Most of us tend to hang on to items that we no longer use, thinking we just might need them someday. If you like robots and have some junk lying around, that day may have arrived. Discarded tins, old clocks, lamp parts, dead electronics, mismatched silverware, and any number of other cast-off materials sitting around your house, attic, garage or storage, provide potential construction materials for junk robot sculpture. Unleash your inner packrat, with some glue and imagination, and turn those old bits and pieces into art. Reuse and recycle old scrap and found materials to create eclectic junk model robots as nostalgic conversation starters, to give as gifts, or to start a cottage business.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Discarded gadgets
- Wire from defunct appliance cords
- Scrap metal parts, screws and bolts
- Small car parts
- Old tins and kitchenware
- Other junk and found items
- Household adhesive glue
- Tin snips
Select an item to make a robot torso, or body. Choose items that are longer than they are wide, like a tin, brownie camera body, metal bottle, or soda can. It should be a shape that will allow you to add arms, legs and head.
Pick out similar or identical pieces for legs. Look for things like old film tins, car pistons, spark plugs, and other items that will be the same length when added to your robot. Use household adhesive to attach these items to the robot body, secure in place temporarily with tape, and allow the glue to dry.
For robot feet, find wider pieces, like jar lids or tea ball tops, to provide stability to the robot in its standing position, and glue them onto the bottoms of the legs.
Find items to use for arms. Two pieces of the flexible part of an old desk lamp, a couple of forks, or cabinet knobs and handles make interesting arms. Glue and tape the arms in place and leave to dry.
For the robot head, look for items that are a bit smaller than the torso, such as an old bicycle light, a smaller tin, or and alarm clock body. Glue the head onto the top of the robot torso and let the glue dry.
Glue on wires, nuts, bolts and other interesting bits of junk to add facial and other features to the robot.
Remove any tape leftover from supporting pieces during the glue drying process, and set your robot upright so you can admire it from all angles. Add any last minute embellishments and consider giving your creation a name to personalise it even further. Display your junk robot sculpture in your home or office, give it as a gift, or make some extra cash by selling it on consignment or by online auction.
Tips and warnings
- Use the pliers and tin snips to cut and bend silverware and metal items before gluing them on.
- Use a hot glue gun if you want to build more quickly.
- Protect your working surface with plastic or paper.
- Apply household adhesive in a well-ventilated area.
- Use caution when handling items that are pointed or have sharp edges.
- Empty pressurised containers before cutting or puncturing.
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