flight, the first things that came to mind were robots who have some kind of power system instead of legs, such as the Ratchet and Clank robots, some designs from Futurama, and Eve from Wall-E

In the end I felt that the designs for Eve in Wall-E and the robot from Futurama were too streamlined and futuristic to fit in the rough steam-punk style of the Tesla Gun. I love the characters from Ratchet:Gladiator, the way they curve down in a fluid way to a large engine spewing fire, it’s very visual – almost like you can guess how the thing is powered behind the casing. This is the kind of look I want for VeePees

During my research into Nikola Tesla and his inventions, I stumbled across his experiment ‘The Egg of Columbus’

The expression refers to a popular story of how Columbus, having been told that discovering the Americas was no great accomplishment, challenged his critics to make an egg stand on its tip; and, after they gave up, he did it himself by tapping the egg on the table so as to flatten its tip

The Egg of Columbus is basically an egg that stands on its tip in a rotating magnetic field. It was used to demonstrate the rotating magnetic field model and the induction motor using a copper egg in a rotating magnetic field, which stands on end due to gyroscopic action. The device used a doughnut shaped iron core on which four coils were wound and was powered by a two-phase AC current to create the rotating magnetic field.

In reality the rotating magnetic field used to suspend the copper egg was probably not very interesting to look at (with the current rotating instead of the object) and it was certainly not capable of powering flight, but the title inspired me to make something really cool to power VeePees.

I like the idea of interpreting a rotating magnetic field as ring rotating around a core, and this would be a really cool, but simple enough way of powering VeePees in flight. It’s not real science, but it’s close enough, especially if the timeline of history really was changed in Tesla’s favour..

  • Nikola Tesla: Contributions and Inventions in Electricity and Magnetism. 2013. Nikola Tesla: Contributions and Inventions in Electricity and Magnetism. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.juliantrubin.com/bigten/tesla.html. [Accessed 02 November 2013].
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