Giant Kinetic Robot Sculpture From Recycled and Found Materials




About: I am a kinetic sculptor who works from found materials.
This Instructable will take you through some of the steps involved in building the Robot sculpture titled "General Debris". He gets his name from the many salvaged and found objects that he is built from. The General is one of many sculptures that I have made in this fashion over the years. If you would like to see more of them please visit

Step 1: Layout

Each piece begins by arranging parts on the floor until some kind of plan presents itself. Seen in the images attached are railing sections, vacuum cleaner attachments, cellulite shaker, food processor, drills, vacuum handles, small beer kegs, light fixtures, soil aerators, etc. The shape of the robot is pretty clear at this point, though little work has been done. The feet and hips show the most actual progress so far.

Step 2: Early Adjustments

While the proportions of the body parts were working out, I just didn't think that the head was quite right. Then I came across a Mercury outboard boat motor that fit the bill nicely, once it was cut down a bit and the paint was removed. The basic facial features where already present and just needed embellishing. I used the wheel wells from a vacuum cleaner for eyes to get things rolling. yet another boat motor eventually presented itself as the back of the head. These forms complimented each other nicely, but required a lot of patch work with stock aluminum sheet. A tiny chunk from a meat grinder provided a chin, bike pedal treads for teeth. A piece of red fiberglass from an exit sign was mounted behind the eyes and mouth. A standard light fixture provides the glow.

Step 3: Body Assembly

Once I had decided to use the antiquated health machine for the torso, the rest was a matter of puzzle solving. The mechanism would cause the shoulders to rotate, so I thought that a spring in the waist might allow the whole torso to bob along in sympathy with that motion. A variety of springs were tested. A combination of a Volkswagen Jetta suspension spring and a portable road sign mount finally won out.
The head was then welded to the torso via a section of bent pipe. Positioning took a few attempts until balance was achieved.
Small cooking pots were used for shoulders and bolted directly to the bearings in the health machine. Then the railing arms and light fixture/vacuum handle hands were added. This again required some trial and error until things were relatively balanced and positioned so that they would not collide with other parts of the body.

Step 4: Detailing

This is when it gets fun. This guy was clearly bad and needed some guns. Some giant old power drills, saws and meat grinders gave up their lives for this cause.
A volt meter, magnifying lens and some LED's provided the heart of a soldier.
Some ice scoops helped mass out the shoulders and provide more of a man-in-uniform look.
A pepper grinder and some cream pitchers help establish gender.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Once all the welding was done, all the metal surfaces were sprayed with clear metal laquer. A timing circuit was built in conjunction with a motion sensor so that the robot will pulse on and off whenever someone approaches. He will ultimately be installed outside a private residence and announce and/or deter all visitors.



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    36 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    in the first picture on the first step..... the robot has genitalia


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I worked briefly on the show "Prototype This" on Discovery Channel. We built a pair of boxing robots in a similar style. Perhaps this is what you saw.


    again another beautiful sculpture I love the sound the mechanics make but this guy needs a reciprocating saw attatchment for the crotch, think arms move, followed by the distictive sound and his crotch sawing intruders up while violating them, multitasking at its finest.

    1 reply

    lol thats not a bad idea hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

    lol i just felt like doing that


    8 years ago on Step 4

    "establish his" nicely put.your work is so amazing! captivating too.the possibilities and so endless!!! a pure pleasure to check out your stuff.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    How about a sound system so he says "Are you talking to me?" or "What are you looking at, Pilgrim?"

    Too Cool.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Do you sell your work, if so I would love to see what you have available. Do you do any other kinetic art like RBS's?

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi. Glad you like. There are tons of other pieces on my website There is also a "for sale""for sale" page where available work is listed.