Are you a fan of Futurama? Do you wish you could have the show's most lovable robot sitting right on your desk? Nevermind don't answer that of course you do! In a few hours we were able to make a small, light-up, model of none other then Bender Bending Rodriguez, using fairly common materials. We built the main body with foam and leftover wire wrapped with tinfoil, and programmed it using an arduino uno. The model we built is fully programmable but could be used as a static model, as it is fairly posable. No matter what you use it for, whether it be a desk toy or a prop in a live action showing of Futurama, it's a nice DIY figure for any Futurama fan!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials/tools
- foam block
- tin foil
- thick wire
- thin back wire
- computer paper
- 2 motors
- 5 5mm LEDs
- electrical wire
- arduino uno
- thin wood
- band saw
- foam cutter
- hot glue gun
- soldering iron and 60/40 solder
- solder tip cleaner
- helping hands
Step 2: Mark Out Your Measurements
First you will need to mark out the measurements of your head and body on 2 pieces of foam. The body should be 3 x 3 x 4 inches and the head should be 2.5 x 2.5 x 3 inches. Draw out the boxes and cut them out. Seen is our final drawing, which shoes the dimensions of everything.
Step 3: Outline Your Pieces
Now that you have blocks that are the right size, you need to make them the right shape. Start by finding the centerpoint of each block by drawing diagonals from corner to corner. then, measure the distance from the middle to each edge and keep measuring out that distance from the midpoint until you can freehand draw a circle connecting them. Cut out the circles with the laser cutter, and then eyeball the cuts, making the larger cylinder into a slightly trapezoidal shape and the smaller one into a large curve at the top.
Step 4: Hollow Out the Pieces
In this step you cut out the centers of the pieces. This is achieved by using the foam cutter used in the last step and cutting out a cylinder from the center of the body. Attach the two sides of the body together using whatever. We personally used paper clips but if other materials are available use that. After hollowing out the body take an xacto knife and cut two cylinders the side of the body so that the motors can be placed in these holes. Once this is finished take the xacto knife and cut out a place in the head so the antenna light can be put through the top as well as an area for the white leds in the visor.
Step 5: Cover All Pieces in Tin Foil
This step is pretty self explanatory. Just cover the head and body out of tin foil as well as make a tin foil visor. This step takes some craftsmanship and is very tedious but take a long time to do it to get everything smoothed out and don't be afraid to start over if the tin foil gets messed up.
Step 6: Build the Feet and Hands
in order to make the feet and hands cut out 4 small circles about 1.5 inches around and about 1 inch around for the feet and hands respectively. Each piece should be cut down until it looks like a semicircle for the feet and the hands must simply remain a circle. The fingers are simply thick wire hot glued to the foam. Lastly, wrap them in tin foil until they are smooth and shiny.
Step 7: Build the Legs and Arms
The legs and arms are very simple to build. Cut 4 2.75 inch pieces of your thick wire. then, wrap your wire with foil until the desired thickness is reached, we did about 1/2 inch. Then once its smooth and shiny, wrap it in your small black wire in a spiral shape. Do this with the other 3 and secure the hands and feet with hot glue on the ends.
Step 8: Wire Up Your Circuits
In our model we made 3 independent circuits. If you lack the skills, materials, or just don't want to use a feature you can simply remove the circuit. Circuit 1 is a 9v battery, leading to a switch, a 1K ohm resistor, 4 LEDs in parallel, and back to the battery. Circuit 2 is the exact same but instead of 4 white LEDs it's 1 red one. Finally, we wired a 9v battery to a switch, to the negative lead of a motor. We wired positive to positive, and negative back to the battery. This is so that the arms will both spin the same direction when installed. The circuit is pictured in both a breadboard prototype and schematic.
Step 9: Install Your Circuits
First you will need to build a wooden box to fit your circuit in. We cut out a 4" x 3" square, 2 4" by 2" rectangles, and 2 2 7/8" by 2" rectangles. the 1/8 inch off the last rectangles is to allow for the thickness of the wood. Assemble the box as shown, lining up the sides of the center rectangle with their corresponding 2" rectangles. Cut out smaller squated as supports, and hot glue everything in place. Finally, drill 3 holes in the front of the box and one on the top. Feed the circuits through the hole and drill a hole in the bottom of bender. Thread everything through that hole, and glue everything in place, The motors in the torso, the 4 leds in the eyes, and the red led at the antenna.
Step 10: Attach Everything to the Body
Attach the arms to the motors. This can be achieved by glueing a piece that attaches to the motor and grips on so the arm does not fly off. Attach the legs directly to the base. Do not bother with trying to attach them to the robot directly, it will not stand up, so an external device to make him stand up is needed. Attach the head to the body with hot glue and attach the body to the base with hot glue as well. Your bender will look like he is sitting down and relaxing.
Step 11: Reflect
From the hard and monotonous tin foil molding to the circuitry. My team and I enjoyed this project immensely, that does not mean that it is perfect though. What we didn't enjoy was the need to do mountains of paperwork and research to learn how to make basic circuits that we will need help on finishing anyway or the fact that we had very limited materials and were forced to brig our own materials form home to work on. We would allow more time for craftsmanship and less time on our failed attempt at an Arduino, as that took several days and was scrapped when we realized we didn't have time to use it. Also despite our circuits working, a few parts of the build look a little sloppy. Over all We enjoyed this project and had fun making Bender.
Step 12: Works Cited
From this we found information about shaping foam and assembling it into larger pieces
From this we found out which motors to use and how we could manipulate them. This came in handy when we weren't sure how to get the arms spinningin the same direction
Make: Getting Started with Arduino (pg 5-15) (pg most of the book)
Used to teach us arduino, less useful later on
Electronics for Dummies (different places depending on what we are doing)
This was used to teach us basic wiring and explained things like switches and LEDs