Computer Parts Robot

It’s alive! Well, it’s technically not really alive. Nor is it a robot in the sense that it performs some function or task. He pretty much just hangs out, making awesome robot faces.

 

The idea to build a robot out of old, obsolete computer parts came at random. While throwing out some trash I stumbled across a pile of discarded old computers and parts that had been thrown out. As I looked at the pile of parts sitting there with the broken circuit boards, dusty computer cases and rats nest of wires I felt for a moment a brief feeling of sadness for these discarded PCs. At some point in their lives they were once the object of joy as their proud new owner unboxed them and set them up for the very first time. How things have changed since then, seeing them now, discarded, dirty, broken and about to be buried under tons of trash in a landfill.

In this modern day age of electronics and computers, obsolescence takes less time than ever before. From the moment you buy a new electronic or computer gadget the timer starts ticking. It doesn’t take long before that fancy new piece of awesomeness is nothing more than an annoying hindrance. Too slow, too old and too outdated. It’s at this point that people discard these once high-tech devices. Most of them unfortunately end up in a landfill somewhere, while others are put to the side and forgotten. Occasionally they’re recycled.  I began to think about re-purposing.

After seeing the number of parts and pieces in the trash I decided to see what I could build from these old components. The idea for a robot came from wanting to build something that looked like it had a purpose again. Instead of being trash in a landfill this “junk” that had been discarded could be re-purposed as an object of art. Since robots and electronics are complementary I figured it would be a good fit.

I happily discovered that I could make use of some of the random bits and pieces that I had saved over the last few years, such as old CPUs, wires, boards. I started asking friends and relatives for their old electronics they did not want. After a while I managed to come up with quite the collection.

Here is a list of most of the gadgets, gizmos and electronics I used to build my robot dude.

Dell Inspiron
Dell Optiplex Desktop Computer
AMD Athlon Processor
AMD Duron Processor
Gateway CRT Monitor
Toshiba 40GB IDE HD
Maxtor 60GB IDE HD
SCSI HD
Numerous 3.5″ Floppy Drives
Numerous CD Drives
IBM Thinkpad
IBM Thinkpad Pentium II
Gateway Desktop Computer
Sharp Mobilon
IBM Microdrive 4GB
Lots of old DDR Ram
Intel Celeron Processor
Canon CF Card 32MB
Couple of PCI Modems
Couple of PCI Sound Cards
Dell LCD Monitor
HP 3.2 MP Digital Camera
Canon 4.0 MP Digital Camera

 

When I started this project I had nothing more than a box of old, obsolete parts that people had discarded. With each part I added during the build process I felt a little more like my robot was coming to life. Camera lenses to see, CPU’s to think, arms, legs and joints to move. After attaching the last couple of pieces I stood back to take a gander at my new robot friend. He was cute, and had all the robotic features a boy could ask for. He put a smile on my face, and with that show of human emotion I realized that those old parts now had a purpose again.

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  • http://www.molif.com Ani

    I like your robot, especially the eyes.
    Some more robots, made from computer parts: http://tinyurl.com/3jupc8y and http://tinyurl.com/446hys6. :-)
    We did it few years ago as a present for a friend and for pure fun. http://www.optimiced.com/en/2009/07/10/pentium-2-robots/

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  • Mike Schropp

    Thanks!

    I checked out the robots on your site. Very cool little guys. I like the use of the circuit board components. They seem to have a personality of their own. :)

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  • Mariah Bailey

    that is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sangeeth

    Oh nice..bt she’s a girl..female portzz ar der :)

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks!

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  • http://www.newburyelectronics.co.uk/contact-newbury/pcb-assembly-enquiry/ PCB Assembly

    That is brilliant and a great way to reuse old PCBs and parts.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! 

  • http://www.polytechforum.com/ Polytech

    OMG, Ani, One of your robots is standing on a stator from an awesome BLDC motor (probably from an early 5.25″ floppy) which would have been great for adding movement to the sculpture! I was just suggesting to Mike that his robot, too can be animated to make it look left, then look right using the BLDC motor in the neck (his is slightly different tho). Yours could have also been dancing or even spinning around (provided you’ve saved the magnet bell that goes around that stator) :) I have to get into this art, too. Have been sitting on computer parts not able to, well, part with them for ages now. Cheers!

    P.S. I’ve just looked at the other one and indeed, it’s standing on a BLDC motor (from a CD-ROM), too! Believe you or not but I know exactly which – mid 90s Lite-On x16 speed CD-R drive – just parted one yesterday by coincidence. You’ve also used another motor from the same drive – the one with the funny looking gear :) I’m 100% sure that one still works, too!

  • http://www.polytechforum.com/ Polytech

    Looks like Disqus ate my previous comment …. Anyway, I was just suggesting that some movement could be added to the robot’s head – it appears to have an HDD (or another similar) BLDC motor as its neck. Could add a simple back and forth movement with just a handful of parts. These are tricky to make spin at 15,000 RPMs but have them jitter back-forth 10 degrees (1/36th of full circle) is pretty easy. A small MCU and a couple of transistors (and handful of resistors) is all it takes. In fact, you have much more computer power than that glued right on it! LOL.

    Cool robot, great job!

    Cheers!

  • totalgeek

    Thanks! Good suggestion on the adding some motion to my robot pal. When I get some free time I’ll play around with that. :)

  • Kevin

    I own a recycling company and all recycle is computers and soft like that but one of my employees started building this kind of thing during his break and he’s compiled about 25 of them over 2 years. There all completely different from the next. You could call him a robot artist. He was wondering how much someone would pay for something like this if he were to sell them. Any idea?