die Motte

Mobile art sculpture – work in progress

July 26th, 2018: Gantry welding

Haig the professional, on the job with the arc welder.

July 13th, 2018: Updated Sketchup model

Haig created a Sketchup model for the diagonal gantry which will house the accumulators. We have since changed direction and decided to go with a horizontal gantry to keep all the accumulators up and out of human reach, as per the original plans.


die Motte mobile sculpture design description


die Motte is an interactive flame effects sculpture in the form of a moth.

The intention is to build the moth facade out of lightweight materials (aluminium and/or wire mesh on a steel frame) and then mount sculpture onto a vehicle. Similar to the mobile butterfly sculpture pictured below.

Early sketch from artist Stephen Ives.

Adorning the back of die Motte and protruding up high above its head will be synchronised flame effects. The propane-fuelled flames will be controlled by Arduino or similar so that they may shoot flames in patterns when a button or sequence of buttons are pushed. Flame effects are intended to be human operated, and not on a timing circuit.

The above images show the sculpture mounted onto a vehicle which will make die Motte mobile. We intend to paint and cover most of the vehicle so that it is unobtrusive and appears to be part of the moth. The wings and head will be built onto a strong gantry bolted onto the top of the vehicle, which will also house all flame effect components.

The flame effect will be an accumulator system where propane gas is provided to the effect outlet via multiple accumulator cylinders after the main gas supply. Please see the Coco Poco Locomotive Design Description and Fire Safety Plan for more details, as this flame effect will be almost identical except there will be 3-5 flame outlets instead of only two, and each flame outlet will have its own accumulator and solenoid to control the output rather than just the one on the Coco Poco Locomotive.

Flames to be located at a height that is out of reach of a full size adult. Appropriate fire safety apparatus on board and fire safety plan required.

Following are images showing different viewing angles of the Sketchup concept models of butterfly merged with a taylor dunn tow tug vehicle.

Detailed flame effect design


The entire art car should be easily dismantled for transportation on a small trailer and for storage.

Intended overall size of the art car is approximately 6mL x 6mW x 5mH.

Sound and Lighting

Sound will be provided by a 12VDC car stereo sound system.

Micro-controlled LEDs will provide programmed patterned lighting.

Power will be provided by 12VDC battery and inverter.