Robot Piggy Banks




Introduction: Robot Piggy Banks

About: This author has not updated their profile. They might or might not get around to it sometime. If the kid wants a unicorn... Dangit, we're gonna make that happen. What little I know is dangerous, the rest I...

Make robot friend, not robot enemy.

Make something to count on to keep your small change in one place. Save up for that arduino, used car or college.

Reuse plastic containers to save your coins. Dress them up a bit. Make cool robot themed piggy banks for young savers. The ones I made are based on Adafruit's Adabot and the Instructables Robot. Make one of any design.

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Step 1: Found Items...

Big plastic containers make for great storage. They come in different shapes and already resemble something you want to make.

I used large empty containers for my project. You can even use a smaller plastic jar to make a robot piggy bank.

If you can't peel off the label right away, soak it in water until the paper softens up. Press on a piece of tape to adhere to any glue residue and peel it off. You can then scrape off including any gummy glue residue that is there. Use soap and rubbing alcohol to really clean anything left.

There seems to be an abundance of empty toilet paper tubes in the recycling bin. We can use a few of those.

Also, grab a few empty cardboard boxes to use it for our building material.

From other craft projects, I used leftover pieces of fleece and felt.

I also had a few bicycle safety flasher lights from the dollar store. They come in handy for all kinds of light-up projects. I will use that to light up Adabot's mouth.

Other bits and pieces:

pipe cleaners, preferably in a bright color to use for the antennae

stiff wire for the arms armature on Adabot and to make a third leg support for the Instructables Robot.

googly eyes, I had some 28mm size

blue paracord


various glues - hot glue, spray glue, craft glue...

scissors, utility knife...

CAUTION: Cutting tools are sharp. Hot glue is hot. Crafting is fun but do it safe.

Step 2: Bank Roll It...

Do not admit da feet.

Have a plan or goal to aim for. You need a solid foundation to be thrifty.

I knew that a container of coins would be heavy so the feet which serves as the stand for the piggy bank would need to be sturdy.

With the grain of the corrugated cardboard going in the same direction lengthwise of the leg, tightly roll up a piece of cardboard to fit inside the toilet paper tube form. Trim off any excess or add more to fit.

Glue all over and roll tightly again to fit inside the toilet paper tube.

You could also do without any toilet paper tubes, just tape or use a rubberband to contain and clamp the rolled cardboard until the glue dries.

Glue a piece of cardboard to the bottom of the filled tube to be the size for the foot.

Make sides for the foot and fill in with cardboard that is glued with the grain going the same way.

Cover the foot with a finish piece of cardboard.

For the Instructables Robot, cut out and glue laminate cardboard for the wheels.

I used bits of a bamboo skewer to reinforce the joint between the wheel and the leg. You can use a dowel, pencil, screw, or anything stiff will work.

Step 3: All Hands on Deck...

Cut out a stack of cardboard in the shape of the robot claws. Use the first one as a template to trace out on other pieces of cardboard.

Laminate or glue enough pieces to get the thickness you want.

I used the outer layers from scrap cardobard pieces to papier mache the rough edges of the laminated claws. It's easy to get the hang of peeling apart corrugated cardboard layers cleanly.

For the Instructables Robot, I used more toilet paper tubes for the arms.

The top part is pinched to taper and taped off.

I packed it tight with newspaper to get the form rigid.

The paddle hands were inserted and more newspaper was packed around it.

Seal it off by gluing paper from the outer layers of scrap cardboard.

Step 4: Get Ahead...

The head component is basically just a cardboard box.

Just start folding up cardboard to get the shape you want.

You can start out by just making the front, top, back, and bottom in one cardboard loop and then add the sides.

Trim pieces as you go along to make things fit together and leave surfaces or tabs where you can glue to the next piece.

I double layered all the cardboard surfaces to make them more rigid.

For Adabot's head, I drew on the face to see where the mouth would be. I would then cut that opening out so that a light could shine through.

The back is semi-open so I could place in the bicycle flasher inside. It clips on to a low back piece and has a v-notch cutout so I can press the button switch.

I also cut out some round pieces that will build up the ears. Laminate enough cardboard pieces to get the right thickness.

You should now have most of the robot parts completed.

Step 5: Can You Handle It...

Since we always design as we go, I thought I would just hot glue the arms of Adabot on but a more elegant solution presented itself.

I used some stiff wire to form the arms. I think the thought was that the arms were so long that it should be poseable.

The two arms were from one long piece of wire from a coil.

I added another piece of wire to make it a ring that went around the mouth of the container. The arms could just hang off of the container and not spoil the look of the clear plastic.

With that set, I wrapped layers of newspaper around the arms. I then bundled it with tape.

Step 6: Get Fleeced...

Now this is the tough part.

There are so many odd shapes and sizes to cover with fleece.

I had a bottle of spray on glue, the non-toxic kind, but it was hard for the glue to set up because it was a humid day and fabric just soaks it up rendering it useless to stick down all the floppy parts. The solvent type spray glues probably work better and have a quicker tack or stickyness. I switched over to just using the thicker craft or white glue.

Since I was working with fleece and felt, I tried using a felting needle tool to finish up the seams and raw edges to make a more seamless look. But...I broke all the needles after a few minutes. The hard cardboard backing probably took it's toll on the needles. I also think the dried glue on the fibers and the matted down thickness was probably not good for effective felting.

After the major parts are covered with fleece, you can work on adding all the details.

Cut out and glue on Adabot's lightning bolt.

Hot glue on the googly eyes and ears.

Use blue paracord to wind around the arms and legs.

Use a dab of hot glue to seal the ends of the cut paracord to keep it from fraying. Use dabs of hot glue on the back to fix the loops of the paracord in position.

Cut out a piece of paper to cover the mouth opening. Draw lines for the teeth. Cover with some packing tape front and back to make it durable. Position inside the robot head and tape in place. Clip in the bicycle flasher to test out how it looks.

For the Instructables Robot, cut out small pieces of felt to glue on for the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, buttons and sleeve/pant stripes. Oops, I forgot the shoulder rivet dots on the arms.

Use a permanent marker to draw on the finger lines.

Use pipe cleaners to form the antennae. Use an awl to poke a mounting hole. Hot glue in place. Bend the ends of the pipe cleaner into a loop to keep the wire ends from becoming a hazard.

Hot glue all the major parts together. Be extra careful when attaching the robot arms and legs to the container. That big blob of hot glue you use to attach can drip and get on you. It also takes a lot longer to cool and set up so avoid touching and testing it. Clean up any loose glue strands later on.

Step 7: More for Your Money...

Since there is no autobalancing mechanism the Instructables Robot, I had to add a helicopter tailskid on the bottom. It is just another piece of stiff wire that is bent in shape to act as a third leg. The ends of the wire are embedded and hot glued into the back of the legs so that the wire ends are not a hazard.

Attach the robot heads to the caps of the containers. Since the caps screw off, you may want to use something that allows the head to rotate for better display when the cap is screwed back on. Tape, velcro, or screw and washer are options.

You can also cut a coin slot into the cap of the container. I have found that the plastic caps are hard and brittle so they must be supported when drilling out. A hot knife or a rotary tool cutter might be better options.

And finally, tape on the back your savings goal indicator scale. You can use a strip of masking tape, a strip of paper taped on or just use a permanent marker.

So, make your own.

Add that tweeting function, coin counter or something to play soundbytes when you add or remove coins from the jar.


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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Wow! They really look cute.