Introduction: Transformer: Tryptotron

Have you ever wanted to make a full transformer suit for either you or your children? Have you thought to yourself; "Wow, I am really sick and tired of machines always transforming?"  Well worry no more! In this instructable we will deal with these issues and teach you how to make a transformer costume in the form of a plump, baked, Christmas Turkey which plays a song of your choice whenever anyone is too close.  

We chose Tryptotron for the name of this instructable because tryptophan is the chemical in turkey which makes whoever eats it sleepy, and Megatron is the evil transformer in the television show and in the movie Transformers.  

Mash those two together and Tryptotron is what you get.  

In the photo below, Tryptotron is viewed as well as one of the creators doing some modifications to he circuitry.  

Step 1: Materials

In order to do this project, you will need to go to your local hardware/craft store and pick up a few items.  You will also need to buy a LilyPad Arduino if you desire music.  Here is the link for the website:  On this site you will also find the buzzer and the photoresistor required for the circuit.  


Graft Glue/Duct Tape
Spray Paint (various colors)
Clear Wrap
Garden Mesh Wrap
LilyPad Arduino
Poly-Fil (1-2 bags)
Green Foam (comfort)
Plaster Cloth
Paper Maché (News Paper, Flour)
Wooden Dowels (various sizes)
Brown Fabric (6-8yds)
White Fabric (.5-2yds)
Elastic (8ft)

Step 2: Build Your Base

 In order to give the turkey the proper egg-like shape, you will have to first construct an octagonal polyhedra out of cardboard.  However, first the dimensions should be modified to fit the wearer.  Attached is a copy of the polyhedra which will need to be printed out and folded into a three dimensional shape.  The easiest way to cut the cardboard is with a box cutter or an X-acto Knife™.  

Duct tape works moderately well holding the connections, but because we are using cardboard here wood glue or craft glue would be wise to use after the connections are all made.  Go around the edges of the connections with the glue to seal the cracks.  

For this step you will have to do a lot of cutting and measuring.  It is best to have a clean workspace and an abundant amount of cardboard.  

Don't be worried if your polyhedra looks too large, the next step will make all of the connections compact and secure.  

It is also a good idea to use a wooden dowel as support inside the box.  Use 2 or 3.

Step 3: Secure Your Structure

In this step you will be priming the structure for paper machéing because if the cardboard gets wet it will become weak and frail and you will most likely have to rebuild your box.  

The mesh that you should use is standard garden mesh or hazard mesh.  Cover the structure completely in mesh, wrapping it around the sides and the top.  It is best to use either crazy glue or duct tape to secure the mesh to the box.  

Once you have finished covering the box with mesh grab a box or two of saran wrap and do the same with the saran wrap as you did with the mesh.  This time, however, you will not need to use glue or tape to attach the saran wrap. It will stick to itself.  

Now it is time for the messy part....

Step 4: Paper Mache

You will need to either put a tarp down, go outside, or both in order to properly do this step.  Also, you will need a decent size bucket, 1-2 gallons should be fine.  All you will need is flour and water.  Fill the bucket with 1 part flour to 2 parts water.  Mix thoroughly.  It is also best to use warm water because it dissolves the flour quickly.  

Next, you will need to find newspaper, and lots of it.  Rip the paper into strips and dip them into the paper maché mixture, then quickly cover the saran wrap with the dipped strip.  Do this repeatedly until the entire box, even the back, is covered.  Let dry and repeat until you have done 2-3 layers.  

In this picture you can see a cross section of how the layers should look as well as one of the dowels.  

Step 5: Carve the Turkey

Now, the fun begins.  Take a sharpie, or similar dark marker, and play the role of a plastic surgeon. Mark up the turkey where you plan to cut it in order for the transformation to happen.  You will need to bring back that X-acto Knife™ and use a pair of scissors to cut along the dotted lines.  The mesh gets a little difficult to get through once it has already been cut.  

Once the flaps have been cut, you will need to wrap duct tape around each of them, further securing the paper maché to the cardboard.  Then use plaster cloth to go around all of the edges and make sure the flaps are sturdy and strong.  

Also you will need to cut out leg holes on the side of the turkey which you decide is the bottom.  

One of the pictures shows a flap with the plaster cloth covering the edges and and a few of the other panels.  

Step 6: Final Shaping

Now is when you will make the turkey look plump and roasted.  You will have to take measurements of the panels of the turkey and cut them out the brown cloth.  Make sure to leave a few inches for error.  Also, cut out a piece of cloth for the back of the turkey.  Sew these together and lay the final product on the ground.  Place the turkey on top of the cloth and then fold the sides up.  Use either crazy glue or hot glue to glue the pieces of cloth to their corresponding flaps.  Start gluing at the bottom and stuff some Poly-Fil into the resulting pockets.  Then, Finish gluing the pieces of cloth and stuffing the turkey.

Below is a cross section of how the stuffing should look with the cloth.

Also you can see how the finished product should look with the one of the flaps open.  

Step 7: Making the Legs

The polygon pictured here will be your guide in constructing turkey legs. You should first measure and record the circumference of your leg(upper thigh), the length of your thigh, and finally the desired circumference of your turkey leg. Once you have this done, its time to get a calculator.

To get the distance of the top edge of your triangles take the recoreded circumfe rence and divide it by 6. Ex. if your legs were 36 inches, each triangle is going to be 6" on the top. 

Next, we are going to find the distance for each of the triangles' bases. To do this we are going to do the same as above but using your desired turkey leg circumference. Ex. if you wanted your turkey legs 48" around, then each base is going to be 8" long. 

Next to get the hypotenuse of your triangles, take 1/6 of your measured quad length and make this the height of the triangle. Then using the Pythagorean Theorem we are going to take the square root of your height squared plus 1/2 of your base - top squared to get the distance. Ex. if your length was 30, the height of the triangle is 5. (5^2 + (8-6)^2)^(1/2) = 5.38 (but always round up) so our hypotenuse is going to be around 5.5 inches.

We can ignore the hexagon in the picture, it was put there by the polygon program we used (JavaGami).

Using all the measurements from above, cut two pieces of brown cloth out. These are going to be used as the outer leg of your turkey.

Now we need to cut the inner part of the legs. These are just going to be 2 rectangles (1 for each leg) with the initial measured height and circumference of your thigh.

Now comes the tricky part, sewing. To do this, pin the hypotenuse of each triangle to the one next to it, but leaving the outside hypotenuses apart. Once they are all pined together, go ahead and sew them up. It may be frustrating at times, but make sure to move slowly and carefully. 

After the inside triangles are sewn together, grab the rectangle that was cut out earlier  and pin it so that the corners line up with the open corners of the outside part of the leg. The outside part of the leg is going to be a bit crinkled when you do this, THATS FINE! This just means there is going to be room for the stuffing. Now, sew across each edge of the rectangle until you get to the fourth one. When you are sewing this one, make sure to leave a gap big enough so that you can stuff the legs with a filler. 

Now we are ready to sew the edges of the outer leg together. When doing this, sew only along one set of triangles then go only as far up the rectangular part as you did before. You should now have a tube like piece of cloth with an opening for stuffing. 

Go ahead and stuff the legs with as much filling as you want, while making sure it is evenly distributed to get a round look. Once all of the stuffing is in, you are going to have to hand stitch the last part of the leg together.  

Step 8: Paint

For this step you can use a little more creativity.  Grab the spray paint color of your choice and take the turkey outside.  Put down a tarp or some newspaper as we do not want to harm the environment. Paint the inside of the body whatever color you want.  Two coats is always best because that provides a full deep color.  

If you plan to paint inside make sure that you have both a well lit and a well ventilated area.  Make sure to wear a protective mask or bandanna and/or goggles to protect your eyes.  

If you do not plan to attach a circuit to your turkey then skip to step ten.  

Step 9: Create the Circuit

For this step it would be best to either have some background in programming or review some basic programming in the arduino language.  Here is a link for the arduino language: Code.  Also, we have attached a copy of the code which we used to play jungle bells.  

Sew the circuit onto the front of the belly of Tryptotron and make sure that the photocell is facing outward, not in towards the cloth.  

In order to build the circuit these are the following connections which need to be made.  
( - ) to ground
( + ) to pedal 9 on the LilyPad
For this you will have to attach the photoresistor to a 1K resistor.  Where the two are attached should be connected to pin a0 on the LilyPad and the resistor should be attached to the ground while t he photoresistor will be attached to the power.  
For this circuit you will ned 6volts however is easiest for you to get them.  We found that using a 4pack of AA batteries works the best.  This will just need to be hooked up to the ground and power on the LilyPad.

Step 10: Straps and Padding

For this step you will need to have two 4ft strips of elastic and quite a bit of foam padding.  You will need to cut the foam so that it can completely cover the bottom of the inside of the turkey.  Now either use a nut and a bolt or a nail and attach the elastic strips in a criss-cross fashion also inside the turkey.  This will be so that the costume will not fall off when being worn.