Da Vinci’s Designs Scale Model Competition & Exhibition

Leonardo da Vinci did much more than paint the Mona Lisa. He drew designs for inventions well ahead of his time, especially on the subject of flight. While Leonardo built a few models of his designs, most probably stayed on paper. For the da Vinci’s Designs Scale Model Competition & Exhibition we asked our model builders to take his designs off the paper and build them.

Winning Entries along with other entries are on display in the museum. Below are photos and the model builder’s written descriptions of the winning models.

Da Vinci’s Design’s 2008 Winners

Grand Prize Winners

Ages 8-12 Name: Nicole Mehrer

Description: I chose this da Vinci design because it was very interesting to me. I was most interested in this design because of it shape and purpose. I like the fact that it is supposed to be the origin of the helicopter. I heard about this design a long time ago and had always been interested in it though I had never thought about building it until now. I took wood and cut in into pieces then put them together with wood glue. The material is a sheet that was no longer going to be used for anything. We cut a piece of the material into a large circle and cut a hole in the middle so that it was easier to place around the base of the aerial screw. Then I glued in to the supports and finished the screw.

Ages 13-18 Name: Fabiola Sanchez-Martinez

Description: I chose this da Vinci design because, out of all of his designs this is the one that seemed to have evolved the most. This design consists of various components which would have been turned by people, and thus this “helicopter” would propel into the air; whereas nowadays, helicopters do not need to be propelled my people in order to be successful. The design was built with various pieces of wood, ,paper, nails, hot glue, and paint. The base was made by cutting a round piece of wood, the two center round pieces were made by cutting a round piece of wood into the desired height. The main pole running down the middle of the design was made by cutting a broom stick, the three suspending pieces of the design were obtained by cutting bamboo skewers, the propeller was made with white construction paper. Hot glue was used to secure the skewers into the base and nails were used to secure the base and the bottom round piece into place.

1st Place Winners

Ages 8-12 Name: Maddy Villacruz

Description: da Vinci’s hang glider appealed to me because of a fascinating trip to Torrey Pines National Park. I was there I saw many hang gliders and it inspired me to make da Vinci’s hang glider. I made this design by drawing da Vinci’s hang glider on a piece of paper. After I did that I put a piece of wax paper over my drawing. Then I took small wooden sticks, glued them down on the design in the sizes and shapes I needed them. Then I made two triangles out of wood and made the seat. After everything was dry I cut the wax paper out as close as the model as possible, and then I had my model of da Vinci’s glider.

Ages 13-18 Name: Angélica Suárez-Ramírez

Description: I chose the aerial screw as my design because the shape is innovative and intricate. This shape would create a challenge while building and creativity. To build this model I used paper, thread, cardboard, and wire. The paper was easily folded to make its shape and the base was cut out from a bigger square of cardboard. This base allowed me to put the thread though it with a needle in order to attach it onto the propellers. The wire was used to attach the propellers to the stick by holding the base together. This model was a precursor to the helicopter and it can be seen by the idea of the movement needed in order to hold something up.

2nd Place Winners

Ages 8-12 Name: Hayley Ferguson

Description: Leonardo Da Vinci invented a pyramid shaped parachute that would enable a person to experience flight and yet still land safely. Da Vinci also one time wrote, “-He will be able to throw himself from great height without damage for him.” I chose Leonardo Da Vinci’s parachute invention because I like parachutes. I also like the idea of trying to fly and then being able to land safely.

Ages 13-18 Name: Jahan Tajran

Description: I chose this Da Vinci design because it was a very intriguing invention itself. I wanted to build it because it gave me a little explanation on how to make parachute. I built this in a very creative way. I first cut 12 pieces of 16-inch balsa wood and glued 4 triangles. With super glue, I glued 4 triangles into a pyramid and then glued a string from the center of the pyramid. It was a very informational project. I built this in a very creative way.

3rd Place Winners

Ages 8-12 Name: Caulin Dooley

Description: I Caulin Dooley chose to construct Da Vinci’s parachute for this assignment because when I first received this I instantly saw the parachute I knew I had the materials and I invisioned it. I did this parachute not because it was easy, but, because I felt confident in myself that I could do it, and do it right. I built my parachute out of wooden skewers (food covered before I washed them) for the base and support. Then I used my trusty gorrilla glue for combining, but the first frame broke because of the expansion of the glue, and then I cut up pieces of tent fabric for the covering material. The pilot of the parachute was found by me in my little brothers room lying under his bed upside down.

Ages 13-18 Name: Ethan Bark

Description: I choose Da Vinci’s parachute because, I have always been fascinated with how it would have actually flown if the drawing had ever been made into a real 3D flying machine. Leonardo Da Vinci’s work has always made me wonder where we would me in aviation without him. I built this in a very creative way. I first cut out 12 pieces of 14-inch balsa wood and glued 4 triangles. With super glue, I glued 4 triangles into a pyramid and then glued a string from each side of the pyramid. It was a very informational project.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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