Introduction: LED Glowbot Toy

About: Hi, we're Elemental LED. We are committed to the importance of LED lighting as a revolutionary technology that can help people integrate green practices and a reduced carbon footprint into their everyday lives…

My name is Aaron Wasserman and I'm a Customer Service Representative at Elemental LED. You may remember me from my Jellyfish Lamp Intructable I submitted a couple of months ago.

This time I'm back with an LED Robot called the Glowbot! My original idea was to make Optimus Prime out of our accesories, and even though I ended up changing directions mid-assembly, I am very happy with the results.

The Glowbot gets its name from the fact that its body is built around two separate RGB LED fixtures, each with its own RGB Color Controller. The torso is built around a Puck Light and the Head is built around a short piece of RGB Strip Light. These controllers allow me to control the color of the Glowbot's torso and eyes independently.


Step 1: Materials & Tools

Total Time Taken: 4.5 hours


Materials from Elemental LED:

1 x Self-Tapping Fuse Holder

7 x ATC/ATO Blade Fuses

2 x Waterproof LED Splitter Plug

2 x DC Wire Plug (female)

2 x Mini RGB LED Controllers

1 x Multi-Color RGB LED Flexible Light EZ Connector

2 x 3-Way Splice Connector

12 x Multi-Pole Splice Connector

1 x Puck Light (from an RGB 4-In-One LED Puck Light Kit)

4" of High Density RGB LED Strip Light by the Foot

2 x 12V In-Line On/Off Switch

1 x 12V Adapter

1 x 2-Way DC Splitter Plug


Misc. Materials & Tools:

Gorilla Glue Super Glue - A glue that dries extremely quickly and makes a very strong bond. --- $3.99

Needle Nose Pliers - A friend indeed when working with the craft wire. --- Around $10.00

22 Caliber (gauge) Craft Wire - Any craft wire should do, just make sure its thin enough to fill through your holes for the "sewing" steps and also that it is flexible enough to work with. --- Around $5.00

1.4mm Screwdriver - A very small flat-head screwdriver used for precision work. --- About $5.00

Step 2: Building Blocks

The basic building block of the Glowbot is something called a Multi-Pole Splice Connector. Basically, it's a piece of plastic that allows you to connect several wires to the same power source in a simple manner.

For me, it was the perfect building material because of all the various angles and the option of "unclipping" one section of it to make it shorter. Simply push where it says PUSH and pull that side outwards and *presto* you have two pieces of different sizes with which to work.

I used a combination of Gorilla Glue Super Glue and my trusty hot glue gun to create blocks of these connectors.

Step 3: Put Your Good Foot Forward

Using a combination of two whole connectors and one with the PUSH piece removed, I ended up with this leg-and-foot piece.

The advantage of the Gorilla Glue Super Glue is that it dries extremely quickly. While pressing the pieces together with my fingers, I used the Stopwatch feature on my iPod to get a general idea of when 30 seconds had gone by. This is plenty of time for the glue to dry.

An alternate arrangement of these pieces makes a nice upper thigh. I used hot glue for the knee joint because the surface area was too low to use the Gorilla Glue Super Glue.

Step 4: Puck in the Middle

The torso of my Glowbot was crafted out of two 5-Way Waterproof Splitters and a single puck light that I grabbed out of a scrap pile here at work. It was originally part our RGB 4-In-One Puck Light Kit.

I used 22 Caliber (gauge) craft wire to "sew" the puck into a sandwich between the two 5-Way Splitters. The Splitters already have tiny pre-cut holes in them but I added my own to the puck light using a push-pin.

I suggest using a very long piece of wire to do any of the "stitching" in this DIY [Fourth image]. I always used pieces that I thought would be way more than I needed and I never ended up having much left over. Better to have more than you need then to run out half way through and have to pull all the wire out or awkwardly add more wire to stabilize the arrangement.

Step 5: A Touch of Color

A handful of fuses (affixed with hot glue) add some nice color to the Glowbot's chest.

Wait til you see what they look like when the colors change! (Check out my video on the last page)

In this step, I also hot glued some of the extension plugs from the Waterproof LED Splitter Plugs to the Glowbot's chest. I was trying to give it a more mechanical.

Make sure to leave two of these plugs un-wired for Step 7.

Step 6: Look Into My Eyes!

The 4-inch piece of RGB strip, after attaching it to a splice connector, gets wrapped/glued around this Self-Tapping Fuse Holder in such a way that two of the LEDs become the "eyes" of the Glowbot.

I wasn't sure if the heat from the hot glue was going to damage the LEDs, but I had to take the chance for the sake of scientific advancement. In the end, the eyes only glowed red, but that's okay because I was trying to incite fear in the weak of heart...

Two more fuses and this Glowbot is stylin' some sexy stunna shades!

Step 7: Head Stand

With two wires from the Waterproof LED Splitter Plugs left un-wired (sticking up), next I wired them down closer to the body to give the head a strong support. The best way I could think to pull them downwards was to use my push-pin again to poke small holes between each of the sets of wires to give my craft wire somewhere to "stitch" through. You don't have to worry about damaging the electrical wires because they will never actually be plugged into anything.

How you run your craft wire is really up to you, just make sure that any loose ends are tucked away behind something so that they don't stick out and poke you.

I decided to attach the Glowbots arms and legs before attaching the head since the head is a much more delicate piece.

Step 8: Let Me Give You a Hand...

Another arrangement of the Multi-Pole Splice Connectors gave me the shape for the Glowbot's arms. His hands are made from 3-Way Splice Connectors.

These pieces were actually the original inspiration for the Glowbot. I was working on a job for a customer that required RGB wires to be split into multiple runs and one of my coworkers threw one of these on my desk. I thought they looked a lot like the robotic fingers of a Transformer...

Step 9: Get Up, Stand Up

Getting the legs on the Glowbot was a bit of a challenge. I tried to just glue them on using hot glue, but I quickly found that I had no way of keeping the torso and the legs still long enough for the glue to dry.

I ended up looping some wire through a gap in the legs (around the knee-joint) back up through the torso so that each leg was loosely held to the body as shown. After that, the rest of the gluing was easy. I made sure to use a lot of hot glue to fill in all of the gaps around the hip-joint and lower back of the Glowbot.

I also glued two of the remaining waterproof connectors to the sides of the legs to give them more of an industrial look.

Step 10: Armed and Dangerous

The arms were much easier to attach. I just put a lot of hot glue in the arm socket and held the arm in place for a while. Ideally, I would have liked to have the arms hanging closer to the Glowbot's sides, but due to his rotund figure that just wasn't an option.

Step 11: But Really, Look Into My Eyes!

With the arms and legs affixed to the body, it was time to attach the head. Using the "neck" I created in Step 7, I attached the head with more hot glue.

I also wrapped some wire around the neck in such a way as to force the RGB wires to stick out at an angle down the Glowbot's back. This made it easier to attach the wires coming from the RGB controller for the head.

Step 12: Taste the Rainbow

The last step in making the Glowbot is to make it actually glow! In order to do this I had to connect both sets of RGB wires to RGB Controllers.

For the Puck Light, this was a matter of determining which wire was which color channel (by comparing it to a Puck Light that was still connected to a controller [first image pictured below] and connecting them to the corresponding ports on the RGB Color Controller.

For the RGBs in the head, I had to first attach a Multi-Color RGB Flexible Light EZ Connector to one end of the strip of RGB Strip Light. The wires coming down the back of the neck had to be connected to the RGB wires that connected to the RGB Color Controller [third and fourth image pictured below].

Next, since the wires were already colored for their corresponding channel, all I had to do was hook them up. This tutorial may be helpful to you. Just eliminate the step where you connect the colored wires to the white plastic thing [second image pictured below] and instead, connect the wires to your color controller.

Use a wire stripper (you can also use scissors if you are VERY careful) to expose the ends of all of the wires. Using a 1.4mm precision screwdriver, loosen the screws for each channel--RGB and Com (Black) on one side and Positive and Neutral on the other--of each RGB Color Controller. Insert the wires, tighten the screws, and press the button.

Use the same technique to connect the positive and negative wires to the Female DC Plug Connector so that RGB Controller gets power. [Fifth image pictured below]

If any of your lights don't light up:

A) Make sure everything has a good connection
B) Make sure you have matched all the colors properly
C) Make sure you have plugged the whole thing in!

Step 13: It's Alive!!

It's alive! This completes the directions for making a Glowbot . I hope you enjoyed my DIY!

Check out the video below to see the Glowbot in action!

[If you are curious as to why the lights flicker toward the end of the video, this is because to dim LEDs the dimmer actually chops up the light signal into many smaller pieces. To the naked eye, LEDs that are dimmed just appear to be getting less dark, but my camera records at such a frame rate that these "chops" actually show up as extremely short moments of darkness. This effect is similar to the flashing of CRT monitors in old movies.]