Molten Steelman

The Walking Beast is a mechanical creature that walks on 8 legs.

I call it the Beast because of it’s size. It weighs approximately 6 1/2 tons (13,000 lbs)! It stands 11 feet tall, 8′ 4″ wide and 24 feet long! It has a step hight of 41″ and a stride of 5 feet. It is capable of transporting 8 people including the driver. The machine is powered by a 454 cubic inch big block Chevy V-8 connected to a TH400 transmission modified with 475 straight cut gears and two Klune extreme under drive gear reduction boxes coupled to a modified rockwell 2 1/2 ton military differential that supplies power to the leg crank shafts, The Rockwell housing has been narrowed, disc brakes were added. The final drive ratio is 125 to 1. The legs are supported on a 4 link system and uses 56 pivot points and 114 bearings. 

The Beast started it’s life as a concept in December of 2004. After 2 1/2 months of designing the monster it was time for construction. The Beast took the first couple of steps mid summer of 2007 and showed some week links as well as the need for a larger gear reduction. Within a month the frame was cut, extended, the motor moved back about 16″ and two planetary gear reduction boxes were coupled together and mounted in place. The mechanical monster walked out of the shop for the first time only days before burning man 2007.

Steering became an issue and a hydraulic a frame was added to lift one side of the vehicle. The differential a 2 1/2 ton military truck axle was modified with a full spool to lock the two axle shafts together. The leg crank shafts were replaced with custom machined parts to increase strength. the turning system added more resistance to the axle shafts and they began to break. After the Denver mile high music festival in June of 2008 the differential was removed the housing was bored out and custom 5 ton shafts were made to replace the 2 1/2 ton parts as well as the shaft hubs and spool were replaced with larger after market parts commonly used for monster trucks. The a-frame for steering was changed from a side lift to a center lift and finished in time for burning man 2008. The Beast walked about a mile in 2008 and had a few bugs to work out as well as one week link that seemed to break after the first mile. The legs hit the ground with a lot of force causing some wiring problems as well as breaking a few parts and I heard many people tell me they could feel the ground shake from 500 feet away.

I added four 4,000 Lb coil springs to the upper arms to dampen the impact of the legs. The springs also help lift the legs for the next step greatly reducing the amount of power needed to initiate a step. This allowed us to walk a little faster at burning man 2009 as well as add a smoother ride for passengers. Fuel mileage increased from 10 gallons per mile to about 6 GPM. The EL wire was removed and bright LED light strips where added improving the lighting. There are currently about 1’000 Leds on the machine. The secondary planetary out put shaft has been upgraded, hopefully the last week link. In the near future I will be adding additional coil springs to the upper arms as well as slip plates to the legs. This should allow the machine to walk continuously and a little faster as well as improve fuel millage. Other items that I may add soon are flame cannons and hydraulics for balancing the steering system.

The Beast has been featured in Popular science magazine, FF journal, Discovery channel Canada, and made the front page in the Modoc independent news paper, it was mentioned on the Paul Harvey radio show as well as many internet sites like trend hunter, dark roasted blend, etc.

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