Introduction: Giant Kinetic Robot Sculpture From Recycled and Found Materials

Picture of Giant Kinetic Robot Sculpture From Recycled and Found Materials
This Instructable will take you through some of the steps involved in building the Robot sculpture titled "General Debris". He gets his name from the many salvaged and found objects that he is built from. The General is one of many sculptures that I have made in this fashion over the years. If you would like to see more of them please visit

Step 1: Layout

Picture of Layout

Each piece begins by arranging parts on the floor until some kind of plan presents itself. Seen in the images attached are railing sections, vacuum cleaner attachments, cellulite shaker, food processor, drills, vacuum handles, small beer kegs, light fixtures, soil aerators, etc. The shape of the robot is pretty clear at this point, though little work has been done. The feet and hips show the most actual progress so far.

Step 2: Early Adjustments

Picture of Early Adjustments

While the proportions of the body parts were working out, I just didn't think that the head was quite right. Then I came across a Mercury outboard boat motor that fit the bill nicely, once it was cut down a bit and the paint was removed. The basic facial features where already present and just needed embellishing. I used the wheel wells from a vacuum cleaner for eyes to get things rolling. yet another boat motor eventually presented itself as the back of the head. These forms complimented each other nicely, but required a lot of patch work with stock aluminum sheet. A tiny chunk from a meat grinder provided a chin, bike pedal treads for teeth. A piece of red fiberglass from an exit sign was mounted behind the eyes and mouth. A standard light fixture provides the glow.

Step 3: Body Assembly

Picture of Body Assembly

Once I had decided to use the antiquated health machine for the torso, the rest was a matter of puzzle solving. The mechanism would cause the shoulders to rotate, so I thought that a spring in the waist might allow the whole torso to bob along in sympathy with that motion. A variety of springs were tested. A combination of a Volkswagen Jetta suspension spring and a portable road sign mount finally won out.
The head was then welded to the torso via a section of bent pipe. Positioning took a few attempts until balance was achieved.
Small cooking pots were used for shoulders and bolted directly to the bearings in the health machine. Then the railing arms and light fixture/vacuum handle hands were added. This again required some trial and error until things were relatively balanced and positioned so that they would not collide with other parts of the body.

Step 4: Detailing

Picture of Detailing

This is when it gets fun. This guy was clearly bad and needed some guns. Some giant old power drills, saws and meat grinders gave up their lives for this cause.
A volt meter, magnifying lens and some LED's provided the heart of a soldier.
Some ice scoops helped mass out the shoulders and provide more of a man-in-uniform look.
A pepper grinder and some cream pitchers help establish gender.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Picture of Finishing Up

Once all the welding was done, all the metal surfaces were sprayed with clear metal laquer. A timing circuit was built in conjunction with a motion sensor so that the robot will pulse on and off whenever someone approaches. He will ultimately be installed outside a private residence and announce and/or deter all visitors.


freeza36 (author)2012-01-18

in the first picture on the first step..... the robot has genitalia

tinker234 (author)2011-07-12

wow hey didnt you help protype this once or what i saw the same sculptre from that

nemomatic (author)tinker2342011-07-12

Well, I worked briefly on the show "Prototype This" on Discovery Channel. We built a pair of boxing robots in a similar style. Perhaps this is what you saw.

tinker234 (author)nemomatic2011-07-13

you did a great job on those things

tinker234 (author)nemomatic2011-07-13


killerjackalope (author)2007-09-10

again another beautiful sculpture I love the sound the mechanics make but this guy needs a reciprocating saw attatchment for the crotch, think arms move, followed by the distictive sound and his crotch sawing intruders up while violating them, multitasking at its finest.

lol thats not a bad idea hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

lol i just felt like doing that

bluelantern (author)2010-12-05

"establish his" nicely put.your work is so amazing! captivating too.the possibilities and so endless!!! a pure pleasure to check out your stuff.

SarahMichelle (author)2009-01-31

We see his twig and berries! lol lol.....

twig and berries??? hahaha never heard that one before,lol.

anim8er (author)2010-03-14

How about a sound system so he says "Are you talking to me?" or "What are you looking at, Pilgrim?"

Too Cool.

ddw36 (author)2009-01-18

Do you sell your work, if so I would love to see what you have available. Do you do any other kinetic art like RBS's?

nemomatic (author)ddw362009-01-21

Hi. Glad you like. There are tons of other pieces on my website There is also a "for sale""for sale" page where available work is listed.

lemonie (author)2007-06-24

Fantastic. (I'd love to see him piss oil...) L

John Smith (author)lemonie2007-06-24

Exactly what I was thinking (kind of).

my friends name is john smith seriously

carbon (author)lemonie2007-06-26

Okay, I'm really glad it wasn't just me thinking that. :P

Mouserz (author)2008-07-11

next make him get an erection every hour

Oompa-Loompa (author)Mouserz2008-08-06


santy22 (author)2008-03-10

alll hail to the holy crap he has a penis!

Cerafem (author)santy222008-04-02

(and testicles)

SuperCoPilot (author)2008-02-10

well i know what i'll be doing for the next couple of weekks/months

Chris Bilton (author)2007-07-08

Excellent! Hey, what about a suitcase for him with different groin attachments? When you have snap-on tackle like that it's a shame to limit yourself...

nemomatic (author)Chris Bilton2007-07-08

Believe it or not, he actually has a drill chuck attachment option that will be attached once he is permanently installed. I will try to remember to post pics when that day arrives.

aryana (author)nemomatic2008-01-07

Fantastic! A wonderful re-use of materials and great design. I like the trad g'nads on this model - but the drill chuck and suitcase full of attachments both sound like great ideas too.

Chris Bilton (author)nemomatic2007-07-08

Thanks for prompt reply, can't wait for pics. Seriously though, I admire your work, it has given me the impetus to scale up my stuff and add movement, motorised or even hand cranked by the spectator, I suppose than depends on the subject matter and also how secure everything is.

bedbugg2 (author)2007-12-16

yeah i like these knetic structures

carbon (author)2007-06-26

To top it all off, you gave him lasers! That's so very, very cool. Now I have to go make something of my own, heh. :D

crabfu (author)2007-06-26

That's awesome Nemo, just dashing!

ewilhelm (author)2007-06-25


FreakCitySF (author)2007-06-24

Nice stuff

TheCheese9921 (author)2007-06-24

OMFG look between his legs LMFAO!!! nice

sorry its funny

trebuchet03 (author)2007-06-24

Your portfolio is absolutely amazing.

Danny (author)2007-06-24


Honus (author)2007-06-24

Awesome! The details and craftsmanship are amazing. That is very impressive work.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a kinetic sculptor who works from found materials.
More by nemomatic:"Homunculus" Kinetic Robot sculpture from found materialsGiant Kinetic Praying Mantis Sculpture from found materials"Quicksilver" Retro-Future Scooter from appliances and scrap metal
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