Intro: From Sega Cartridge to Crazy Dancing Robot!
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Now that I'm working in Engineering for Kids Azerbaijan, finally I have the opportunity to teach kids they can create their own inventions, using ordinary materials they can find even at home. And for "ordinary materials" I mean EVERYTHING, from broken toys to deodorant bottles.
Here is a good question: What you can do with an old bootleg Sega cartridge with the worst games inside?
Answer: a lot of things. All you need is your creativity!
The name of this guy is Dali Yashilbash (Azerbaijani for "Crazy Green Head"), and it's very popular in our STEM lab. Why the name? Besides the obvious, it's because I used the piece from an old Hewlett Packard printer for the battery cover of this project. And I had to use it upside down, so the "hp" became "dy". I need a good name using those letters, then... EUREKA!
To build this project, you will need an old video game cartridge, some plastic junk (mainly from broken toys and McDonald's), a plastic egg, screws and bolts. If you can't get all the materials, don't worry! find replacements that work.
Step 1: Materials
You will need the following materials (remember: if you can't find it, replace it! Your creativity is the limit):
- 1 Videogame cartridge.
- 2 plastic coat hangers (I got good results with the ones to hang small clothes)
- 2 McFlurry plastic spoons.
- 1 two-axis gearbox from a batteries operated toy: a gearbox is a small box (most of the time is black) where you can find an electric motor. Inside the gearbox you will find a gears mechanism, transmitting movement in different axis. If you find an electrical toy with multiple movements (like a machine gun moving the barrel and rotating the ammo clip, or a car that moves over the floor and open and close a door in the top), then probably you will find a good two-axis gearbox! For more info, you can check this instructable.
- 1 big green plastic egg: like the ones with candies or toys inside. You can get them especially in Easter time.
- 2 plastic balls: from deodorant.
- 1 batteries box: you can find it in some toys (I will explain you how to extract it) or you can buy it. This project works with 3 AA batteries.
- 1 plastic plate (optional): the batteries box I found didn't have a cover, so I created one from the tray of a HP printer.
- 1 switch.
- 1 spring.
- 1 green LED
- 1 220 or 330 Ohm resistor.
- 2 lightbulb sockets
- 2 iron pieces: for connecting the gearbox axles to the arms and legs.
- 9 iron angles.
- Screws, bolts and iron washers.
- Super glue.
TOOLS: pliers, rotary tool, screwdrivers, wire cutter, soldering iron, hobby knife.
WARNING: If well this project is battery operated, remember every activity involving tools always has some level of risk; so be careful. Read the instructions every time you use an electric tool for the first time. Drilled and soldered surfaces can be hot. If you are a kid, ask your parents or any adult for supervision. Protect your eyes, hands and any exposed body part when you are operating tools.
Step 2: Coat Hangers
Take the two coat hangers and cut the hook and the arms (of each arm, leave only a small segment). We will need only the center piece.
Drill three holes: one hole in each side and one in the center.
Step 3: Waist
Take the cartridge and attach an iron angle in one of the sides, using a screw. The angle must be aligned to the center of the cartridge, so maybe the hole you drill won't be exactly in the same position of the original screw hole of the cartridge.
Step 4: Hips
Install one of the coathanger pieces in the iron angle. Use a screw, a nut and some washers. Don't tighten it too much. It's the hips axle, so we need it movable.
If you did this step in the right way, this piece will spin like the helix of an airplane when you move it.
Install two small iron angles, one in each side of the coathanger piece. They have to be tight, because you will attach the legs there.
NOTE: One of the screws have to be longer than the other, so you can install one of the iron strips. This strip has to be loose, because it will transmit the movement from the motor.
I removed the label from the videogame cartridge, because I accidentally scratched it. If you want, you can leave it.
Step 5: Gear Box
Install the gearbox over the cartridge, using small iron angles and screws. If the disc of the axle is not big enough, add an extra piece of plastic.
At the other end of the iron strip in the hips, install a small screw with a nut (it has to be loose) and screw it in the plastic piece of the axle.
To avoid nuts to get loose, add a little drop of super glue between the screw and the nut, but be careful of not gluing any other part, or the mechanism will get stuck.
Cut the remaining part of the screws in the axle, to avoid the mechanism to get stuck.
Step 6: Shoulders
Now you have to create the shoulders mechanism, in a similar way to the previous two steps. The difference will be this time, you don't insert the axis into an iron angle, but directly to the game cartridge. Remember: the screw has to be firmly attached to the cartridge, but the coathanger piece and the mechanism have to be a little bit loose to allow movement.
Step 7: Legs
Open the lightbulb sockets. Attach the small iron angles, using screws, bolts and washers. Then, close them again, leaving the ceramic part inside for extra weight and stability of our toy.
Attach the legs to the iron angles in the hips. Do it very tight (even, you can add a drop of superglue in the joints) to avoid flexion when the toy is activated.
Step 8: Electric Diagram
The electric part of this project is very simple: just follow this diagram. To avoid confusions, the cable coming from the positive pole of the batteries is red; and the negative, black.
Step 9: Batteries Backpack
As I wrote at the beginning, you can buy a batteries box in an electronic components store. Or you can extract one from any broken toy. I used the rotary tool (Dremel) to cut the battery box from an electric girls toy (I kept the other parts for future projects). The batteries box didn't have the cover, so in next steps I will show how to create one.
Install the batteries box in the back part of our small robot. Connect the cables according to the electric diagram. Attach the batteries box using screws, hot glue or double-side adhesive tape.
This project works with 3 AA batteries.
Step 10: Batteries Cover
Maybe your batteries box still has its cover. Maybe you want to leave it without cover. But if you want to add an aesthetics detail, you can create a new cover using a plastic sheet.
I created a new cover using a piece from a broken HP printer (remember the Dali Yashilbash story?) and I attached it using a screw. Everytime I need to change batteries, I only need to rotate the cover using the screw as a pivot.
Step 11: Switch
Install a switch in the back (or in the place of your choice) of your robot, and connect the cables according to the electric diagram.
Step 12: Arms
Take the two McFlurry spoons and cut them according of how long you want the arms (I cut them more of less in the middle of the handle). Drill a hole in the end of each spoon, and attach them to the shoulders.
Step 13: Neck
Attach a spring to the top of the body. Probably you will need to drill a small hole and open the spring a bit in one of the ends. Then, insert the spring inside.
Step 14: Head
Attach the two deodorant balls to the plastic egg. Drill a hole big enough to house the LED.
Attach the head to the spring (neck). Solder the resistor, cables and LED according to the electric diagram, and then insert the LED in the previously drilled hole.
Step 15: And... It's Ready!
Now you have your crazy robot ready to move! Time to activate it! :-)