Make a 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Campaign for Your Office (with a R/C Robot and Junkbots)




Introduction: Make a 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Campaign for Your Office (with a R/C Robot and Junkbots)

About: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer, from Colombia, former Navy officer and BSc in Naval Sciences. Right now I'm Technical Director and Technology Lead Teacher at STEM - Engineering for Kids Azerbaijan. Also, I'm artis...
At least in Colombia, when you work in a company, you always see the same kind of environmental campaigns: don't throw garbage to the ground, throw the garbage to the trash can, separate the garbage before disposal, print the paper both sides, trees are life and so on.

In my office, we want a more creative approach.

I work as Security Officer in an important business center. But one day, my boss needed a different recycling campaign. She had listened that I have a double life: one as security expert and other as junk art sculptor. So, I came with the idea of integrate some of my sculptures with posters in strategical places, a conference of creative recycling and a R/C trash can robot whit related messages, showing to the community that you can decorate your office reusing and recycling everyday trash and transforming it in durable crafts.

Our motto: "And you, what are you doing with your trash? Reduce. Reuse. Recycle."

There is my R/C trash can robot working in the elevators hall of the building:

Before starting, don't forget the 3R of waste management: (source: Wikipedia)

Reduce: to buy less and use less. Incorporates common sense ideas like turning off the lights, rain barrels, and taking shorter showers, but also plays a part in composting/grasscycling (transportation energy is reduced), low-flow toilets, and programmable thermostats. Includes the terms Re-think, Precycle, Carpool, Efficient, and Environmental Footprint.

Reuse: elements of the discarded item are used again. Initiatives include waste exchange, hand-me-downs, garage sales, quilting, travel mugs, and composting (nutrients). Includes the terms laundry, repair, regift, and upcycle.

Recycle: discards are separated into materials that may be incorporated into new products. This is different from Reuse in that energy is used to change the physical properties of the material. Initiatives include Composting, Beverage Container Deposits and buying products with a high content of post-consumer material. Within recycling there is distinction between two types:
  • Upcycle- converting low-value materials in high-value products (more desirable)
  • Downcycle - converting valuable products into low-value raw materials (less desirable)

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Step 1: Posters

I made some posters for the office, elevators and other strategic places. The idea is show to other people that you can reuse or upcycle the trash to make cool stuff. So I put pictures of art works around the globe (don't forget to show the credits) made of ordinary stuff.

If you don't have graphic design software, don't worry. I used Power Point.

Step 2: Transforming the Office Into a Showroom

I used many of my previous works for decorating the office. You can see them in this link:

However, I build new ones, like the green cockroach (fixed to the glass thanks to suction cups) and the red and white junkbot with the recycle message in its hands.

The best idea for decorating? the Robo-Planters!

Step 3: Materials for the R/C Trash Can Robot

Time for our Trash Can Robot. It works by remote control (advice: hide the remote control when you are operating it. So, your robot will look like it has its own live).

You will need:
  • Plastic trash can
  • Remote control transmitter and receptor: You can find it in any R/C car. I use an old one from another project, with 7.6V input. The control must be the kind of changing the wheels direction for turn left or right. The receptor goes into the trash can, controlling the wheels. Luckily, my receptor have rechargeable batteries and a charger.
  • 2 electric screwdrivers: for the motion. The ordinary reduction gears of many R/C cars are designed for speed and you need force for moving the whole robot, so the electric screwdrivers are the fast and economic solution.
  • 2 Old circular screen bases.
  • 2 rubber chain belt: from real cars. For the wheels.
  • 1 chair wheel: for the back wheel.
  • 1 telephone case
  • 2 auxiliar wheels: for balance in the front. They came from a building toy named Mechanix. You will need some extra pieces from the building toy, too.
  • 2 motion sensor cases: like the ones for turn on the lights in a room.
  • 2 Deodorant caps: eyes
  • 1 speaker: head
  • 1 PC screen base: head
  • 2 big LEDs: eyes
  • 2 resistors 220 ohm (red red brown gold): eyes
  • 1 switch
  • 1 AA Battery box
  • All the plastic trash you could need for making a good looking Recyce Robot.
  • Wire
  • screws and nuts
  • tin soldering
  • 2 AA Batteries
Dremel Rotary Tool
Wire cutters
Screwdriver kit
Soldering Iron

And don't forget:

1. If you don't have it, replace it!
2. Use protective equipment (dust mask and goggles)
3. Beware of drilled and soldered hot surfaces
4. Work in a good ventilated area.
5. Always have junk in stock
6. Enjoy!

Step 4: Wheels

First, you need the hack both screwdrivers, opening the case and soldering long wires directly to the motor terminals. The wires will be connected to the receptor wires.

Join both screwdrivers using an iron angle, in the way show in the picture.

For the wheels, cover the circular bases with the rubber chains and fix them with screws and superglue.

Fit each base into the screwdriver axis, and you will have the locomotion mechanism.

Step 5: The Body

Attach the screwdrivers to the bottom of the trash can, and make two small holes for introducing the wires to the inside.

Make an auxiliar back wheel with the chair wheel and the telephone, and attach it to the bottom of the trash can.

Step 6: Auxiliary Front Wheels

For a better balance, I installed auxiliary front wheels, made of Mechanix pieces attached to another plastic piece.

Then, I attach the auxiliary wheels piece to the trash can, using a hinge and springs for shock absorbing.

Now, all the locomotive part is ready.

Step 7: "Brain"

Attach the R/C receptor to the back of the trash can. Now, this is the part of trial and error, because you need to connect the R/C wires to the screwdrivers wires, right control to the right wheel, and the same with the left.

Proof the control (transmitter). When you press the front button from the right, the right wheel must go forward. When you press the back button from the right, the right wheel must go back. The same for the left. When you press both front buttons, the robot must go forward.

About the electronis of the robot, it has two separated circuits with separated power sources: one for the R/C and another for the eyes (fed by two AA batteries). There are two reasons:
  • The robot will keep with the eyes on when not rolling on the public areas, being part of the office showroom.
  • For simplicity if you are not expert in electronics.
In the back, you will have a backpack made of a liquid soap dispenser, when you have the R/C charge port, the switches for both R/C receptor and eyes and the batteries box for the eyes.

Step 8: Arms

I made the arms with some plastic pieces like motion sensor cases, Mechanix pieces and some green plastic stuff I found in the street.

In one of the arms, the robot will carry the banner with the environmental message.

Step 9: Head

Make the head using the deodorant caps, the PC screen base, the speaker and any plastic piece you need.

Insert the big LEDs into the eyes. Solder the resistors and the wires following the diagram.

Step 10: Finishing the Robot

Connect thw eyes wires to the batteries box in the robot's back.

Attach the head to the rest of the robot.

Make a banner using a thin pipe and acrylic sheet, and attach it to one of the arms.

Put a cool environmental message and take out you Trash Can Robot to a ride in a crowded area of your work place!

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    24 Discussions

    white dragon
    white dragon

    7 years ago on Introduction

    what you should sooooo do is whoever doesnt recycle and throws recycleing in the rubbish-

    come out from around the corner and stalkthem with a sign that says "why didnt you recycle"


    7 years ago on Step 3

    its really cool but I think it would be better if you could program it to move around on its own instead of you having to control it.

    M.C. Langer
    M.C. Langer

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    Thanks! Good idea, but I preffer the control. It's very useful when you need to impress girls! :-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    So adorable! I missed this one also. I love the pictures of your office! They look so cute all lined up. You can tell they are loved!

    I lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove him!!!!!!!!!!!!!