“Snooty” the Panic Bot is a robot assemblage sculpture made from recycled found objects. Snooty detects surrounding situations which register on his Calm-O-Meter. He warns everyone when danger is present. He even taught Doctor Zachary Smith’s Robot how to panic. Ironically, when Snooty blasts his vuvuzela-esque warning horn it causes his Calm-O-Meter to detect more environmental chaos making him freak out even more, throwing him into an infinite loop of pure panic.
(continued from The making of a ChefBot)
From the work in progress report of ChefBot, I had just attached his arms and was describing his hands. As I mentioned I had been experimenting with copper tubing, rivets, and washers to come up with some hands. In the picture you can see the result.
After assembling two hands, I dipped the fingertips in Plasti Dip by Performix. It’s mainly used for making rubber handle grips for pliers and other hand tools. I taped off each finger about a quarter-inch from the end and dipped. Once dry, I cut around the edge of the tape to get a clean line and removed the tape and excess plastic.
A note on the holder in the photo: I needed the hands to dry in a specific position so the liquid plastic wouldn’t run down the fingers. I didn’t have anything that would hold them inverted so I made something. It was simple, yet very effective. All I did for this was to loop a length (about two feet) of Romex 12/2 wire in a circle (which becomes the base) then bring the ends up and bend them 90 degrees. This is just some wire I already had. I stripped the outer shielding off to reveal the three wires. This worked great and cost me nothing! Even after this build I’ve used the wire to hold pieces for painting, gluing, etc. I’ve used the Third-Hand type of mechanical holders before, but the wire allows me exact positioning without having to loosen or tighten wing nuts. Any semi-stiff wire you have around could probably work just as well. The Romex works great with the multi-wires serving as fingers.
While waiting for the hands to dry, I primed and painted the mixer-body and assembled all the hands/tools. I used hot glue to fix the utensils in place. I popped the arms together and got ready for the more challenging part, the uniform. I put that off in a master stroke of procrastination by concentrating on ChefBot’s eyeball. While I zoned out on the painting details, I let my brain work its imagination engine on a solution for the clothes.
That kinda-sorta worked. A definite well-formed solution had not come to fruition, however I did have a quasi-plan for making the outfit. I first researched chef wear online. So I knew I wanted the checked pants and plain white shirt or jacket and white toque hat (had to stay away from the cliche poofy chef hat). All the fabric stores I visited didn’t carry a suitable hounds-tooth pattern that was small enough for ChefBot’s scale. Once again, when I can’t find something I’m after, I make it. Going back to our pal, the Internet, I downloaded a hounds-tooth swatch. I scaled it down, duplicated, and patched it together in Photoshop then printed it on T-shirt transfer paper. That got ironed on to an old shirt and cut out to wrap around the lower portion of the robot. While not super easy, it was fairly simple. The jacket, not so much.
A bit of nostalgia floated around as I drew and cut patterns for the little chef jacket. It took me back to my puppet making days when I was much younger. Mom had taught me how to use her sewing machine and that’s when my monster making really took off. The Muppet Show was a huge influence. I made all sorts of people and creatures. So the actual pattern making and sewing were no problems. It was a teeny bit tedious making eight tiny sleeves with cuffs. So as not to stray too far off the robot-path, I decided on rivets instead of buttons for the sleeves and front panel. After the intricacies of the jacket, the hat wasn’t so complicated after all, just a pleated strip with two cuffs.
My chef friend, Matt, and I have always joked about the corporate world and their superfluous use of fancy-pants terms that don’t particularly fit their products or services. The main trend we saw was the use of the word Systems. Any time you want to sound like a big shot, just tack on the word systems. Instead of a garden hose, you can now sell a Landscaping Watering System! Voila! We saw it in movies too: Cyberdyne Systems Corporation from the Terminator series, for example. Another gem from corporate America is Synergy. After further joking and bantering we came up with SynerMuffin Heavy Industries, which, I am sure, offers a complete line of Industrial Culinary Cybernetic Systems! So I made a logo and printed out a tiny shirt transfer.
I finished off ChefBot with a TransBeam ThermoScanner (old indicator light which happened to fit perfectly), a headband, an egg, some trim around the bottom of the pants, and finally a signature.
Matt, thank you for a great and challenging assignment. ChefBot was a lot of fun to work on and spurred some more great ideas (and impromptu tools) during his assembly. ChefBot is my biggest robot sculpture to date.
A good friend of mine, Matt, is an excellent chef. He’s always refining his cooking skills with more and more culinary studies. He has commissioned me to create a chef robot, which we aptly named ChefBot.
One of Matt’s requests was for ChefBot to break the cliche chef statue attributes: short fat guy with a mustache holding a plate of spaghetti. I knew right off that this robot’s main parts would need to be something found in a kitchen. It only makes sense, right? So in keeping with Matt’s request and my gut feeling, I went in search of a kitchen item that would fit the bill. A drink mixer!
On a warm, sunny weekend I went to a flea market that was having a swap meet in the front parking lot. I found some cool, wonky wrenches, but no mixer outside. After getting the wrenches I headed inside knowing I’d find the main part of the new robot. Sure enough, past the musty smelling Barbie doll graveyard and around the corner from the lacquered slabs of wood depicting loverly scenes of cabins and barns with clocks where waterwheels would be, I found it! There he was, the unsuspecting future ChefBot. It was meant to be.
I picked up some other treasures in the flea market as well… some kitchen utensils, skewers, and a tackle/organizer box with miscellaneous washers and metal bits. I passed on the decaying Barbies. I’m sure it’s safer for everyone if they stay taped in their individual sandwich baggies. With my new found robot parts I was able to get started. I needed arms though.
I have a vision of ChefBot with several long, serpentine, metal arms flailing all about with surgical precision dissecting meats and vegetables, prepping a whole meal in a matter of minutes. The FUTURE of COOKING!
So, yeah… arms. My original thought was the bendy parts of gooseneck desk lamps. I found a few lamps at a thrift store. I quickly found out it was going to be tough to get just the bendy portions apart, much less find several more with the same lengths. I remembered a whole different material I saw on a post from a tool blog, Toolmonger (great site, by the way). It was a modular hose which came in separate Lego-like pieces that you could use to shoot air at your drill press or other piece of machinery to blow the waste debris away from your work. I did some searching and found Loc-Line pieces which work great for the arms!
I sculpted a chef’s knife out of a two-part compound clay called Magic-Sculpt. Great stuff! You mix equal parts resin and hardener and work it like modeling clay. Then you simply let it dry over night and it cures extremely strong. You can then carve and sand it and paint it. Like I said, great stuff!
I’ve added two more arms, making him an octo-bot (maybe he can get on Oprah). I carved on a wooden spoon for one hand, chef knife for another, whisk becomes a third hand, and a hand mixer beater for a fourth. I cut down one of the skewers so he has an opposing fork hand to compliment the knife. Hm, haven’t quite decided what the sixth hand will be yet. I am designing the remaining two robot hands to have finger-like pincers. I’ve been experimenting with riveting copper tubing together to create two fingers and a thumb that hinge. ChefBot needs to be able to crack eggs and add spices… how can you have a pinch of salt if you have no extremities to pinch with?!
While the robot-manufacturing is going on, I’ve been dreaming up his outfit. It’s not easy coming up with a pattern for a chef’s jacket to go on an eight-armed robot! We’ll just have to see how that comes out. As I continue working on him, I’ll continue to document the creation of ChefBot.
(now continued on The completion of ChefBot)
These are my new experimental pieces-parts for robot arms! They are actually a modular hose system made for directing streams of air onto machine tools. The idea is to blow away waste material and debris while cutting or drilling. When I saw these, I immediately thought they’d be perfect for robot arms. Not only will they look cool, but the arms will also be posable! ChefBot is the first
victim volunteer for the new pieces. Thank you ChefBot for being such a sport! The snap together pieces are made by Loc-Line, who also offer many connector pieces. I got these from modularhose.com. I’m excited to test them out!
I found these cool wrenches bundled together at a swap meet. With the wonky curved ones included, I couldn’t resist. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to use them all for, but I’m sure they’ll come in handy at just the right times! There are some robot arms in that pile for sure.
Sparky the robo-mutt got a hardware upgrade!
His chops weren’t looking doggy enough, so he went back to the Scottoons Robot Factory for some retooling. He was lucky enough to receive innovative dyna-flow whisker vents, lucky pup!
His panting-function-generator had been working too hard, so his new vents should help alleviate that.
Sparky is a Scottoons original robot assemblage sculpture.
He is made from recycled found objects such as an authentic 1980′s joystick, a large square flashlight housing, PVC pipe connectors, film canister lids, forks, coat hook, and other odds-and-ends and miscellaneous doodads. After I applied a few layers of metallic paint, I let him dry then “rust-i-fied” him with oil paints.