How to Make a Simple Humanoid Robot That Throws

After seeing a toy robot that was able to throw, my 7-year old son was determined to build one of his own. After much brainstorming and many failed prototypes, this is what he came up with. He is so proud of his creation, and I am helping him share his idea here for other young roboticists to replicate or use as a starting point for their very own invention. As you can see in the video at the end of the Instructable, he has a lot of fun playing with his robot (and fixing his robot as needed too!).

Is your kid interested in building robots, but doesn't know where to start? This is a simple robot my son invented from old toy parts, common craft items and wonderful kid whimsy and imagination. Inventing – what a great way to play!

List of Materials:

  1. Small wooden craft sticks (approximately 160 sticks)
  2. Glue gun
  3. 2 empty toilet paper rolls
  4. For spinning arms: any old toy motor that spins with wheels attached (my son used remote controlled motors from his Smart Machines toy building kit)
  5. A lightweight ball (such as a ping pong ball) for the robot to throw
  6. Optional moving legs: any old toy motor with wheel attachments (my son used K'nex toy motors, wheels and pieces)
  7. Optional talking head: any old talking toy and googly eyes (my son took apart an old electronic dinosaur toy that could talk when you push a button and added googly eyes)

Step 1:

First, begin by building the body of the robot. Lay 11 craft sticks side by side and use 2 anchoring craft sticks to secure them to form a square shape. Hint: To anchor the 11 craft sticks, put hot glue down the length of a craft stick and attach it to each end of the 11 craft sticks (see photo). Repeat 9 more times to make a total of 10 squares.

Step 2:

Make a rectangle by gluing 2 squares from Step 1 together. It is best to flip the squares anchor side down and then use another anchoring craft stick to glue the two squares together (see photo). Repeat three more times to make a total of 4 rectangles.

Step 3:

Glue the 4 rectangles you made in Step 2 together, and then glue the remaining squares from Step 1 to the top and bottom to create a rectangular box. This will serve as the robot's body (see rectangular box in photo).

Step 4:

Making the arms: glue any spinning old toy motor with the wheels attached to the inside of the toilet paper roll. Glue craft sticks to the wheels as shown and make sure it can hold the lightweight ball. This is the arm. Repeat 1 more time to make a total of 2 arms. Glue the toilet paper roll to the body of the robot that you made in Step 3. Note: depending on what motor you use, you may or may not have wiring. My son's motor had to be attached to a battery pack which he placed top of the robot body and so has wiring (see photos).

Step 5:

Optional moving legs: Lay your robot down and glue any old toy motor with wheels attached to the bottom of the robot body. My son used two K'nex motors (with on/off button), K'nex wheels and K'nex pieces. This will serve as "legs" for more robot mobility (see photo).

Step 6:

Optional talking head: To make the robot more humanoid, add desired details. My son took apart an old electronic dinosaur toy and added googly eyes. He glued it to the top front of the robot body. When you push a button, it says "This is Dot, the Triceratops" and some other phrases (see photos). You can also just add googly eyes to simplify the project.

Step 7:

Your robot is done. Have fun playing! (See video of robot in action).



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    5 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    No programming. Just basic motors. My son is only 7...maybe for a future project. I'm sure this will be a first of many robots to come.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Tell your son he's done a really good job and keep up the ideas!


    2 years ago

    Nice according to his age :-)


    2 years ago

    Very nice! Your son did a great job!