Instuctables Weather Robot





Introduction: Instuctables Weather Robot

Having made a few weather toys that move in response to higher humidity, I wanted to try building the Instructables Robot. My last toy is a wooden Gendarme that salutes when rain is coming; but the Robot should hate rain, due to rust, so, She raises her arms and celebrates Dry Weather! No Electronics were needed, so this Robot needs no batteries!

Step 1: Bending the Frame & Gluing the Front

I decided to steam bend a tongue depressor by soaking it in water (just to wet) then microwave 10 seconds to steam. I bent the stick over a bottle and used a rubber band to hold it. It took 3 tries to get the shape I wanted. Then cooling and drying kept the shape. Cut a 6" foam circle in half, put super glue on one edge and stick it to one half circle, trim about a 1/2" lip all around & glue this to the side of the bent frame. Any bulges can be re-glued later.

Step 2: Best Clamps

Clamps tend to leave dents in the foam, so I used fingers to hold, use gel glue if you want more control.

Step 3: The Pine Cone Used

This cone comes from a very tall pine and the scales curl when dry. soaking the cone an hour or so will close it up & may make removing scales easier. The top of this cone was remove, now the scales can be removed one at a time. Try not to break the scales & leave the stub at the base intact, it makes a tenon & is great for mounting.

Step 4: Mounting the Pine Scale

Mounted on a Popsicle stick cut to fit & with a slot cut to take the base of the pine scale, I dried the scale in a microwave 10 seconds or so to get it very nearly dry, it will rest on the stick if bone dry. Coating the scale with very salty water will let it draw moisture from the air better.

Step 5: Check for Movement

An inch of movement is needed to move the arms all the way, this pine scale will do 1.5" easy. Two hole were drilled into the tip of the scale to hold the control lines, Stretchy cord should be used to allow the arms to move & not pull loose or break the scale if forced by curious hands. A 0.5 mm cord may have been better  since it is not as stiff. I used 1 mm since I had yellow in that size.

Step 6: A Peak at My Notes

Here is a scan of my note book showing the model picture used and some of the notes on construction.

Step 7: Self Stick Foam Parts

The self adhesive foam parts can be removed & repositioned at will.

Step 8: Checking the Look

The arms, here were not yet mounted, just checking the look.

Step 9: Getting Ready to Mount the Works

With holes drilled in the tip of the pine scale (I like to call them petals), we are ready to glue the bottom in place. Lots of room left front and back for air to circulate.

Step 10: Mounting Detail

A little more drying is needed to get the tip of the scale down so lines can be glued to pull the arms up all the way.

Step 11: Arms With Pullys in Place

Here is a detail of the arms & brackets that hold them.

Step 12: Salute!

My previous toy, Pierre the Gendarme, has his scale mounted inverted, so he salutes the rain. The arm was pushed into a salute for this photo, the scale is only half way extended. You can easily see how he works.

Step 13:

Here feeding the lines through the scales & behind the base for pulling tight & gluing

Step 14: The Arms

Here are the arms with washers and line glued in place.

Step 15:

Here is a strip of can metal used to make washers & braces. I painted the washers yellow later.

Step 16: Mounting the Back.

Sure that the robot was working OK, we are ready to glue on the back foam cover. We could put a face on both sides, so that it can be appreciated from both sides if placed in a window between the sashes as I like to do.

Step 17: Trim the Edges

ready to glue up the sides & make legs for her.

Step 18: Super Glue!

Watch the thumbs! I got stuck a few times but pulled loose easily, no skin lost.

Step 19: 1st Prototype

My first prototype lost his head when he saw Miss Insructable, I stuck his face on the curved side & a little trimming, it fit!, Later, a new face was added.

Step 20: Now to Test Ms Robot.

We are having rain, try to chill, The thingy on her left is three pine scales glued end to end, it is straight out meaning 100% humid, it will curl into a hoop when it's dry.

Step 21: Happy Robot!

With it rainy the last few days, I used a hair drier to trick Ms Robot into a happy pose, just to make sure she was working. This is a glamor shot with the orange background and all.



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    16 Discussions

    These large pine cones must be native to your area -- nothing remotely like them in size in the Northeast as far as I know.

    You could sell these petals to a science supply house.

    Very cool i'ble !

    1 reply

    I've seen some like it from California on the web, they are very tall longleaf pines.

    Ms Robot has been happy for days now! We are in a hot spell here in NC :)

    I just did drop him a line to check it out. I like that Robot, there are only a few girl ones, Rosie and some super models. It is raining now, so she is still sulking.

    Know what? I'm favoring this. This build is too awesome to pass up!

    Thanks! I would really like to see several people try using this idea. I have one cooking for a water powered mini gondola that would inch its way along a wire overhead or a rotary motor like the sonic kind, only water powered, or at least a self winding clock. the pine scale can close a contact or sense soil moisture, too. I want to redo a bird that dips in water like the glass ones.

    I should note that my Gendarme Pierre, was inspired by bdeakyne and his little man that knocks over an alarm clock. And this lead to the Robot toy. I will try to do a time lapse of Ms Robot.

    To see a drinking bird based on this, see:

    It will dip slowly as long as water is in the cup. Wrap the beak with gauze tied with thread, and it will work better. with out the gauze, it will dip in the water and stay there just touching it and will follow the water as it evaporates, hey a level gauge!

    That is such a brilliant idea. I never realised you could get so much movement out of a pine cone scale.  I'm going to have to try something along these lines.

    1 reply

    You can gang the scales together side by side for more lift, you have to get a bunch and pick the ones that move the same amount. I have tried to make a perpetual motion machine that runs on plain water (slow, but runs) a clock would be great.