Instructables

Make a RC Robot for a Movie

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Picture of Make a RC Robot for a Movie
Okay maybe I shouldn't be calling it a “robot” it is a robot puppet

Back in May of 2005 I received a phone call from colleague at Colpitts Design. He was approached to build a puppet for feature film. They were looking for someone to make remote controlled robot character to play a part in an upcoming movie.
It was described as a walking biped robot about 3 feet tall and they wanted to start shooting in about 4 weeks. I would have loved to make a biped walker but we all thought it might be a bit ambitious given the time, budget and resources, so Peter and I agreed to pitch a two legged rolling robot.
After I hung up the phone I put together a lego prototype to propose a simple method of locomotion. We shot a video and sent it to the art department. The next morning we were given the go ahead to start building.

 

 
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Step 1: Full scale Prototype

While the Art department was making final refinements to the design we spent a couple of days making a full scale working prototype.
We started by drawing up some parts on the computer and cutting them out, while at the same time looking at various motors, gears, servos available to make this thing move. To have the tork we wanted to drive the hips and wheels we decided to use windshield wiper motors that we drove with custom made control boards and a potentiometer connected to the drive shaft to turn it into a big servo. We took off the cast gear box and machined our own to allow us to design our own mounting face as well.
For our first test we wired everything into a plugged in power supply, later that would need to be changed for something self contained.
How in the bloody hell did you manage to steal Jhonny 5's arms!?
zack2472 years ago
oh wow!
its not everyday you hear from the people that made props and such for movies!
especially functional ones o.o
never watched the movie myself but mr. pibb looks awesome!
if i had the money id buy that guy in a heartbeat.
bruno130692 years ago
You built "Mr. Pibb"? That is awesome. Fun movie.
If you can get the DVD, it makes for a good Saturday afternoon flick.
John Induna AD (author)  bruno130692 years ago
I might have to look at it again. I think there is a copy around here somewhere... I can't really remember too much about it. I remember some folk didn't think much of it.
thanks for having a look.
it was a pretty dumb movie, but i still enjoyed it. it was a fun one.
but dude that's pretty awesome that someone just came to you and said "hey we're makin a move. build a robot"
John Induna AD (author)  lightning r fun2 years ago
You're right, it is pretty awesome to get calls like that.
redsunmtm2 years ago
I would love to pass some hours searching in that place ! Dude !!!
John Induna AD (author)  redsunmtm2 years ago
I assume you are talking about the surplus shop... I am sorry I can't post more information on the place. I seem to recall the place was called "Electronic Surplus" in Toronto, Canada....owner was a name like Sal....i just did a quick search and nothing looked familiar.
i think i know the place your talking about, if not, this place is still great for electronic surplus supply's its called "active surplus" somewhere in downtown Toronto.
John Induna AD (author)  darthbindy2 years ago
Active Surplus is great, and in Toronto...but not the place I went to for this project.
I just remembered the place, It is called
"Electronic Surplus" at 53 Sheffield Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Owner is Sid (not Sal)
ok thanks, but a bit too far away... i am in france... but there must be alot of interesting suff for me as i do sculptures with electronics, see here: http://eclipse-online.info click sculptures button and take a little look :)
Yeah , something like gold Mine or Nasional Treasure ^_^
Hay,

Just notice this when I search for Mr. Pibb. It actually on sell:

http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-art-collectibles-Mr-Pibb-Robot-from-the-movie-Zoom-W0QQAdIdZ385519766

Anyone interested?

Bench
That's right, I noticed that too and spoke with my friend about it. It's taking up too much room in his shop. Make an offer.
Awesome! And the speed and quality of work is awesome! 3 weeks and you come up with a RC biped on skates, moving arms with moving claws? Amazing!
John Induna AD (author)  Antzy Carmasaic2 years ago
Thank you. It was a good little team of fabricators.
M.C. Langer2 years ago
Sorry, "Zoom" was a bad movie. But your robot is REALLY AWESOME!!!!!!! I give you five stars and my vote, but you deserve more!!!!!! :-) Thanks for sharing this amazing instructable.
John Induna AD (author)  M.C. Langer2 years ago
"Zoom"...no comment, thanks for looking and the vote. keep making robots.
darthbindy2 years ago
would this be the movie?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_(film)
Honus2 years ago
Awesome robot and fantastic construction.
John Induna AD (author)  Honus2 years ago
Thanks for taking the time to look and comment.
spaceman8742 years ago
thanks, now i know how to do the arms for my ClapTrap robot (a bit smaller then lifesize)
John Induna AD (author)  spaceman8742 years ago
glad it helps.
damianzuch2 years ago
This is fantastic! I'm so jealous; I wish I knew how to do that!!!
John Induna AD (author)  damianzuch2 years ago
Thank you, I feel the same way when I look at the things people post here too.
By the way nice web slingger thing. rock on Toronto, Canada.
flyingpuppy2 years ago
You get to do this for a job. You lucky dog! Nice work.
John Induna AD (author)  flyingpuppy2 years ago
I am lucky, you are too kind....careful with the puppies
fga1002 years ago
Very good.
Amazing
John Induna AD (author)  fga1002 years ago
Thank you
Thank you
Excellent! Your work is amazing.
John Induna AD (author)  clemilsonccs2 years ago
Thank you, I hope to show some more soon.
jongscx2 years ago
...Are you guys looking for interns?
John Induna AD (author)  jongscx2 years ago
Every now and then there are times we could use some help. It boils down to right place at the right time though.
fga1002 years ago
Very good.
Amazing
I knew that looked familiar!

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1242601472/tt0383060
John Induna AD (author)  building king2 years ago
yup, you got it.
Tomdf2 years ago
*Gasp* ... I can't think of anything else to say, this is simply amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this. I am in awe.
John Induna AD (author)  Tomdf2 years ago
*Wow* ....Is what I say. Thanks for looking and your comment. I enjoyed looking at your pingbot the other day an really appreciate your link to the youtube vid on surface mounts. Congratulations on the Judges Prize your post was well deserving of the recognition. Enjoy your up printer. I am envious.