Let's Make Robots!

Look No Batteries

Due to the recent interest in oddbots competition what follows are some ideas to help.

I was given a robot (tin-clockwork) recently - which drove forwards for 10seconds on one wind, which got me thinking about an old wax and rubberband Motor i used to make.

So i adapted it to a 10cm tall papercard robot and by winding it up 50 turns it will turn for over 5 minutes - longer than most batteries :-)

 Please Note - the Videos are not time lapsed animations

At the end of the first Video you can see him walking.....








"Wild Thing"

Showing Robot version 2

Now with ability to rotate both arms independant of each other.













Very Silent Motors.

(higher quality video).

Not so silent when he cracks his head on the piano.




1robot2paper.jpgWith a trusty "Swiss Army knife"

the pieces are cut too precision.













Glued with stickglue - not exactly too precision.














Fill the hollow arm rings with wax, making sure the wax forms a bubble like thingy pround of the top.

Then make a hole through the center of the wax and card.


























An Elastic band is passed through arms and shoulders and secured with a cut ear-cleaner stick.

You can also see for this model i also threaded the elastic band through a drinking straw - which gives the chest more stability - and you can wind it up a lot more without squashing the ribs and leaving the robot breathless.











Laughing his head off......


















Next wax Joint is the Hip joint.

Just drip wax and build up a layer 2-3mm thick.

whilst it is still a little warm but set - turn it up side down and flatten it on the table - just so that the surface is a flat as possible.











Using Keyhole surgery - as we all have multimeter probes .....

the elastic band can be pulled through the whole model.












Details of hip joint.

 I have now found out that if you make the top surface out of PolyMorph then it gives a much smoother drive.

































Secure his spine elastic-band.

arrange it so it cannot rotate.














Robot complete ready to be wound up and let loose.

The Robot allowed me permission to make a full body X-Ray just to check to see if everthing was in the right order........

As i layed him on the keyboard (operating table) he raised his arm over his head -------------as if to say "Goodbye World"


+""*ç%&/&/()))== - Flash...................................







The Xray plate shows the positioning of the Elastic bands and Wax Joint.









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Yes its not easy to spalsh out on such extravagent machines.

 The First Xray showed this ......... looks like a baby robot ....wow.......

...... prehaps i should have used an ultrasound scanner .... whooops


OK, I totally give up all thoughts of producing the first clockwork robot. I'll never beat this.
I´ve never seen anything like this!! Very original!
Keep posting more of this  :-)
a real piece of art
The movements almost seem racheted, it would be interesting to see how the rubberband motor is put together to give such slow steady motion.

The actual movement is very-very-very smooth - as its a frition joint between the body of the robot and a piece of wax - the rubber band maintains  a very constant torsion holding the wax against the body.

It still astounds me how long this thing will turn for (5mins plus) almost at a constant speed (albeit slow).

There is no gearing involved.

The Video was made (errrr hmmmmm) with my cell phone and the frame rate not so impressing which is why its a bit sycho-pated- i will post a better version.


They reminded me of a robot arm piggy bank I use to have. It had a complex cam that opperated the different joints in the arm to pick up a coin and put it in the slot. Admittedly it ran on batteries but it could have been addapted easily to work from a rubber band as its single motor did not have to run very long.
I built one of those robot arm piggy banks from Meccano when I was a teenager. It's sitting on the shelf in front of me now. A bit of an overhaul and it would be right as rain again.

When i read your comment - i had a flash back -i too rememberd building such a meccano coin machine many-many years ago.

Do you still have the plans - or a picture.