Upgrading an Abandoned Barbie Into a CYBARBIE!




Introduction: Upgrading an Abandoned Barbie Into a CYBARBIE!

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 artist …

YES, I KNOW! I'm not the most popular man when we talk about Barbie dolls. If you saw some of my previous instructables, you know what I'm talking about:



Now, I'm in the Mattel's Black List, banned on the girls section of the toyshops and hated by my female cousins.

(Good thing they haven't seen my failed attempts...)

One day, I was walking on my favorite Flea Market, when I found some old and abandoned Barbies, naked, dirty, with their hair damaged. Even one of them had arms from another "Barbie" (not an original one). U$1.00 each doll.

It's redemption time!

I bought two Barbies. One of them, I decided to trasform her into an AWESOME BARBIE! So I cleaned and repaired her body, I made futuristic new clothes and a radical hairstyle. Oh, and a brand new mech, Power Loader style, for kick some serious butt!

And the other Barbie? Well, old habits die hard... MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Step 1: Materials

Do you remember everytime I said "Always have junk in stock"? Well...


A big amount of black plastic junk. I used, among other stuff:
  • A wireless phone base
  • PC joysticks
  • A saucepan handler
  • Walkman headphones
  • Airplane headphones
  • Damaged toys
  • A pump handler
The electromechanical caterpillars from a R/C car (If you have the whole R/C car, much better!)
1 Barbie
Sugru (depends of the clothes you want for your doll)
2 Big LEDs.
2 DPDT lever switch
1 simple switch
Iron angles
red and black wire
screws and bolts
Tin soldering


Dremel Rotary Tool
Wire cutters
Screwdriver kit
Soldering Iron
Super Glue

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!
7. Keep your Barbies away from me.

Step 2: Extreme Makeover

First, you have to clean Barbie. Wash her with water, a sponge and dish detergent.

Cut her hair (well, I almost shaved her)

For the clothes, I used Sugru, orange, black and white colours. I used soapy water for a better texture.

Try to make a mini-skirt with Sugru for your first time :-P

Now, we have our "Futuristic Fashion Barbie".

Step 3: Starting the Mech

Take the phone base, open it and remove the circuits. As always, we only need the plastic case.

Keep the case screws in a safe place. You will need to close the case later.

The front part of the base will be the mech's cockpit, where the Barbie will sit. Keep it apart.

Take the back part of the case and attach the pump handler (it will be the spine and shoulders) and a printer piece on top (Barbie's headrest).

Step 4: The Arms

For each arm you will need the following plastic parts:


1 Joystick handler (disassembled)
Half saucepan handler
1 Iron angle


1 Oven knob
2 Cash register pincers (or something who look like pincers)
1 Toy car wheel

Attach the pieces on the way indicated on the pictures. Make two arms.

Step 5: Fixing Arms and Lower Pillar

Attach the arms on each side of the pump handler.

On the lower side of the base, attach the pillar (I use one piece from a PC joystick). The pillar will join the body to the locomotion mechanism (the caterpillars). If the pillar is hollow, much better, because you will need to pass some wires.

Step 6: The Cockpit

You will need the front part of the phone base, the Barbie, the diadem of Walkman headset and two airplane earphones.

Sit the Barbie on the front part. Use a screw for fixing her to the chair.

Cut the diadem in half and put each half on each Barbie's shoulder as seat belts. Fix them with screws.

The ear parts of the earphones will be the controls. Remove them form the phones. Screw each one to iron angles and on each side of the seat, within reach of Barbie's hands.

Step 7: Locomotion

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your caterpillar R/C car still has a working R/C (or you have a R/C system available for installing in the caterpillar), then keep the R/C (or install it) and just attach the pillar to the car and the base front part (seat) to the body.

I only found the car without radio control, so in the Step 8 I will show how to make a simple motion control for the the Mech's back.

Open the mechanism and remove the remainder circuits.

Connect long wires to each motor and to the batteries pack. Pass them through holes on the back part of the car, and then introduce them into the pillar towards the Mech's back.

Attach the pillar to the car, close the car and attach the seat to the Mech's body.

Step 8: Electronics and Controls

We will make a simple motion control with the three switches. The simple switch will energize all the system, lighting the LEDs. The two DPDT lever switch will control the way the Mech will move. First "program" the motion turning the DPDT switches, and the turn on the simple switch.
Right switch controls right caterpillar, left switch controls left caterpillar.

Both switches up: forward
Both switches on the center: off
Both switches down: back
Right switch up/down, left switch on the center: forward/back motion to the left
Left switch up/down, right switch on the center: forward/back motion to the right
Right switch up, left switch down: counter clock spinning
Right switch down, left switch up: clock spinning

Install the control on the back, more weapons and insert the batteries (the battery pack has room for eight, but I use only six).


Back to School Contest

Participated in the
Back to School Contest

Hack It! Contest

Participated in the
Hack It! Contest

Halloween Decorations Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Decorations Contest

Fix & Improve It Contest

Participated in the
Fix & Improve It Contest

Hurricane Lasers Contest

Participated in the
Hurricane Lasers Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Mason Jar Speed Challenge

      Mason Jar Speed Challenge
    • Pumpkin Challenge

      Pumpkin Challenge
    • Bikes Challenge

      Bikes Challenge

    56 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone else think that she looks like Chell ,from portal, with a aliens cargo exo suit?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    MC, as always, your artistic merit knows no bounds! You should put a video camera on CB and get some awesome FP footage!

    M.C. Langer
    M.C. Langer

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot SHIFT!!! It's a good idea about the camera :-)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very good, i really like the Ripley look. good detail.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Brilliant design from repurposed materials. Well done!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I recognized your work on io9.com this morning, great work.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I guess I missed this one! I love her sugru top! You did a great job, it looks like it was made for the doll.


    8 years ago on Step 8

    Wow! my daughter Hates Barbies but is into the new "Monster High" dolls, this is cool! Have you ever seen Dr. Who & Torchwood? I'd love to see you make a Cyberwoman Barbie off of the cybermen concept in those shows, not the full bodied cybermen but the Cyberwoman girlfriend Ianto hid in Torchwood's basement. That would be totally cool!! Maybe that could be your next project or 1 down the road ;D in the Monster High doll line they came up with a "Robecca Steam" doll, combining the steampunk look into her. Maybe you caould steampunk Barbie too! This is so fun to see!! Thanks for creating it!

    M.C. Langer
    M.C. Langer

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 8

    Thank you very much Kldrshadow!

    Well, I LOVE DOCTOR WHO! HE'S THE BEST!! Sorry, but Torchwood is almost imposible to find in Colombia, but I'm still searching. Captain Jack Harkness is an awesome character.

    Have you seen my other projects with Barbie dolls?

    About the Steampunk, I think it's an awesome style, but not my style. I want to keep experimenting with Barbies and robots because is pretty cool to play with the beautiness paradigm in so bizarre ways! :-)