Introduction: Ask an Engineer Ninjabot Plushies

You won't find them here, there or anywhere. You have to make them yourself because they are engineered to be open source ninjas.

As an unintended consequence of the change in showtimes of the weekly Adafruit Ask an Engineer webcast, Saturday nights are now free for more making.

Submitted for your approval, is the ninja plush cast of Adafruit Ask an Engineer:

Adabot, ninjabot of Circuit Playground

Ladyada, ninjabot engineer

Phil Torrone, ninjabot

and Becky Stern, ninjabot of Wearable Electronics

And what do they do? Anything. Because they can.

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fabric. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is, well, purely intentional.

Step 1: It's the BOM (Bill of Materials)

These plushies were created from cloth remnants I had lying around from previous projects.

I had some felt sheets in white, blue and fabric in black.

I had some googly eyes( I always pick up an assortment pack at the craft or dollar store because you never know when they will come in handy and will always misplace the previous pack ).

Various colors of yarn.

A tiny bit of foam sheet to make the eyeglass frame, base of the EL wire bow, and Adafruit ninja throwing stars.

Blue paracord for Adabot trim and EL wire bow.

Fiberfill and any leftover packing foam to stuff the plushie.

You can sew this by hand but a sewing machine makes life easier and so does a serger.

A hot glue gun is helpful to instantly attach the details like trim cord and the googly eyes.

CAUTION: Learn how to sew.  Know how to operate sewing machines and sergers safely. Good scissors are sharp and pointy. Rotary cutters are even sharper. Even the cool temp hot glue guns are hot.

Step 2: Go With the Flow...

OK, this was not designed on a napkin like Compaq but I just used a blank sheet of paper.

Folded in half it seemed to be a nice size to make the plushie.

Fold that in quarters to get the proportions of face, arms and legs.

Freehand sketch the details which will be the cutting templates for the fabric.

To maximize the use of fabric or fabric scraps, the arms will be cut out separately and pieced together with the torso.  You can lay this out as a single shape but there would be too much waste pieces left over. 

Since this plushie is basically constructing a pillow, double the fabric for two layers which form the front and back.

Use your template to cut out the appropriate pieces.

I really hadn't thought through how to form the inside of the gripper claws so I just used a diamond shaped filler piece.

Step 3: Hands on Production...

This Adabot plushie is a little more complicated than the others.

The arm and gripper claws are made first so you can embed them with the rest of the body.

I wanted a 3D effect on the gripper claw so there is a filler piece that must be sewn in first before the arm tube is seamed.

It would have taken a few more pieces to construct a fully C-shaped open tube.  I knew that trying to sew something that small or close on a sewing machine would be difficult so I went with simplicity. 

A diamond shaped filler piece is sewn to the sides of the open gripper claw. 

The arm is then seamed on both sides along the length to close up the tube.

Then it is turned inside out to give the smooth seam appearance.

Sew on the portion that represents the exposed face where the eyes go.

Sew on the lightning bolt chest emblem.

Step 4: Twist and Shout...

We are now ready to create the inside out sandwich of the front and back body pieces with the arms in place inside.

Sew around and be careful to sew only one side of the arm tube to the front side or back side of the body.

Peek inside to make sure the sewing needle caught all the edges of the fabric pieces.

Note that I have a picture of a seam ripper which I had to use.  

Since the entire assembly needs to be turned inside out to provide smooth seams, the leg opening I left was too small to get everything turned out.

My recommendation like I did with the rest is to just seam around the entire body. Go back and cut the slit to separate the legs.

Stuff with whatever you got.

Close up the opening by hand sewing or with the sewing machine.  I got lazy and used the sewing machine.  Note that there is a "Henson stitch" which is used to close up the opening.  You can look the technique up but it was developed for use on Muppet puppets for an invisible seam.  I am not an operating room surgeon so I don't know what they use to suture up.

Step 5: Things Get Hairy...

You can use hot glue or sewing to attach the strands of yarn for the hair.

I just bunched a few pieces of yarn and sewed down where it needed to be tacked in place.

Cut and blow dry.

It looks marvelous.

Step 6: Cut From a Different Cloth...

The black fabric was a lot easier to work with than the thicker blue felt.

I used a serger to seam around the whole thing.  The advantage of a serger is that it binds and trims the edge as you serge along.

Cut the leg slits and turn inside out.

Use a hot glue gun to attach the googly eyes and accessories.

Stuff with stuffing and sew the opening shut.

Use hot glue to tack down the blue paracord and wind around the arm. Just tack down in spots on the back of the arm.

Step 7: Now You See Them...

You can make a batch without eyes which would probably be appropriate for those wanting to break out an Arduino the first chance they get when out on Rumspringa.

Basic black. It works. But when you want a little bit more...

Ladyada ninjabot
Maybe embed a set of laser eyes?

Becky Stern ninjabot
You could accessorize with so many other wearable electronics items.  Glowing LED bow instead of EL wire? There are so many things you can make with an Adafruit Flora, Gemma or Trinket.  And season well with plenty of Neopixels but remember your current draw.

Phil Torrone ninjabot
Note that he has special Adafruit Shuriken/Shaken. They were 3D printed using ninjaflex material.  It allows safe use in office wars because everyone has fun until you poke an eye out. And office trebuchets? So medieval.  They are really foam sheet cutouts with some glow in the dark paint adafruit seed lines painted on.

Make several today.  One to keep and a few to give away

Enjoy!

Comments

author
Kjata1013 (author)2014-04-12

This is the cutest thing I've ever seen! Please tell me you showed them this!

author
caitlinsdad (author)Kjata10132014-04-13

Thanks, it was a toss up between making wee ninjas or Domo.

author
hunter999 (author)2014-04-13

Very cute idea, thanks for sharing. :)

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