Doctor Who has had many companions over the years, and when fans get asked "Who is your favourite Dr Who companion?", you will usually hear answers like Rose Tyler, Sarah-Jane Smith, Captain jack Harkness, Leela and Jamie McCrimmon among a few others. But whenever I get asked, I have one simple answer, K-9. Although he was not in many Doctor Who episodes, only the ones with Tom Baker and 1 episode with David Tennant, I just couldn't get enough of the little guy. He was witty, loyal, very clever, and of-course, he looked really cool. I mean, come on, he was a robot dog. How cool is that. Not to mention he had a bite worse than his bark in the form of a laser weapon (very cool if your 8 or 80).
So after building Dalek BOB
, there was only one logical conclusion, to build my own K-9. But before I get any virtual "rotten tomato's" thrown at me and saying "Yours looks different to the original" I'll be the first to put my hands up and agree. Allow me to explain. The idea was to build a proper full size replica using MDF wood that I hopefully will start to build later in the year (2014), so I started to make a rough scale size(about half size) frame and side panels using cardboard to see if I could get the body shape right. I did make a bit of a boo boo and got the measurements and overall design a bit wrong, but not wanting to waste the cardboard I had cut out, using a radio controlled tank I had laying around, and raiding the recycle bin again for any useful boxes and items waiting to be thrown out, it ended up becoming a full build, having a little fun with the body design and adding some different features. (phew, I think I got away with that one)
Just before I list the materials I used, I would like to tell you about the main inspiration behind this build. Apart from wanting my own K-9 because I love dogs and love robots, and the superb K-9 Instructable made by Podpadstudios
, the main reason was that I came across an artificial intelligence research website
which offered an iPhone / Android / PC app in the form of a "chatbot" with a voice synthesizer, and I thought to myself "I want to use that in a robot", and what better way to use it, than in a homemade K-9. If your not familiar chatbots, they are computer program's designed to simulate an intelligent conversation via text and/or speech recognition, meaning you can have a real time conversation and see or hear what the chatbot responds with. The app offers a pre-programmed bot you can teach, add, and change responses to, or a bot you can train yourself from scratch. The voice has a great robotic sound which is very clear to understand (I'll try to make and add a video to the end of this Instructable). Not quite the high pitched, nasally, pedantic tone superbly voiced by John Leeson in the show and spin off's and briefly by David Brieley , but it sounded good enough for me. Anyway, more on the voice later.
Most of the materials I used were from our recycling bin and other items I had laying around the house. The only items I purchased will be at the end of the list. So, what did I use to make this little guy?
Corrugated cardboard from packing boxes
Thin cardboard from a couple of cereal boxes
Long cardboard tubes from Christmas wrapping paper and aluminium foil rolls
PVC foam carpet underlay cut off's
1 length of bamboo
A length of disused plastic curtain rail
Vacuum cleaner hose
6 red LED bulbs
5 orange LED bulbs
A black plastic ring (not sure what it came from)
2 telescopic aerials from a broken indoor TV antenna
A translucent pink drinking straw
Battery powered WiFi camera
An old MP4 player
2 translucent DVD cases, 1 red, 1 green
A length of foam tube (water pipe insulator)
A battery powered sound activated flashing light circuit
Various screws, nuts and bolts
And of-course 1 radio controlled tank which had been sitting in a box for a few years. Slightly worse for wear but fully functional.
The few parts I purchased were
A length of 20, battery powered, blue LED's (around £3.50 / $5.70)
2 cans of 500ml grey primer spray (£7.00 / $11.50 for both)
1 can of 500ml clear lacquer (£6.50 / $10.60)
and a small T.A.R.D.I.S keyring (£4.50 / $7.30)
The tools and adhesives I used were,
Set of electrical/jewellery screwdrivers
Pair of scissors
Pen or pencil
A straight length of scrap wood
Black permanent marker
Drill with various drill bits
1 tube of grab adhesive (No More Nails of similar)
And a small peace of Velcro.
So before we start, I just want to reiterate that the actual dimensions and measurements I used for this build, are not correct specifications to make a true scale size replica of the original, but measurements I used to make the little guy you see in the photos. Example's of this is the head I made should of ideally been slightly longer and thinner, and the body taller and angled towards the top of the body, but as I mentioned before, I now wasn't going for exact, I going for my own interpretation and to have a little fun with it. I will however, use the correct specs for my wooden full size replica which I will feature later in the year. I also used some artistic license for things like the eyes, ears, and control panel, just so I could add some features and make it a more fun and personal custom build.
I hope that this Instructable will give you some ideas and inspiration, and that you find it entertaining and informative. I have tried to keep it as simple as I can, yet detailed enough for any novice and seasoned builders alike and including photos you can refer to. So, lets begin