Make a Candy Bowl Robot (using a Joystick)




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...

I don't know what is wrong with my Colombian coffee candies. I brought a bag from my country and nobody wanted to eat. In the office they said they are cautious with the candies because they are used to see crazy and strange candies projects. Even I had to promoted my candies saying "who wants non-explosive, non-dangerous and delicious Colombian coffee candies?".

Enough is enough. If people think my candies will do something weird, let's make my candies do something weird.

So I got a damaged PC joystick, a broken toy car, some cellphone chargers and a plastic container, and I made a Robot Candy Bowl. It works with a pressure sensor. When somebody wants to pick a candy, if he touch the container, RoboCandy wakes up, spins its claw and lights its beam.

Simple? Maybe. But it does the job: All people take candies just for the fun of seeing it in action. It's like some kind of "Operation" board game.

Does anybody else want my Robotic Colombian Coffee Candies? :-)

Step 1: Materials

I used the following stuff:

1 PC Joystick with handle
1 Broken batteries operated toy car.
1 Transparent and rectangular plastic container (not bigger than the joystick bottom side)
4 corner brace inside L (1in. x 1/2in.)
1 Empty plastic reel (like the used for wire or thread)
3 Cellphone charger (two with long case for the legs, the other one bulky with enough space for the battery)
1 Telephone charger
1 Laptop charger
1 iTop Pro toy (damaged).
2 Plastic wheels for chairs
1 Hing
1 Toggle switch
1 330 Ohm resistor
2 Big red LEDs
1 9V Battery clip
1 Hinge
2 Plastic tubes, from a pen, a marker or a insuline syringe.
Nuts, screws and bolts
Iron washers
Black and red wires
Superglue (cyanoacrylate)


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. Have fun.
7. Colombian Coffee Candies are good.

Step 2: Dismantle the Joystick

Use a screwdriver and open the joystick. Dismantle it, because you will need the case, the handle, the plastic ring below the handle and maybe another pieces.

Put the pieces over the table along the other stuff described on the Step 1, and start thinking how the robot will be.

Step 3: Back

Take the iTop Pro, open it and remove the electronics. Just leave the case for covering the hole in the joystick case. Use super glue.

Step 4: Legs

Cut the cables of the cellphone chargers.

For the feet, use the mount from the plastic wheels for chairs. You can remove the wheels in the way showed in my "Make a Robot Lamp" instructable. Now remove the upper metal axis, using a hammer on the prongs side. Be careful, because a bad movement could result in injury.

Take the chargers, the mounts, the corner braces, nuts, bolts and washers, and arm the legs on the way showed in the pictures. Don't forget to put some superglue between nuts and bolts, not only in the legs but in all the robot, because the vibrations will loose the robot joints.

Step 5: Electric Diagram

Before continuing with the robot assemble, look at this electric diagram.

NOTE: If you want to add another switch for turning on/off the robot, perfect! 

(Thanks to Renée Busse for giving me my first SketchBook lesson!)

Step 6: Crotch and Battery Compartment

Cut the cables, open and remove the circuits of the following chargers:
  • Telephone: it will be the crotch. Screw the smaller case to the bottom of the joystick (body). On the bigger case, attach the legs in each side.
  • Cellphone (bulky): use one of the halfs for housing the battery (battery holder).
  • Laptop: it will be the platform where the container rests and where the battery and the toggle switch will be located. Adapt it for fitting the the battery holder. Screw the lower half on the top of the crotch bigger case. Keep the upper part for the next step.

Step 7: Candy Container

Take the container and install it over the platform. In one side install the hinge between container and platform. In the other side install the switch in the platform. Be careful with the acrylic container, you don't what to scratch it.

Solder the battery clip with the switch and make a sensitivity test, first with empty container, and later with full container. Adapt the hinge and the switch for a better performance.

Close the platform and insert the wire (for powering the arms) into the body.

Step 8: Arm 1 (Rotatory Claw)

Take one of the joystick handle sides and pieces from the joystick and the broken toy car. Make a claw using some plastic pieces and attach it to one wheel of the car's motor (cut the other wheel). Make a weight with a heavy nut and a screw, and screw it to the wheel. Attach the car's motor and gearbox to the handle (arm), and connect the motor according to the electric diagram.

Step 9: Arm 2 (Blaster)

With the other part of the handle, the LEDs, the resistor, the plastic tubes, plastic pieces from the car and the joystick and the LEDs, make the laser blaster, like the claw arm of the previous step. Follow the electric diagram for the connections.

Step 10: Attaching the Parts

Connect and solder the wires, and cover with isolant tape. Close the joystick/body. Decorate.

Gently, fill half of the container with candies. Place the robot over the table and... just wait!

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    28 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    It is beautiful as it stands, but from seeing the first picture, I had hoped for more . . .

    So can I encourage you to get ambitious ?  
    How about, when you reach toward it, it picks out a candy and drops it in your hand ?

    And when you become Senior Robotic Design Engineer at OCP, please don't forget The Three Laws !


    1 reply

    Hi ElectroFrank: Thanks a lot for your comment. Maybe one day, when I learn some robotics, it could be more... robotic. In this momment it's just a toy. My specialty is junk art and creative reuse of plastic trash and e-waste. But your idea is good!

    By the way, can I encourage you to put some step by step instructables and sharing your DIY knowledge with the community?


    M.C. Langer


    6 years ago on Introduction

    That is pretty cool that it ended up scooting around in circles like that. I really like how you take junk and make it into something awesome!

    1 reply
    M.C. LangerChrysN

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks ChrysN!! I'm the new Artist in Residence. I will be three months working on Instructables HQ.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    MC as always this project is amazing and I absolutely love the "Prank" aspect (although I am slightly disappointed it came at the expense of a PIXAR character!). Fantastic design and I'm sorry no one wanted delicious Colombian candies.

    3 replies
    M.C. LangerSHIFT!

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot SHIFT! Now they want my candies! One question: what Pixar character are you talking about?

    SHIFT!M.C. Langer

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Just RC Car from Toy Story .....yeah he's one of my favorite characters. But, hey, if it's for one of your awesome robots, at least his death will be in vein :)