How to build a robot out of recycled materials

This morning we woke up to rain and mist and no real plans for the day. Since we're not spending any money at the moment due to our No Shopping Challenge we decided today was a perfect day to hang out at home and get creative.

Ben was given this great book by his Auntie for Christmas. It has cool ideas for making robots using odds and ends that you have lying around at home.

We didn't end up doing a project from the book but it did give us inspiration to do this:

We had an old laptop with a broken screen stored away in a cupboard and it was the perfect thing for Mr J and Benny to dismantle. Ben loved using the screw driver and taking the pieces out by himself. Pretty soon we had a big crate of wire, circuit boards, and pieces of metal.

Next came construction:

Then spray paint using some leftover car paint we had in the laundry.. and gluing the cool pieces from the lap top in place.

 This is a great up cycling/recycling project to do with your kids. Everything on "Otto Ankle" (that's what Ben named him!) was found around the house. If you'd like to make something like this yourself here are some ideas of what you may need:

  • Old electrical equipment such as a stereo or computer. Make sure the battery is removed if you're taking apart a laptop and be sure to supervise your kiddies just in case as there are some sharp metal bits inside.
  • Cut off cords from broken appliances
  • Tin cans
  • Plastic bottles and lids
  • Duct tape
  • Insulation tape
  • Super glue
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Sharpie pens
  • Spray paint or regular acrylic paint
  • Wire
  • Cardboard boxes in various sizes
We've started a collection of things of this nature for Ben to make stuff with, that way when we find something interesting it's easy to add it to the box. We're going to keep the box up high so he has to ask to use it (otherwise I foresee some 2am building sessions). Council clean up days are a great way to build up a stash of interesting building materials or ask around your friends to see if anyone has any electrical equipment they want to get rid of.

Happy building!


  1. What an awesome Robot! Never would have thought of using an old computer or similar, but the effect is perfect!

  2. Wow!!!! It's Great


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