IBM TJbot Construction Guide - CAVEDU Modified




Introduction: IBM TJbot Construction Guide - CAVEDU Modified

This topic shows you how to assemble IBM TJBot’s cardboard frame. We (CAVEDU Education) had modified the original files so it is a little different from IBM’s manual. You can get our file to make your own kit or just purchase from us. Also please let us know if you made some fantastic improvement!

Purchase link (shipping aboard is OK~)

Author: Yean Cheng, (CAVEDU Education)

Time: 15~30mins, need some practice

Cost: Total is about 130 USD, click me to buy

Difficulty: *** (10 for hardest)

Part list:

  • Laser cut cardboard of TJBot’s frame
  • Raspberry Pi B+ (or newer version, other SBC with same form factor are also OK) and peripherals(micro SD card and 5V/3A adapter)
  • USB microphone
  • Small speaker
  • 5mmLED
  • SG90 mini servo
  • 170 hole breadboard
  • Picam for Raspberry (optional)
  • cardboard for TJbot's frame (laser cut) and 3DP .stl file of its arm (download)

Tools needed:

  • 6mm wide Double-sided adhesive
  • Metal ruler (metal is good). We use it to help folding, the ruler doesn’t have to be too long.
  • Small cross screwdriver.
  • penknife


1. Inevitably, you will get hands dirty. Since the cardboard is cut by laser, its edges surly have some burned scraps, you can’t avoid them while assembling. You can put on gloves then start working.

2. Read before you go. This is not complicated after all, but we still suggest that you should watch the video tutorial first in case you may damage the cardboard:

3. The cardboard will break if you fold in WRONG DIRECTION. Although we had strengthened the weak parts and several places are fixed by double-sided adhesives. However, the notches engraved by laser cut are not suggested to be folded repeatedly, it will BREAK!! Please make sure you get the right direction then fold the cardboard. But if you already broke something, just get tapes to fix them. (Or buy a new kit, hehehe...)

4. 15cm-long metal ruler will help a lot. Not only it can make perfect right angles. It also helps you to align all the pieces.

5. Be gentle: use penknife to take out pieces.

6. Get a small box and put tiny pieces in it in case you will lost them.

7. It will be better not to rip the double sided adhesive first, it might stick something you don't like. Make sure everything is in right place then stick them up.

8. Check the direction. You may have the arm in the wrong side.

9. Whenever there is a mistake, don’t be sad. Imperfection makes your TJBiot unique. You can buy a new kit anytime.

This is what we want to share with you while building this cute robot. You may found that cardboard is not strong as you think and the joints may be damaged after frequent usages. That’s ok, try to modify and improve, we are looking forward that you may come up with excellent ideas!


  • IBM TJBot’s github:
  • Related topics on CAVEDU’s blog:

Related topics:

Step 1: Base

a. Stick the double-sided adhesive on place marked “Fold Down”, front and back, please.

b. Outside first.

c. Notice that small pieces of both sides are different.

d. Stick two small pieces inside. (Right hand side)

e. Left hand side is for bigger one.

f. finish

Step 2: Head

a. parts needed

b. Stick the double-sided adhesive on place marked “Fold Down”, front and back, please.

c. fold to make head

d. Notice that pieces of both sides are different.

e. Stick two pieces inside. (Right hand side)

f. Left hand side has a hole for Raspberry Pi's connectors.

g. finish

Step 3: Lower Body and Leg

a. parts needed

b. fold two leg parts and fit into L-shape holes

c. like this

d. foot parts and strengthen part

e. add on strengthen part between legs

f. fit foot parts into the end of leg parts

g. fold in foot parts to fit into another notches of leg parts

h. like this

i. finish

Step 4: Servo

a. add on servo

b. part needed

c. fold down as marked

d. put c. from the top of a. Notice that there is a hole for servo.

e. finish

Step 5: Picam (optional)

Please skip this step if you don’t have Picam.

a. put on two small pieces, then Picam. Notice do not bend the cable

b. put on another piece to fix Picam

c. plug the cable in to Raspberry Pi's camera port.

d. finish (please refer next step to put in control board)

Step 6: ​Put in Control Board

Slip in your Raspberry Pi, but we use ASUS Tinker here. Other single board computers with same form factor with Raspberry Pi (EX: ASUS Tinker and Banana Pi) can still fit in.

Step 7: Speaker and Microphone

a. Please switch the speaker’s POWER button to ON first, or you may hard to access it when it is put into TJbot

b. cable of speaker

c. connect cable's USB connector to Raspberry Pi's USB port for power supply

d. plug cable's audio connector to Raspberry Pi's audio jack for sound output

e. plug cable's mini USB connector to speaker's mini USB port

f. speaker's location

g. add on double-aided adhesives for cushion

h. notice that the adhesives is not sticked with our speaker. just for CUSHION.

i. plug in USB micro phone

Step 8: Arm

Arm’s original version from IBM is to small to fold, therefore we deiced to 3D print it. Try to make unique arm from our file~

a. Make sure the servo is in the neural position (arm pointing to the sky~). It has 90 degree's distance from the neural position. In general, a servo will have several servo horns of different shapes, this is what we used for TJBot.

b. put servo horn into the arm part

c. use screwdriver to fix the arm and servo. Please check again your servo is in the neural position.

Step 9: Breadboard

a. there is a place for breadboard. You can take good advantage of it to make some circuits here.

b. rip of the adhesive on the back of our breadboard, just put it on.

Step 10: Put on the Head

Put on the head. Notice that the right eye is Picam.

You can access Raspberry Pi's HDMI port on the left hand side, in case you may need to connect a monitor.

Step 11: Finish and Decorate Your TJBot~

Excellent! you made it!

Feel free to color and decorate your robot~

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