I have been working on a constellation project with my oldest daughter for school. My 6 year old decided she wanted to do a project with me too. She wanted to make a gray robot with eyes that light up when you push a red button on his chest. I asked her to draw the robot so I had an idea of what she was going for.
|boxes for the body and head|
With blueprint in hand I looked through my collection of junk to find some suitable robot parts. I found a bunch of small boxes for her to choose from. She selected two gray plastic boxes, a large one for the body and a smaller one for the head. I was going to use two LEDs for the eyes until I found a collection of buttons, lights, and music from an old baby toy I had disassembled. The electronics were powered by three button cell batteries which were just about dead. I can't stand button cells so I pulled a 3 AAA battery pack from a cheap flashlight and wired that in. We then used hot glue to secure the electronics into the body. The button had a flat back and only needed a small hole for the wires to pass through.
We tried to drill the 1" holes for the eyes but the box cracked. Luckily I had more. So I used a small tip on my soldering iron and cut out the holes by melting the plastic. That worked pretty well. The eyes were then hot-glued in place. We joined the head to the body with a screw through a short length of 1/2" PVC pipe. The head can swivel left and right.
|starting to look like a robot|
My daughter adapted the design and decided one antenna was better than two. So we used a length of wire and a bead. For arms we used 3/8" nylon tubing, one piece through the whole body. The fit is tight enough that we didn't need to glue them in. That makes them somewhat poseable as they can rotate around. The boss decided to nix the hands.
|arms and antenna|
We looked through my junk for some suitable legs. Instead we decided to give her robot wheels. We used two lids from ice cream containers and screwed them to the body. To keep the robot upright, I made a little leg out of a short piece of aluminum tubing with an end cap. I threaded the tube 1/4"-20 and screwed it to the body. Lastly we needed a "smile". It was very important that it was a smile, not your typical robot grille mouth. I found a cable of multi-colored wires that my daughter like so we cut it to length and glued it to the head.
That left only one thing, the all important button needed to be red. Well she made one more executive decision and decided to go with blue. She colored it with a permanent marker.
When you push the button, the eyes flash and the robot plays one of about 5 different tunes. She is so proud of her project; she planned a big reveal for the whole family and even brought him into bed with her that night. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next!