I built this simple wooden robot homemade toy for last week's Atlanta Maker Faire. I made about 30 kits to give out to attendees of the fair and they were a HUGE hit. Watch the video above and follow along to see how I built the robot!
Step 1: Add Slot for Mouth
To cut the slot for the mouth, I used a table saw set to roughly a ¼" cutting depth and with the fence set to about 1". Since I was making a bunch of these, I just ripped the slot into an 8 foot long 2x4. If you were just making one of these, you could use a table saw or router to cut the mouth slit. The piece would be too small to use a circular saw, in my opinion.
Step 2: Cut Pieces for the Head, Body, Arms & Legs
The pieces for the head and body of the robot are 3.5" x 3.5", cut from a 2x4. Go ahead and cut as many pieces as you'll need, depending on the number of robots you're planning to make.
The arms and legs are similar to the head and body, except that they're made from 2x2 stock instead of 2x4. Cut 1.5" pieces from a 2x2 to make 1.5" cubes. You'll need 4 pieces to make up the arms and legs.
Step 3: Drill Holes for the Eyes
For the eyes, I used a Fortsner bit. This type of drill bit is perfect for eyes, as it leaves a small dot in the center of the larger hole, making it look even more like an eye!
Step 4: Drill Holes to Attach the Rope in the Head, Body, Arms and Legs
The robot is assembled using rope. You need a hole through the head vertically, through the body vertically, and two holes through the body horizontally. You also need a hole in each of the arms and legs. Make sure to use a drill bit large enough so that you can thread your rope through. Also, make sure to drill the holes in the body so that they do not intersect, since that will mean you won't be able to thread the rope through.
Step 5: Sand Your Pieces
I used a combination of an oscillating belt sander and hand sanding to sand the 180 pieces for the 30 kits I made. I used 80 grit sandpaper, as these didn't need to be perfectly smooth.
Step 6: (Optional) Add Some Flare to Your Robot!
I cut out a tie from a scrap piece of wood I had on hand. You can customize your robot with all kinds of cool accessories. Paper clips for antennas, googly eyes, and more! I also painted the eyes and mouth of my robot.
Step 7: Apply Finish to Your Robot
I used a simple spray polyurethane, but if you have kids that might chew on the robot, you'll want to research a food safe finish such as mineral oil or salad bowl finish.
Step 8: Assemble Your Robot!
I made a mistake on my robot by drilling the holes in the body on the same plane, meaning that once I threaded in one piece of rope, the other pieces of rope couldn't go through the holes since they were blocked. I glued in the rope for my arms and legs, which worked fine, but I'd recommend just drilling the holes on a different plane to avoid this step.
To assemble, just thread the rope through the holes in your pieces and tie the rope off on each end. Simple!
Step 9: Admire Your Finished Robot!
Isn't he adorable?