Introduction: How to Make a Boxing Automaton

This project, the Boxing Automaton, is a wooden toy designed for kids ages 6-8. The automaton features 2 different moving aspects. The movements are the red robot “punching” the blue robot and shoots its head up with an explosion. The characters in the scene are 2 robot boxers, one red and one blue. From behind the ring spectators voting for both blue and red flash pictures of the 2 bots fighting.

Step 1: Cutting the Frame

Cut out 4 5 ½” x 5 ½” squares out of the ½” x 5 ½” x 6’ wood. These will be the frame for the automaton.

Step 2: Cutting Cams

Cut out 3 cams with diameters of 1 ¼”. Drill 2 of the cams offset from the center (near the edge) using a 9/32” drill bit. These 2 cams will be doing the actual moving in the automaton

Drill the 3rd cam in the center. DO NOT DRILL ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CAM!! Drill the hole about halfway through the cam (about ½”).

Step 3: Cutting the Crankshaft

Cut the ¼” dowel so that it is 5 ¾” long this is the crankshaft.

Step 4: Cutting the Boxer's Bodies

Cut out 2 boxer character bodies from the ¼” thick hobby wood. One body should have a head attached to it. The other body should have a separate head.

Step 5: Cutting the Arms

Using the same wood, cut out 2 arms. 1 arm should be 2 parts: Bicep and forearm. The other arm should be bent at 90॰.

Step 6: Cutting the Boxing Ring Poles

Cut out 4 ½” x ¾” rectangles from the ¼” wood. These are the poles for the ring.

Step 7: Cutting Out the Backboard

Cut out a 5 ½” x 6 ½” rectangle from the ⅛” hobbywood. This is the backboard for the automaton.

Step 8: Cutting Out the Push Rods

Cut out 7” and 8” push rods from the ¼” diameter dowel. Also, cut out a 1” long piece from the same dowel. This will go behind the moving hand.

Step 9: Cutting Out the Curtain

Cut out a square of red fabric 5 ½” x 5 ½”

Step 10: Making the Stage

Assemble the 4 5 ½” squares in a box shape. Put 2 of the squares inside the other 2, making a rectangular prism with 2 open faces

Step 11: Drilling Holes for Crankshaft

Drill holes in the middle of the 2 sides (longer edge of prism) using the 9/32” bit for the crankshaft.

Step 12: Making the Crankshafts

Put the shaft in the assembly with the 2 cams on the inside. Glue the cams onto the shaft and put the final cam on the outside and glue it onto the edge of the shaft.

Step 13: Drilling Holes for Crankshafts Coming From the Top

Drill holes on the top piece of the prism that line up with the cams on the crankshaft.

Step 14: Gluing the Boxers on the Stage/Arena

Glue the character with the separate head directly in front of the left hole. The hole should be centered in the body. Glue the other character with the attached head in front of the right hole and offset to the right.

Step 15: Putting the Push Rods in the Hole

Put the push rods in the holes. The 8” rod goes in the left hole and the 7” rod goes in the left hole. Put ½” x ½” squares of ⅛” wood on the bottom of the rods (on top of the cams)

Step 16: Completing the Boxer With the Moving Head

Attach the head of the left body to the left 8” push rod and cut out flames and glue that to the rod under the head.

Step 17: Completing the Punching Boxer

Drill small holes in the top and bottom of the bicep and drill a hole at the bottom of the forearm of the arm. Put a wire through the hole that lines up with the bicep and forearm of the robot. Then drill another small hole in the chest of the robot and put a wire through that and the bicep of the robot.

Step 18: Creating the Motion for the Punching Boxer

Glue the 1” rod to the back of the fist of the robot.

Step 19: Creating the Motion for the Punching Boxer (continued)

Cut out a small ½” x ½” square and drill a 9/32” hole in the center. Glue this to the push rod on the right. Put the 1” long dowel attached to the hand through it.

Step 20: Painting/Polishing the Boxing Arena/Stage


Step 21: Reflection

If we were to do this project again, we would make the arm that punches on a lever instead of an up and down pushrod. This would make the arm go closer to the head of the other robot to make it look better. Overall, we really enjoyed doing the project and felt like it is a really fun thing to do at home for a younger child. What we liked most was the fact that it was an interactive project that you can use at home and the materials could be easily bought and built.