Introduction: Sparky, the Moving Paper Coin Bank

Sparky is the mascot for TnT robotics Team 280 from Taylor, Michigan. This bank was inspired by the team that has been providing my boys and I with much needed emotional support.

We are making do-it-yourself kits to make a Sparky coin bank as part of a fundraising event for Relay for Life. The address for this instructable will be appearing on the directions page in the kit. Hopefully, if you are building the coin bank from the kit, you will find any necessary help by following the directions with the photos you find here.

If you do not have the kit, you can download the pieces and print them on cardstock to build your own.

If you like the bank and choose to make a donation to Relay for Life, I would like to thank you for helping out a worthy cause. Cancer has effected too many people in my family--my grandfather (lung cancer), my mother (breast cancer) and father (prostate cancer), my husband (tonsil cancer) and myself (breast cancer). It would be great if the next generation does not have to go through what past generations have endured.

Step 1: Print, Cut, and Score

If you have the kit from the Relay for Life, Sparky is printed on red cardstock with the gloves and fuse printed on white sticker paper.

If you are downloading the parts, you need to print it on something thicker than regular printer paper. If you do not have access to sticker paper, those parts can be printed on plain paper and glued with a glue stick.

Cut out all the parts on the solid lines. The dotted lines are for folding. The coin slot, the coin retrieval hole, and the 2 arm holes need to be cut using a craft knife. Be sure to protect your work table with a scrap of cardboard or something when using the craft knife.

Score the dotted lines before folding so that you get straighter folds. Scoring can be done with a ball point pen that has run out of ink. Sometimes I use a knitting needle or a crochet hook when I can't find my pen. You want to dent the paper so press down a bit using whatever tool you have. Be sure not to cut or tear the paper.

Step 2: The Arm Mechanism

The part that makes Sparky's arms move is the hardest part to explain in words. Refer to the pictures when necessary.

There are two pieces to glue together and then attach to the inside of each arm. I recommend white school glue or tacky glue. Glue stick is not strong enough for this project. Use only the tiniest spots of glue to avoid a mess and longer dry times. Hold the pieces together for a slow count to ten--this helps the pieces to attach without slipping out of position.

Fold the curved piece as shown in the first picture. Glue to the inner flap. The tab marked 'x' will be glued to the x. The tab marked 'y' will be glued to the y. Be sure to check the picture for placement. This piece will be inside the body of the box. When the coin is dropped, these two flaps will be pushed down and that will push the arms up.

On the body of the box, there are 2 flaps that are cut on only 3 sides each. The 4th side should be folded back and forth several times. You want the 'hinge' to be loose so that the arm will move freely.

Pre-crease the 8 vertical folds on the box.

When the glued pieces are dry, attach the flat part that is marked with 2 dots to the inside of the flaps. The mechanism needs to be pointing upward.

Step 3: Glue the Box Side and Top

Glue the side of the box to form Sparky's body. Be sure to avoid catching the arm mechanism in this side seam.

When the side has dried, apply glue to the 7 small tabs along the top edge of the box. Gently fold down the box top. Align the tabs with the edge of the top. Hold them in place for a slow count of 10.

Step 4: Arms

Separate the hands from the fuse. Fold the rectangle on the dotted line--without removing the backing paper. If you printed your own sparky, fold the hands without any glue. The hands should not stick together yet. With the 2 layers together, cut out the wrist edge like in the picture.

Cut out the 2 red 'L' shaped pieces--these are the arms.

Peel the backing off the hands and insert one wrist along the cut edge with enough red overlapping the sticker to secure the two pieces. If you printed on cardstock, use glue stick to secure the pieces--be sure to smear the glue stick past the outline of the hands to make sure they are stuck well. Press the layers of the folded hands together.

Cut the hands out at this time. This method keeps the pieces aligned properly with a minimum of fuss.

The 'shoulder' end of each arm gets glued to the outside of each arm hole. There are 2 dots indicating the place on the body to attach each arm. Make sure that the glue attaches only the flap to the arm and not the body itself. A little glue goes a long way. The arm should move freely.

Step 5: Bottom of the Box and the Fuse

Fold the bottom piece along the dotted line. The rectangular portion serves as the cover for the coin retrieval hole--it gets no glue. Glue the 8 tabs along the bottom of the box. Position the bottom octagon so that the rectangle lines up with the coin retrieval hole. Hold it in position with the tabs lined up long enough for the glue to stick. Reach your finger inside the box to make sure all the tabs have made good contact with the bottom.

Fold the fuse along the dotted line. Crease it well. Remove the backing paper (or apply glue stick to the back if you printed your own) and press the layers together. Cut out the fuse. Bend the bottom edge so that you have a tiny tab that you can glue to the top of the box.

Allow the box to dry completely before using it.

The arms should flap up excitedly when you feed Sparky coins.