Category Archives: Uncategorized

Walky Thing for Orlando Makerfaire

Here is another little toy for Orlando Makerfaire 2015. It’s more derivative that the things I usually make but still fun. The original is Theo Jansen’s Standbeest sculptures. The more immediate inspiration was a motorized toy one featured in Servo magazine awhile back.

This uses two continuous rotation servos to drive the legs, steered by two Sharp IR sensors and controlled by an Arduino pro mini.


Blinky Thing for Makerfaire

Orlando Makerfaire is a lot of fun. But with approximately 2000 people a day passing by your table, you just can’t interact with everyone. So I wanted to bring a couple toys this year that could pretty much run by themselves. The first is this part machine, part tree, part eyeball thing (described in greater detail on the one-offs page).

The closer you get the more frantic it gets. If you get all the way up to it at present it just gets calm again, but I am planning to add a surprise or two for makerfaire.


The Bean: a stand for phones and small tablets.

As an experiment in extending 3D printing technology out to more traditional production techniques, I developed a composite stone stand for phones and small tablets. The project page includes all the details, including materials, resource files, process, and my failed experiments. I have also included a 30+ minute video of the casting and finishing process.

A limited number of these stands are available on Etsy. Or you can print yourself one in plastic using the 3D file on the project page.

Acetone fumed ABS 3D printed buck, silicone mold in 3D holder, and final product in cold-cast composite stone.
Acetone fumed ABS 3D printed buck, silicone mold in 3D holder, and final product in cold-cast composite stone.

A big pile of boards. Want one?

As a first experience in creating a manufactured circuit board I decided to design a small prototyping board optimized for the type of project I typically undertake–one which uses an Arduino Nano along with a motor driver or other ICs and some components for sensors. I put together a page providing details of the board along with my first time experience in designing one and having it manufactured. The page also contains a link to the Fritzing project file for the board. I am putting 75 of these up for sale on Ebay. I will also bring some to Factur and the Orlando Makerfaire, so just ask me for one if you see me at one of those places.

In the meantime I have this neat box of boards sitting on my desk just asking to be put to work in projects……

A big pile of boards.
A big pile of boards.

Tutorial, tutorials

I have started  a page of links to maker skill tutorials published by others here. It is a highly curated list of tutorials that I feel are accessible to beginners, relevant to the kind of maker projects provided on this site, and from reliable sources. Moreover, the focus will be on basic processes and components of commonly used hardware rather than projects, complex systems, software, or specific brands. At the moment, it contains a good list for electronics. I will be adding other subjects over time.

A page of one-offs

The primary purpose of the robot50 site is to share full materials lists and build instructions for introductory to intermediate level projects that people can build. However I have built a number of one-off projects, mostly interactive toys for maker fairs, that I thought I would post in summary form. They have their own page and are presented for inspiration and with some cautionary notes on things that didn’t work out the way I planned.


The Woodie


Although most of the examples on this site show the Bootstrap robot with 3D printed components, access to a 3D printer is not required to build Bootstrap. By using a few extra purchased components and a little fabrication from scrap materials a fully functioning Bootstrap can be built without one. In fact the robot was designed around these widely available parts and materials and then 3D components were designed to mimic what could be purchased or hand cut.

Details of how to build Bootstrap without using 3D printed parts are provided on the Variations and Upgrades page. That page also includes downloadable templates for hand cutting the chassis or using a CNC machine or laser cutter to produce it. The extra components required are specified at the bottom of the Materials page. The example shown above (a mock-up with incomplete wiring) uses 6mm plywood for the chassis and aluminum flashing for the bumper. It also has the power switch  mounted on the left side, rather than the right, compared to the 3D printed version.



The program

The goal of the Robot50 program is to provide resources to makers in the form of inexpensive and extendable projects that are accessible to the relative novice.  The projects will build skills to assist makers in independently pursuing new projects. A concept brief can be found here (pdf file).

The first project of Robot50 is Bootstrap.