Robot Park Sign

Project: Make a kinetic sign for the Robot Park exhibit.  You can see the Robot Park exhibit here.

Challenges: This project was less challenging that it was simply fun – it’s one of my favorite gadgets I’ve made for the museum.  We wanted to make the Robot Park exhibit at least marginally goal oriented.  To reward the visitor for accomplishing a specific task, we decided to have the sign for the entrance to the virtual Robot Park flash, whirl, and oscillate once the goal was achieved.  Actually, there was one challenge that readers of this website will recognize as a recurring theme: no money.

Solutions: The solution to the lack of finances was another two-word phrase that readers of this website might recognize as a recurring theme: dumpster diving.  Nearly everything going into the construction of this sign was either salvaged from an old exhibit, found in a scrap heap, or literally pulled out of a garbage can.

The R and O in the sign

The R and O in the sign

The center pieces of the rotating Os in “ROBOT” were decorative endcaps from another display, the spokes were scrap aluminum stock.   The motor was from a broken toy robot (appropriately enough, I suppose).  The gray wheels on the spring tensioner were from an old Lego set.

The P, A, and R from the sign

The P, A, and R from the sign

The brass counter weights on the P and the R in “PARK” were found in a box of junk from the old shop.  The motor that drives the walking motion is from a junked VCR.  The relays visible behind the K were from an old latching rely, rendered as two monostable relays after I discombobulated the latching mechanism. Good times.

You can see more pictures here.