Modular Monster With Sugru and Legos




Introduction: Modular Monster With Sugru and Legos

About: We're a makerspace at the Denver Public Library! We specialize in digital media creation (music, video, games) but are pushing out to do more electronics, sewing, and anything else fun.

Have you ever said to yourself, "I would like my own monster toy, but I'd really like to be able to swap out a claw with a tentacle every once in awhile?" No? You haven't? Well, I think about these things all the time. So we made a monster out of Legos, Sugru, and some odd bits we had lying about the space. It consists of a base unit with a bunch of parts you can plug in any ol' way you please. Here's how you can make your own:

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Step 1: What You'll Need:

  1. Sugru: It's the stuff that feels like playdough and dries into rubber. It's swell.
  2. Legos. If you're on this site and you don't have a couple within arm's reach, I would be very surprised.
  3. Paperclips: they're an easy way to provide some structure or a skeleton for your appendages.
  4. OPTIONAL: googly eyes. Because googly eyes. GOOGLY EYES.

Step 2: Building the Base

Start by opening up the Sugru. It's a little stiff at first, so you'll want to mush it up for a couple minutes until it gets nice and warm and pliable. Some of it will rub off on your fingers - don't panic. Using dry paper towels or kleenex cleans it right off.

I started by shaping the whole pack of Sugru into a cube, and then pressing 4-dot legos on each side of the cube, male-side-in (dots up!). If you're making a larger monster, take two packs of Sugru, make two cubes, and then stick them together. I chose to off-set the two cubes of Legos at a 45 degree angle so I'd have MAXIMUM MONSTER MAKING FLEXIBILITY.

Step 3: Making Appendages (no Supports)

If you're making something beefy, like thick, strong monster legs, you can get away with just using Sugru to sculpt them. Again, work the Sugru until warm and pliable, then stick it on a Lego (as an aside, I love how Sugru is color-matched to Legos - so the blue Sugru perfectly matches blue Legos. This may or may not be your thing.). Think a lot about how you want the appendage to attach to your monster to make sure you attach the leg/tentacle/eye to the right part of the Lego.

The biggest hang-up working this way (i.e., without supports) is that Sugru does tend to bow and sag a bit while drying. For instance, the front of my feet started sagging toward the ground as they tried. You may have to get a little creative in how you position them while they dry - setting them up so that they sag the right way.

Another tip: getting some warm water on your fingers while molding the Sugru results in a much smoother surface and avoids "fingerprints all over" look that Sugru can get when you have to work it.

Step 4: Making Appendages (with Supports!)

Things like tentacles and claws can be long. If you don't give them some internal support, they'll droop all over the place, and you won't be able to tell a prehensile tail from a psuedopod. The easiest (and cheapest!) way I found to make decent support for my monster bits was to use a paperclip.

  1. Unfold the paperclip until it's straight-ish.
  2. Bend it (about) in half, leaving a little loop in the middle (see the first photo above).
  3. Futz with the loop until it's just a little bigger than the hole in the bottom of your Lego brick.
  4. JAM THAT WIRE IN THERE! (picture 2)
  5. Now mold your Sugru around the paperclip.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the Sugru covers all of the wire. You don't want your monster stabbing people. OR MAYBE YOU DO??
  • Make sure the Sugru touches both the Lego and the paperclip so that it's all stuck together, or your claw/tentacle/whatever will just shoot out at some point. OR MAYBE YOU WANT IT TO???
  • The cool thing about using wire as a support for flexible rubber is that you'll be able to do some posing of your appendage once it's all dry. Which is awesome.

Step 5: Put It All Together!

...well, wait a day for the Sugru to cure, and then put it all together. But now you have your own modular monster! Congratulations! If you come up with especially cool appendages/accessories, please let me know - I'm always looking to expand my monster's skill set...

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    That's so cool! I love that combination I bet you could make some amazing things, well you already have created a pretty awesome monster! Thanks for sharing