Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Greetings from a Happy Robot

The junk bots on this blog look vicious.

I'll admit enjoying the whole mythos of giant robots from space run amok and determined to take over our pretty, shiny planet.  But there are also heroic robots like R2-C4 that come out of nowhere to save humans from the literary slaughter. 
This is R2-C4.  You may have seen him defending William Shakespeare from the Spacebot.  I would classify him as a moderately vicious looking robot.  It's a good thing he is on our side.

I also have some totally happy and well adjusted junk bots I've built and similar collaborations with Claire.  She tends to save robotic destruction for cartooning and builds generally happy robots.

Unfortunately, those robots haven't been featured often enough and I need to alter the Happy Bot Quotient.

The following happy robot was built as a gift for a friend of the family's high school graduation.  She is a Harry Potter fanatic and one of the biggest Word Nerds we know outside of our own family - ironic as she is the child of an engineer and a math teacher.  She is relentlessly upbeat with a touch of snark and needed a friendly companion for the dorm.

With the exception of the after Halloween clearance arms, this bot was built with parts from my favorite thrift shop.  I was so excited to find a travel Lite Brite!  I can think of few things better for Word Nerds.
I didn't have time to add batteries, a switch and LEDs inside the camera.  The light stick arms really balances this guy's look.

Still charming with the lights off.
This robot has a lower recycled content than many due to the light sticks.  All of the assembly hardware came from yard and estate sale garage and basement collections.  We often use LEDs and sound boards recovered from dead or unwanted toys.

I have to admit a bit of existential angst after reading Robert Messenger's post on typewriter vandalism (more commonly known as Key Chopping in North America).  It's hard for me to know where to draw the line between junk and history when gathering parts.  Happy Meal toys are easy as there are whole tubs full that go unsold and end up in the thrift store dumpster.  My Spousal Unit would probably not be shocked to learn that I have scrounged things out of said dumpster.

Both the Lite Brite and the Kodak Hawkeye were garage sale rejects that still had their masking tape price stickers.  Still, the Hawkeye is unique.  I do save and display a variety of point and shoots from the 1930s-1970s.  So the line is fuzzy at times and subject to fits of whimsy on my part.  Generally, the higher the technology and mechanical level, the less likely I am to turn it into a robot part.

So there you have it: a happy robot with a side of angst.  This probably won't be the last happy robot to earn a spot on Vintagetechobsessions.


  1. Nice robots. I think it is fun to take what no one else wants and make something out of it. Not everything can be saved or restored to original so it may as well be used in a different manner.

  2. Love, love, love these! You have inspired me (and I have some young nephews who would go bonkers for this as a maker project). Sewing bobbins for hands? Cool!

  3. Robots are the coolest, thanks for sharing yours.

  4. That's a great robot! The Keychopper parallele is a good point, but here, you don't kill a functioning device of +-15kg for a few parts, but you used the whole thing. Keychopping is like killing elephants for their teeth. This isn't.


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