As the creator of the STRAWBOTS, I think it would be awesome if the instructables community helped add to the family. The following instructable is a brief outline of how I develop a new STRAWBOT.
The process is quite simple:
It's always valuable to scribble a few ideas down on paper before you start. Some of your ideas will be terrible, but a terrible ideas usually has a way of turning into a good idea if you give it the chance.
TRIAL AND ERROR
It took me a while to really get comfortable with the materials I was using. I didn't initially plan on using craft foam for my STRAWBOTS. It was one of those fortunate accidents. I wanted to use plastic, and I was using craft foam to help visualize some of the shapes I was planning in my head. After trying to hole punch plastic, I realized that craft foam was the obvious choice for its flexibility. And.... you don't need a CNC or Laser to cut it.
Once I have a rough prototype complete, I disassemble it and scan all of the pieces into Adobe Illustrator. I create a new drawing layer over the image of the pieces, and then re-draw all of the pieces accurately. After a while, I was able to draw pieces in Illustrator without making them in foam first. Then all you have to do is print them out and transfer the design on to the foam.
Since I make these for my animation class, I needed a way to make the process easier. So many of my students were eager to build STRAWBOTS, so I exported my Illustrator files and cut templates on the CNC. A laser cutter would have been ideal for this process, but I don't have one of those yet.
The ultimate goal of each STRAWBOT is to make it into some sort of feature film or stop-motion animation. Check out the following animations to see the STRAWBOTS in action.
Strawbots Episode 1.1 Instructables Robot Adventure
Strawbots Episode 1.2 Harvey 2.0 Hoax?
Step 1: Sketching
Step 2: Trial and Error
Step 3: Fine Tuning
Step 4: Templates
The templates are cut from .030" sheet styrene. I use the CNC and use double-sided tape to keep the plastic in place. I'm still thinking that I need a laser cutter for this. Heck it might even cut the foam for me.