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How To Make Mini Spider Robot Sculptures

Out of Electronic Bits Anyone Can Find

What These Are

Years ago when I was in school, I got most of my parts from snipping or desoldering them off of junked circuit boards, or from taking apart old equipment. One day I took some of the parts and soldered them into what I wished was a functional spider robot - but even though it didn't work, it was pretty in its own way. It was also fun and inexpensive and fast to make. Since then I have made quite a few, and no two have ever turned out the same.

Here I'll show how to make a simple spider-robot sculpture. You can put your own twists on it all you like. I've even made scorpions as well. The best way to be creative is just to work with what you have!

Materials

There isn't much needed. Mostly you need a chip of some kind for the body, a fat part for the abdomen, and some leg segments -- capacitors and resistors are great for these.

Here are some parts I started with. As usual, I didn't use them all and even wound up using a couple others. You don't need exactly what's here - but it shows a good start.




A distinctive piece of a spider is the abdomen. Pick a bulky/bulgy piece for it. Capacitors work well for this purpose.

No more preparation needed! Heat your soldering iron and dive in!

Basic Spider Assembly Method

I start with attaching the abdomen. Sometimes you can just solder something to the pins on one end of the chip. In this case I used a reinforcing piece of wire to which I sloppily anchored the inductor. (By the way, I left the excess anchoring wire intact - might turn it into antennae. It's already turning out different than I had in mind!)


Next, I hold the spider body upside-down in some clamps, and I take either fat resistors or some smaller capacitors (or any other leg-segment looking piece) and put a small loop or hook in the wire lead from one end.


These are simply hung on the pins so that they hang down naturally at an angle. Leave a little wire and room to move - you'll want to adjust them later after all for posing. (When turned right-side-up, the spider will have these leg segments naturally pointing upward like a real bug leg joint.) Do as many as you like. I did 8 since arachnids have 8 legs, but there's no need to get bogged down in details.




Next, cut the leads from these segments and bend little loops or hooks into them. This is where we will mount the next leg segments.

First turning the spider body over in the clamps (so it is now right-side-up), we now take resistors and bend a loop in one end (just like before) and hook them onto the other leg segments. This way they hang "downwards" when we solder them, which is where we want them to be leg-design-wise.



It's looking like a spider! Notice that once the legs and abdomen are on the body -- artistically the base is done; you have the part that looks like a spider. Now it's just customizing.

So first thing I'm going to try is giving just a slight bend to all the wire leads, and adjust the leg positions a little -- this will give it a water-spider sort of look to it.




Not bad, but I have something else in mind.

I will trim the legs so they're more spider-like and not so long. Then I'll turn the "antennae" into "fangs" by cutting them shorter, and giving them a vicious downward-bend.



One more thing. I want a couple eyes. I take a couple tiny LEDs and solder them onto the bottom, planning to fold them up tight against the body. But I decide once I push them up that I like them they way they are right now. They look like eye-stalks with antennae! Again, turns out different than I had in mind.




A Dispute With The Lego-People Erupts!

The results are tragic. (Click for high-res versions)







Lessons Learned

1. Making Mini Spider-Robot Sculptures is fun, economical, and can be done with recycled components.

2. Keep Spider Robots away from their natural prey, the Lego people.

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