Skunkadelia’s Prototype Poseable Articulated Metal Astrobots
Not that long ago, about 3 in the morning, I jumped up from a near sleep with a Eureka moment. About a month earlier Self Destruct, a friend and fellow pilot, suggested I make my robots poseable for stop animation. I pictured purchasing ready-made stop motion sockets and trying to get them to work on my particular scale. It just wasn’t of interest to me. But then it hit me, just as I was dozing off – to make the ball and joint sockets myself.
I decided it would be acceptable to use new materials for this new generation of bots, because it allows me to let the robots evolve. In the past I have held myself to a strict law of using as little new materials possible. A few pieces of simple hardware allows me to do much more with the materials at hand, and it’s still well over 90% reused, an acceptable level in my opinion.
By the time I was ready to start building the ball and joint socket I was more excited than I’ve ever when beginning a piece. I felt like a young Dr. Frankenstein and Willy Wonka all rolled into one. The result was Adam:
A few years beforehand Decaf, another SCUL pilot and friend, showed me a robotic dinosaur he had designed and built, and told me of the utter importance of the ankle. The ankle allows for the bot to get it’s center of gravity directly over the feet to allow for poses so dynamic, they mimic figure skaters.
Having a ball and socket joint in the neck gives the ability to change the expression by merely tilting or cocking the head at different angles. This was a pleasant surprise to me, even though I decided on the pose of the head for every robot I made prior. Now the task of posing is taken from me, and given to the “viewer” – no longer an applicable word. Perhaps “operator”, or “caretaker”. What’s the word for someone who plays with toys? A child, I suppose. Playing with Adam certainly brings out the child in me. He’s completely lovable.
After building Adam I realized the first ball and joint socket I designed did not give the robot enough flexibility for Adam to sit. This was simply not acceptable! Hip surgery was performed the very next night. I also realized that some of the advantages of being able to hand-tighten the tension on the joints made for frustration when attempting an exciting pose. A realized the ankle joints needed to be fixed. I was also getting excited about the idea that these little guys could very well be around for hundreds of years, so I added lock nuts to the brass wing nuts for the elbows and knees, with two split lock washers for each joint – a suggestion from another brilliant friend of mine, Buckminister. The brass wing-nuts are ten times more expensive than the steel nuts, but I cannot resist it’s how beautifully accents the steel, and how charming they look. For now, they are standard issue for all elbows and knees.
For more detailed shots of Adam, see his album on Skunkadelia’s Picasa Web Page.