Introduction: Carved Wood Instructables Robot

About: Hi, I'm Sam and I like to make things - check out some of my projects below. I worked for this site from 2014 - 2023 and have nothing but love for the Instructables community. Keep making great stuff!

This is my take on the instructables robot, made of wood.

The robot is about 45 cm tall and was carved from an old log.

Step 1: Plan

I took a fair amount of creative license while trying to translate the robot image into a real-life 3D version, but I tried to capture and convey the same fun and friendly vibe.

I started by picking a log and attaching it to my bowling ball wood carving vise.

This log was old and completely dried out and all the bark had fallen off. It was somewhere around 50cm tall and had a diameter of about 24cm.

Based on the limitation provided by the diameter of the log, I scaled up some rough estimates using a robot sticker as a guide to determine total height, as well as the size of the main sections of the robot.

Step 2: Chainsaw

I used a small electric chainsaw to begin roughing out the basic shape.

Based on the dimensions noted in the last step, I divided the log into sections, cut some chunks away from around the head area, and nibbled away wood around the leg area.

Step 3: Turboplane

I got an Arbortech Turboplane which is a woodworking disc with carbide teeth that attaches to a grinder. These can be used to remove a lot of wood quickly.

You can buy them on amazon or wherever good woodworking merchandise is sold.

I used the turboplane to start refining the head and shoulder areas of the robot.

Step 4: Separate the Legs

I used a drill with forstner bits to drill two holes all the way through from front to back, to begin separating the legs. A reciprocating saw was then used to cut the material away between the holes.

See photos and notes for additional detail and tips.

Step 5: Chainsaw

The chainsaw was used to nibble away more material to differentiate and block out the legs and wheels.

The wheels are not true-to-scale to the robot image. They were made to appear half-embedded into the base which provides a more stable perch for the overall top-heavy, physics-defying robot shape.

Step 6: Turboplane & Power Carve

The turboplane was used to further refine the robot body. The body is shaped like a gumdrop.

Using a Foredom rotary tool with a carving burr I began shaping the leg areas.

Step 7: Arms

Using some of the scrap wood that was removed from around the robot's head, I pieced together some chunks with epoxy and made the initial rough arm shapes using a bandsaw.

These arm shapes were attached to the robot using some 2-part epoxy.

Step 8: Epoxy Putty

Some two-part epoxy wood putty (KwikWood) was used to fill various cracks and imperfections.

Step 9: Shape Arms and Fingers

The arms and fingers were refined and carved now using a rotary tool with various small carving burrs.

Step 10: Details

I drew face and body details with a pencil and then used small carbide burrs to carefully cut the grooves and other details into the robot.

Step 11: Buttons and Wheel Brackets

I cut three round button shapes and some U shaped pieces to add to the wheel areas using scrap pieces of wood.

These parts were cut out using a bandsaw, and then attached using wood glue and small brads using a nail gun. The small nail holes were filled with a mixture of sawdust and a little glue, and then sanded smooth.

Step 12: Ears . . ?

Let's call these bulbous protuberances ears, just for fun.

Scraps of wood were cut and added to create the robot ears. After the glue was dry, these were carved down into roundish shapes using a rotary tool and carving burrs.

Step 13: Ear-Sticks

The ear-sticks were made from two small maple dowels. These will be glued in place after painting is completed.

A little bit of final shaping, refining and sanding was done. There are still a lot of tool marks and blemishes but overall I was satisfied with the final look.

Step 14: Base Pads

I cut up some pieces of scrap rubber from an old floor mat and used a staple gun to attach these to the bottom of the base. Tip: Use three and it will never wobble!

Step 15: Paint Details

I used craft paint to add some colored details.

After the paint was dry I hand sanded again to clean up any paint that might have gotten outside of the grooves and recessed areas. I then hand sanded the fingers and wheel areas to weather them a little.

After this I cleaned away all the sawdust of very thoroughly.

I sprayed the robot with several coats of semi gloss lacquer to seal it from top to bottom. Before the final coat I buffed everything gently with a very fine scotch pad, then added a final coat of lacquer.

Step 16: BEEP BOOP.

And that's how you carve a robot.