Let's Make Robots!

"Shell" Materials

i made a robot and i want to make a shell for it to cover all the wires and junk. i tried soldering aluminum together from an aluminum sheet but the solder wasnt sticking so i figured that didnt work. Does anyone know a good place to get like plastics i could use or any other good material you have used before?

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The guy who wrote Robot Builder's Bonanza 4ed, Gordon McComb, mention he likes to use expanded PVC as a robot building material. After trying ePVC myself, I found it very useful for many robot building applications.

I used ePVC for my experiment with Vex treads. Make sure and check out Dickel's amazing work with polystyrene.

There are lots of other plastics one could use for robot building. Just check around and see what others have used.

One really cool plastic that should be in every robot builder's building supplies is Polymorph. I have links to several tutorials on LMR listed in my "tutorial" on the subject. Gareth and OddBot have posted several very useful tutorials on using Polymorph. You should also check out Crabfu's Polymorph creations.

BTW, If you don't have a copy of Robot Builder's Bonanza, I recommend it to new robot builders. I wish I had it when I first started building robots.


You could go to the dollar store and find any number of containers that could be repurposed to be a shell for a robot. Along the lines of what CtC mentioned, there is a material sold at the dollar store here that is paper sheathed foamboard. I have seen it used to make a hobby RC trainer airplane. Being the dollar store everything is a dollar. :)


Check out episode 9

A little while back a bunch of us went through a phase where we made robots out of mixing bowls.  Looked cool.

If you have a hobby shop near by, you might be looking for a product called "plastruct". Basically, it is styrene sheets that model train folks use to build models. Its super cheap, easy to cut, uses super-fast cement to bond and is a great "shell" material.

What size are we talking about here?

You can scavange many useful materials from technojunk, but you can surely buy plastics and such online.