Introduction: Instructables Robot Toilet Paper Holder

Those of you lucky enough to have wood shop in your junior high school may have had to make a set of horsie bookends. A very basic first project that just involves some cuts, glue, maybe nails and a lot of sanding. It was an introduction to how to set up your plane or use some sharp tools without cutting yourself.  It is with that essential knowledge that preps you to cut pieces of unwieldly lumber balanced on your kitchen chair over a small wastebasket hoping not to make a mess of your "workshop" in your kitchen or living room. Too bad they seem to have cut it out of school curriculum a long time ago.

This project is along the same lines. Use it to get familiar with or learn about woodworking tools.  Get the feel for handtools and then graduate on to power tools.  Woodworking was once an apprenticed art that now everyone can partake in and enjoy.

CAUTION: Learn to respect your tools and know how to use them safely.

Step 1: Bits and Pieces...

This project was done using leftover scraps of wood from previous projects.  Wood is a "renewable" resource but it still costs you a pretty penny if you do not acquire it through dumpster diving.

I am going to use just handtools, except for the cordless drill:

a ruler, a try-square or framer's square( I have several but I don't know which tool bag I left them in)


handsaw - I am trying out one of my new japanese style handsaws, this one seems to have aggressive teeth suitable for rough cutting quickly along the grain and cross grain (my ryoba with fine teeth on one side of the blade and coarse on the other is somewhere) The advantage of these saws is that they cut on the forward and back stroke.

coping saw - to cut around fine details and curves

clamps, you can never have enough clamps. 

For finishing, I used Mod Podge, made from secret goodness that seals, protects, and glues stuff.

wood or regular glue

Oh, you need to print out the robot template. I used a color laser printer.  Just click through on the image below to get to the image library, click on original in the size list to download it.  Print out full size to fit a regular sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

scissors or utility knife to cut out the paper template

and a toilet paper holder core. I guess you could use a dowel but I had a fancy replacement spring loaded roller.

Step 2: See What Sticks...

We will be basing the project on the template of the Robot that was printed out.

Cut out the Robot and the accompanying arms.

I had a long piece of board that was about half the width of Robot that I needed.

Like all wood projects, when you don't have the right amount of material, you build it up.  

I am gluing two pieces of wood together.  Since I had nice square edges already, there was no prep needed for the mating edges. Since this is not a structural piece that is going to take a lot of weight or stress, there is no need to reinforce the joint with dowels or biscuits.  Glue is actually in some cases stronger than nails.

If you are making fine furniture or building up butcher blocks or carving boards, you may be concerned with the orientation of the grain or tree growth rings to minimize future warping or cupping. Since I did not need to match grain for the look, I only put the knot toward the center so I did not have to cut through it later.

Use clamps to hold the boards together while the glue sets up.

When the glue is dry, you can sand the seam flat or run the board through a thickness planer if you are well equipped. A metal scraper or hand plane could also be used to tune up the joint.

You can now glue on the image of the Robot on to the wood.  I tried to orient the image so that it would reduce the amount of waste I would have in trimming the wood around the image.  I used Mod Podge to decoupage the image on to the wood substrate.

Step 3: Mark a Couple of Times, Cut a Couple of Times...

Lay out lines on what cuts you want to make.

I was thinking to add a stand to this later so I wanted some wood or gluing surface below the Robot.

I was going to add in arms for the Robot so I needed cutouts at the hands to fit in a perpendicular piece of wood.

You now have to think lazy, make that efficient.  What would be the least amount of cuts and would be the easiest to do?

Sure a lasercutter, a bandsaw, a scrollsaw or a jigsaw would be nice...

Start with all the straight cuts to block out chunks of wood that you can do with the big saw.  

Notch out around curves so the coping saw can free up blocks of wood and get in there to cut.

Nip away at the big parts and then come in with the detail saw to finish up.

I notched or cut away the blocks below the arms so i can glue in the perpendicular arms. 

Clean up the rough cuts with sandpaper.

Step 4: To Arms, Two Arms...

Cut out two pieces of wood about 5 1/2 inches long.

About 1 1/2 inches in from the end, drill a 1/2 inch hole centered on the stock to fit the end of your toilet paper roller.

Test fit on the Robot.

Glue in place. 

Clamp until the glue dries.  

You could use screws or nails to hold the arms but glue works just as well, you just have to wait for it to dry.

Step 5: Scrappy, Ain't It?

With the excess wood that was cut from the original, you can piece that as the floor stand for the Robot.  No sense in wasting even the smallest bit of wood.

I used a small piece as the anti-tipover leg glued on the back of the Robot.

Two bigger pieces were mated to the front for the rest of the stand. You get a pretty cool looking random shape.  What do you see there?

When all the glue is dry, start sanding and round over all edges.

You can do a better job on the sanding.  Like Forrest Gump, I just got tired and stopped sanding.

You can now decoupage on the graphics for the Robot arms.

Step 6: The Job's Not Finished Until the Paperwork Is Done...

Sand all over and finish with a coat of Mod Podge.

For the antenna, I just drilled a 3/8 inch hole to fit a pencil.

Why you ask? For those times when you are concentrating on a crossword puzzle.

So load up the Instructables Robot Toilet Paper holder with something cushy for your tushy.

The only question left is...over or under?...

Engrave a nice brass plate and attach to show off in the executive washroom.

Line up with all the other Saturday kid projects from the big box home improvement stores.

Oh, yeah, yeah, put in LEDs and slap an arduino on this thing to measure the amount of TP used, tweet when occupado, or alarm when there is one square left...

Full Spectrum Laser Contest

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest

Woodworking Contest

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest

Makerlympics Contest

Participated in the
Makerlympics Contest