Computer Bugs

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Introduction: Computer Bugs

About: I'm an artist who using just about anything in my art projects, a type of recycling. I haven't posted in a while because my digital camera died and I'm looking for a replacement.

How to turn old computer parts into cute little bugs.
Help save the environment at least a little plus make gifts for friends and family

Step 1: Tools of the Trade

Gather your supplies, I included but might not use each time:
Pliers
Solder
Circuit Board (obsolete/dead)
Tape
Soldering Iron
Super Glue
Paints
Paintbrush
Toothpicks
Knife
Nail Clippers

Step 2: Stripping

A quick and dirty way to get your parts is to heat up one side of the board where the part is and pull on the other with pliers or fingers. Rocking it back and forth as you do will work it out slowly.
WARNINGWATCH THOSE FINGERS SO YOU DON"T GET BURNT!
Please be careful as you could burn yourself on this step. Always prep your iron before use, cleaned and tinned for maximum efficiency.
Gather as many parts as you can, off any thing you can find.
VCRs, computers, clocks, printers, stereo equipment etc. are great sources for parts
I keep mine in a compartmentalized box sorted by type, color, shape and/or size.

Step 3: The Gathering

Now collect the parts you want to use for your bug. Sometimes I go for a theme, same color or all small parts.
I use resistors for legs (grab 6 of the same general color)
A capacitor for the abdomen (back end)
and a transistor for the head.

Step 4: Parts Prep

Now that you have your parts selected you should get them ready.
Straighten out the leads on each of the parts and use the knife to trim off any large lumps of solder.

Step 5: Soldering Take 1

Tape the 6 legs down in 2 rows so they meet in one spot, this is where the main body will be and the main junction for all attachments.

Step 6: Soldering Take 2

By now your iron should be hot and ready to go. With a delicate touch solder all legs together. You might need some pliers to rearrange them if they don't cooperate.

Step 7: Soldering Take 3

Next is the abdomen, solder carefully so the legs don't come off. Position it so as the solder cools it will be in line with the main body.

Step 8: Head Prep

Now we work on the head, I like the transistors because they can be used several ways.
In this one I went with antenna, that is the outer leads are straightened and bent outward some while the center is bent back ( the neck) for attachment to the body. You can also go the other way and place them down and bent inward like pincers. If you go with a different type you may have to glue it to the main body instead.

Step 9: Soldering Take 4

Now to finish up the soldering, place the head in position and zap it with the iron. If did the head the other way you can add small diodes or resistors here for antenna.

Step 10: Eyeballs

Bugs don't have eyeballs but this isn't your typical bug.
Start with a base color, I used off white here, and make a big spot with a toothpick.
Let dry a bit then use a darker color (this time black) to make the pupil.
A steady hand is recommended for this step, it helps to rest your hands against each other to do fine work like this.
Colors are up to you and can be very wild if you want.
(shown here not attached to body for clarity)

Step 11: Glossy

A final coat of gloss will give the eyes a bit of depth and protect the paint from chipping.

Step 12: Finishing

Now it's almost done, all that is needed is a little tweaking.
Bend the legs a little for a cute pose, maybe tip the head a bit too.
Use the nail clippers to trim them to equal lengths.
Mix and match your parts, the only limit is your imagination.
Once you get a rhythm going it only takes a few minutes to put them together.
A great past time of you are watching a garage sale and don't have much else to do between customers.

2 People Made This Project!

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133 Discussions

I think if you used a vibrater motor with an off balanced weight and a small coil cell battery to run it and some sodered resistors for legs and a ceramic capacitor for heat could sould make a little jitter bug toy.

This was a fun project. I'm stuck inside on a rainy day and could make these while watching Netflix. Thanks for sharing!

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thanks dude when i found this site i was looking for a way to introduce
it to my friends and your project really helped me with that.

5 replies

Well thank you too. When I did this years ago as my first instructable I tried to be thorough and clear. I'm glad that it was well done enough to help you introduce others to the sight and hopefully inspire them to make some instructables (and bugs) of their own.

Thanks to you my friend i have an inspiration which i am going to put it on instructables if i do not forget.

i was contemplating to make computer action figures by using only hot glue and cutting the pins.do you think that it will interfere with

Zlaja Genije topics.

Those are cute!

I'm glad that after almost 7 years on here this instructable is still getting messages ad people are still making the bugs!

I'm really surprised that you managed to find tantalum caps with such longs leads. Aren't they usually bent and trimmed pretty short? I'm guessing those were diagonal across DIP sockets, which are getting rare. Also, without getting too negative, can I nudge you on the "save the environment" line? I understand that these components don't go immediately into a landfill, but they also don't prevent anything new from being made, and they will probably end up in a landfill eventually. I see zero environmental impact from this, neither positive nor negative. I'm curious to hear your take on it.

2 replies

This IS in the realm of "save the environment" -- it IS recycling, and just as valid as any other recycling. THIS is something new getting made--art/craft. Anyway, eventually many or most of those other things being made from "traditional" recycling will end up where? They'll end up at, sooner, if not later (at the end of their recycling life), the landfill.

I know that it won't do much for the environment at first, but I hope that the bugs made will be around for a while and by the time they do end up being discarded the policies on recycling them will be much more advanced then now. As for the tantalum caps, well almost all my parts came from boards my cousin gave me that would have otherwise be buried in a landfill now. I think those came from an old Ethernet router.

There are all kinds of places to get the components. Old radios, boom boxes, TV's (be careful with them), some telephones (not cell phones), VCRs, DVD players, clock radios.
I just happened to have a bunch of old obsolete computer parts to work with and it turned out great to call them Computer Bugs.