Introduction: Computer Bugs

Picture of Computer Bugs

How to turn old computer parts into cute little bugs.
Help save the environment at least a little plus make gifts for friends and family

Step 1: Tools of the Trade

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Gather your supplies, I included but might not use each time:
Circuit Board (obsolete/dead)
Soldering Iron
Super Glue
Nail Clippers

Step 2: Stripping

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A quick and dirty way to get your parts is to heat up one side of the board where the part is and pull on the other with pliers or fingers. Rocking it back and forth as you do will work it out slowly.
Please be careful as you could burn yourself on this step. Always prep your iron before use, cleaned and tinned for maximum efficiency.
Gather as many parts as you can, off any thing you can find.
VCRs, computers, clocks, printers, stereo equipment etc. are great sources for parts
I keep mine in a compartmentalized box sorted by type, color, shape and/or size.

Step 3: The Gathering

Picture of The Gathering

Now collect the parts you want to use for your bug. Sometimes I go for a theme, same color or all small parts.
I use resistors for legs (grab 6 of the same general color)
A capacitor for the abdomen (back end)
and a transistor for the head.

Step 4: Parts Prep

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Now that you have your parts selected you should get them ready.
Straighten out the leads on each of the parts and use the knife to trim off any large lumps of solder.

Step 5: Soldering Take 1

Picture of Soldering Take 1

Tape the 6 legs down in 2 rows so they meet in one spot, this is where the main body will be and the main junction for all attachments.

Step 6: Soldering Take 2

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By now your iron should be hot and ready to go. With a delicate touch solder all legs together. You might need some pliers to rearrange them if they don't cooperate.

Step 7: Soldering Take 3

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Next is the abdomen, solder carefully so the legs don't come off. Position it so as the solder cools it will be in line with the main body.

Step 8: Head Prep

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Now we work on the head, I like the transistors because they can be used several ways.
In this one I went with antenna, that is the outer leads are straightened and bent outward some while the center is bent back ( the neck) for attachment to the body. You can also go the other way and place them down and bent inward like pincers. If you go with a different type you may have to glue it to the main body instead.

Step 9: Soldering Take 4

Picture of Soldering Take 4

Now to finish up the soldering, place the head in position and zap it with the iron. If did the head the other way you can add small diodes or resistors here for antenna.

Step 10: Eyeballs

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Bugs don't have eyeballs but this isn't your typical bug.
Start with a base color, I used off white here, and make a big spot with a toothpick.
Let dry a bit then use a darker color (this time black) to make the pupil.
A steady hand is recommended for this step, it helps to rest your hands against each other to do fine work like this.
Colors are up to you and can be very wild if you want.
(shown here not attached to body for clarity)

Step 11: Glossy

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A final coat of gloss will give the eyes a bit of depth and protect the paint from chipping.

Step 12: Finishing

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Now it's almost done, all that is needed is a little tweaking.
Bend the legs a little for a cute pose, maybe tip the head a bit too.
Use the nail clippers to trim them to equal lengths.
Mix and match your parts, the only limit is your imagination.
Once you get a rhythm going it only takes a few minutes to put them together.
A great past time of you are watching a garage sale and don't have much else to do between customers.


redsunmtm made it! (author)2016-09-28

i have been doing that since 1998 to 2007, see here

TravisM18 (author)2016-01-22

I think if you used a vibrater motor with an off balanced weight and a small coil cell battery to run it and some sodered resistors for legs and a ceramic capacitor for heat could sould make a little jitter bug toy.

Lori Simpson (author)2015-10-02

This was a fun project. I'm stuck inside on a rainy day and could make these while watching Netflix. Thanks for sharing!

kaveh2 (author)2015-03-27

thanks dude when i found this site i was looking for a way to introduce
it to my friends and your project really helped me with that.

nnygamer (author)kaveh22015-04-15

Well thank you too. When I did this years ago as my first instructable I tried to be thorough and clear. I'm glad that it was well done enough to help you introduce others to the sight and hopefully inspire them to make some instructables (and bugs) of their own.

kaveh2 (author)nnygamer2015-07-27

Thanks to you my friend i have an inspiration which i am going to put it on instructables if i do not forget.

nnygamer (author)kaveh22015-07-30

That's great, I hope your instructable will inspire others too.

kaveh2 (author)nnygamer2015-08-08

i was contemplating to make computer action figures by using only hot glue and cutting the you think that it will interfere with

Zlaja Genije topics.

nnygamer (author)kaveh22015-08-11

I think it would be fine.

Zlaja Genije made it! (author)2015-08-07

Here`s mine creation.

emilyvanleemput (author)2014-06-09

These are just the cutest little bugs!!

WJR339007 (author)2014-04-18

Here are some that I made

nnygamer (author)WJR3390072014-04-19

Those are cute!

I'm glad that after almost 7 years on here this instructable is still getting messages ad people are still making the bugs!

David97 (author)2014-04-10

Just a few I made

nnygamer (author)David972014-04-10

Nice job! I need to make some more this summer.

ladylissa (author)2013-08-25

Would make cute ear rings!

KionK (author)2013-02-11

Ii is a good idea....

Myself (author)2007-08-20

I'm really surprised that you managed to find tantalum caps with such longs leads. Aren't they usually bent and trimmed pretty short? I'm guessing those were diagonal across DIP sockets, which are getting rare. Also, without getting too negative, can I nudge you on the "save the environment" line? I understand that these components don't go immediately into a landfill, but they also don't prevent anything new from being made, and they will probably end up in a landfill eventually. I see zero environmental impact from this, neither positive nor negative. I'm curious to hear your take on it.

ssshag (author)Myself2012-09-15

This IS in the realm of "save the environment" -- it IS recycling, and just as valid as any other recycling. THIS is something new getting made--art/craft. Anyway, eventually many or most of those other things being made from "traditional" recycling will end up where? They'll end up at, sooner, if not later (at the end of their recycling life), the landfill.

nnygamer (author)Myself2007-09-08

I know that it won't do much for the environment at first, but I hope that the bugs made will be around for a while and by the time they do end up being discarded the policies on recycling them will be much more advanced then now. As for the tantalum caps, well almost all my parts came from boards my cousin gave me that would have otherwise be buried in a landfill now. I think those came from an old Ethernet router.

build52 (author)2012-06-17

great job! 5 star!!!

Husham Samir (author)2012-06-17


nnygamer (author)2010-10-29

There are all kinds of places to get the components. Old radios, boom boxes, TV's (be careful with them), some telephones (not cell phones), VCRs, DVD players, clock radios.
I just happened to have a bunch of old obsolete computer parts to work with and it turned out great to call them Computer Bugs.

pastanaut (author)nnygamer2011-10-21

If you don't know what a capacitor looks like, don't take apart old TVs! The capacitor can discharge and kill you if you don't know what you're doing.

OrIsIt (author)pastanaut2012-06-05

You sure? Even if you take it out of power and leave it for a couple of days. I heard the engergy radiates after a couple of days

nnygamer (author)OrIsIt2012-06-06

The energy can stay in them for weeks, I know I took apart a monitor once that hadn't been used in a month and got zapped. I sat down for about 10 minutes and was just in a daze not being able to think straight. I was very lucky.

vadipp (author)pastanaut2012-02-03

Or, just LONG-circuit (using a several Ohm resistor) all components you see before touching them :)

redsunmtm (author)nnygamer2011-09-13

not agree with you when you say "not cell phones", just take a look on my sculptures on the link i gave up here and you'll see a lot of cel phone components solded together, it is just question of pacience and good tools to solder them a sure a good technique an many imagination ! ;P

nnygamer (author)redsunmtm2011-09-16

Most cell phones have SMD that are hard to work with if you have fat fingers like me. I do use them as detailing on models though.

for those who don't know SMD= surface mount device

lsutigertuff (author)2012-01-25

Great Idea!!

urielh (author)2011-12-08

it's realy work?

FraKtuL (author)2011-04-28

Awesome! I think I've finally found a purpose for my collection of 386 motherboards and ISA stuff that I can't seem to GIVE away on Craigslist. :)
BTW: The "free" section on Craigslist is a great source to find broken electronics that some people just don't want to throw away.

redsunmtm (author)FraKtuL2011-09-13

you should take a look here: have a nice view and get good ideas !

redsunmtm (author)2011-09-13

you should look this page i do those things for more than 15 year now ! go to sultures section and then: roll over to find SCULPTURES ELECTRONIQUES just after wood ones

thevansleaving (author)2010-11-27

This is a great idea! Does anyone know how much these might weigh? These would make some really cute earrings to give away as presents if they don't weigh to much :D Or even a cute necklace!

nnygamer (author)thevansleaving2010-12-04

They don't weigh much at all. I've seen regular earrings that probably weighed more.
Just solder a pin to the body, cut off and hook it to a craft earring hanger. I'd make sure the feet were smooth with a small blob of solder to prevent picking and catching.

JOBGG (author)nnygamer2011-05-02

And you might want to use lead free solder and ROHS compliant components for anything you ever think about sticking into a hole anywhere in your body...just to be safe, lead poisoning is no fun. But yeah, these are pretty light, unless you just have to hang a 1F 200V Capacitor monsterbug from your face.

nnygamer (author)JOBGG2011-09-02

Also a nice coat of clear nail polish over the whole thing will help seal it.

CielMarcheur (author)2011-07-03

This is brilliant ! Congratulations. I love your creations.
I'll try to do some.

thomathome (author)2011-06-23

love this idea been making them for ages. I made a bunch of winged ants and solderd them to some old sim cards : ) Sim-bee-ants! anyone?

acosicris (author)2011-06-14

I hate bugs! But those seems to be harmless. LOL.
Nice ible!!!

vishalapr (author)2011-05-30

I like the ible but I would personally use those parts, well done on this ible!!!

SysGhost (author)2011-05-10

Oh dear. If I ever see those buggers crawling out from under my computer, it's a sign that I need to clean up my program code from bugs.

apaterson1 (author)2011-04-22

would the resistors still work if i wanted to recycle them into another project?

nnygamer (author)apaterson12011-04-22

I don't see why not. As long as you don't overheat any of the components they should be good to reuse.

nbagf (author)2011-04-14

woudn't it be random if these were able to be used in projects

rcosmo (author)2011-03-27

Soo cute! im so gonna make it tomorrow right after i wake up xD

coleyy (author)2011-01-10

you could use an intigrated circuit or 2 attatched together and ad a head to make a centipede!

syncromatic (author)2010-12-24

Cool idea, reminds me of the game ZOIKZ.

Harry8D (author)2010-11-28

This is amazing, im going to make a couple for my dad this christmas. I've spent the day harvesting old toys like Walkie talkies (goldmines) and remote controlled cars.
Keep up the good work! :D

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an artist who using just about anything in my art projects, a type of recycling. I haven't posted in a while because ... More »
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