Introduction: Wall-E Made From Scratch



I had just entered the field of robotics and thought I should take on a project. I wanted to use such beloved Disney character to bring about a message of recycling. Just imagine a world where instead of those giant and noisy street sweepers, we will have a Wall-E at every corner of our street. (The robots wouldn't be taking over our world but will be helping us live a cleaner life)

As you can see just by the images, all components are original (this has never been done before) and it took several weeks to create it. (If my final designs are replicated, it will take a lot less time)

Word of advice, engineering skills are not defined by your mistakes but how you fix them. (i.e. my tracks)

This is what my final stage looks like

p.s. As promised, more videos and images have been added

Step 1: Planning

The first thing I did was plan the measurements and the dimensions of each piece

I used blender, and opensource 3d animation program to render 3d meshes as a 2d image

You don't necessarily have to do this but it is beneficial to plan out everything before constructing

P.S. It is not necessary for your design to work out as you want them to; track system with gears I intended to create didn't work well so I redesigned the tracks with wheels

Step 2: The First Type of Track System

WARNING: This step is only for informational purposes only. This step is to show you how the original track systems were difficult to create and that the designs had to be modified to achieve better results. You can use these designs and modify them.

I first started out with a die for both gears and then generated two gears for each tracks. After that, I created a jig to cut out and drill the 1/4 in and 1/2 in plywood links. I mounted a PVC pipe on a wooden dowel for spacers. After creating a frame, all pieces were put together and worked fine. 

Unfortunately, after a few tests, the tracks turned out to be too rigid and shaky.

If you have any questions on these original set of tracks, please contact through comments.

p.s. such gears and chains can be used to make a mini tank --- I'll be doing that later on

Step 3: The Second Type of Track System

Being that the gears and the teeth didn't work, I moved on to wheels (much smoother and fluid motion)

The measurements are shown on the first step for this new track system

The dimensions and the motor remained the same but the chains were replaced by a timing belt from a lexus and the wheels were hand cut on a band saw

(i too was disappointed with the paint job but it wasn't me who painted it)

Step 4: The Box

The next step was creating the box into which the power supply, controller, LEDs, and switches were mounted. In other words, it was a major body part for the entire robot.

It first began with a basic frame created from 1/2 ply wood

Next I attached the 1/4 in plywood frames and a hinge on the back which held the balsa wood door 

Step 5: The Eyes and Neck

I first created a die for the eye and cut out 3/4 inch plywood framing. The next step was to put through a cardboard tubing for the back part and the aluminum covering for the front frame. Later on, LEDs were incorporated into the front of the eyes with the wires going through tubing and connecting to a switch on the back. In the end, the back was covered with a casing and the entire eye piece was attached to the neck made of cardboard tubing and wooden base. For movement, fish wire was connected to a hook in front of the eyes and was fed to a servo inside the box.

Step 6: Programming

To program Wall-E, a controller known as EZ-Robot Bluetooth Controller v3 was used.

Servos, LEDs, and Speaker were assigned to ports on the controller and were then wirelessly controlled by a USB joystick connected to a laptop.

Functions include:
1. Arms moving forward and back
2. Arms rotating 180* up and down
3. Neck moving up and down
4. Tracks moving individually
5. Wall-E speaking speaker tones
6. Lights turning on in the eyes 
7. Light turning on the box

P.S. Wall-E can also be controlled by a microphone (voice recognition -- tested with positive results)

The second image is of how my programming looks like. The first command moves the servo to the given position and second command moves the servo back to another position. For example, the track servo is at 35* (stable) when you press the button, it moves to 70* (left) and when you stop pressing the button, it moves to 35*.

A + X = forward, B + Y = reverse, X + Y = left, A + B = right, RT = Neck down, LB = Left Arm, RB = Right Arm, LT = Arms forward

Step 7: The Paint Job

Perhaps the simplest step was painting the robot.

Yellow spray paint was used for the box and the eyes and black paint was used for the tracks

In the end Wall-E came out like this

Unlike me, if your budget is strong enough, a radar sensor can be incorporated in the front so Wall-E can dodge obstacles. A wireless camera can also be attached so Wall-E can track your face or even do color recognition.

Robot Challenge

Second Prize in the
Robot Challenge

Make It Real Challenge

Runner Up in the
Make It Real Challenge

Woodworking Challenge

Participated in the
Woodworking Challenge