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Midsize Modular Robot Kit Development Community Involvement

Hello friends, with the increased interest in larger robots thanks to EZB. I decided I may create some modular shells to make a misized robot much easier. Swapable arms, heads and base. The ER1 for example is available from other countries but this would be USA based project. Since this is for people like me and you ( and possible educational applications) I would love your input for the things you want to see. I have been making Fiberglass enclosures for car audio and interiors since 2006 which was a skill I picked up from a friend who worked at a high end shop. The goal here is to make two sets of molds. One for a more military hard core look and one for a smooth futuristic look. These are specifically meant for use with the ezb and would have pre- designated mounting locations for them. Suggestions are open.


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The hard core shell I would like to model after Evolver from a 1995 b rated killer robot movie. Here are pics I extracted from the cinematic adventure.:)
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Possible two wild thumpers could be the feet of this version so it can function indoors and outdoors easily? Mostly a complicated color scheme with a few inlays makes a complicated look. The torso is three pieces visible. Front chest , back and the separate insert in the back that the disc drive vertically mounts into. There is a base and a swivel plate as well. If anyone knows anything about the components in the arm that's great. I'm trying to contact the guy who made the original prop to see if he can enlighten us on how he made some things and maybe internal pictures to make my version come along faster. Mine will not be a exact copy of the movie robot.
Josh, I like your concept for sure and with your skills of EZ robot building AND fiberglass shells your own "revolution" is within reach. I do like the Evolver's proportions. You just never know if a creative idea and design will "take off" untill you try it. Who knew that Wall-E would be so successful!
Josh, I had a similar idea about this last year. I was looking for ready made items like plexiglass domes and square plastic cubes, etc. However, it turned out that those items were pretty expensive. If you think about it, the reason everyone wants those Omni's , R2D2's, and Wall-E's is just for their cool outer shell. Most are going to gut them and install an EZ-B. So if you had a way of making custom shells "on the cheap" it would benefit all.
I like your idea about making them from fiberglass because then you are not limited to a particular shape. You can be as creative as you want. Fiberglass is good and strong and light weight.

One thing to think about is the main body shell could be from fiberglass for high strength and other items such as arm shells, head pieces, cosmetic do dads and stuff, which need to be really light weight, could be made from Styrene plastic using vacuum forming techniques. Did you see the guys at the Maker Fair who were making their own Star Wars Storm Trooper costumes? They were using vacuum forming. There are plans you can order off the net that tell you how to make your own vacuum forming machine and it looks pretty simple. You might wish to consider this. With a vacuum forming machine you can copy or replicate any objects you want. You can replicate ready made objects that have cool shapes or you can create a mold out of clay and form the plastic over it as many times as you like. Basically it is a heater, a table with a bunch of holes and a shop vac. Read up on it and I think you will be impressed.

Maybe you could get people on the forum put up sketches of robot shapes they think would be cool for bodies, arms, heads, etc. I have a few sketches I'll contribute if that is OK with you.

You could have a web store where people can pick and choose body parts or cool looking pieces to put on their bots. The body shells can range from the very basic cube shape to whatever shape you can dream up.
Having an affordable shell leaves everyone with more money to buy the EZ-B's, servos and other items to get their bot up and running quicker. Most don't want to spend so much time custom fabricating a body, or don't have the skills, tools,etc. to do it. They just want a shell to mount stuff in.

I applaud your idea and will do whatever I can to help out.
Hey, I have that movie! I liked the robot a lot.
@Rgordon sure any suggestions welcome :). I don't have a vacuum table to do parts as large as I'm talking but I could fabricate one.

I'm thinking I will do clay models first and use those to make the lifesize mold to cast pieces from. The first steps are figuring out what size overall it needs to be.
I'm thinking vacuum form just the smaller parts like arm covers and cosmetic pieces. The larger pieces would be the fiberglass.
For size are you talking larger than an Omni?

Very basic shell sketch:

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@rgordon, the first one kinda reminds me of Rosie from the Jetsons!:)
That is a GREAT idea, Josh! But, Evolver needs a Head. He looks like he is Hickobod Crain who just met the Headless horseman. Ha!ha! I think if you had a body more like Toymaker, it would be less threatning to the customers. Your sketch looks good, however. Maybe you and Toymaker could work together on the project. Exchangeable hands are a good idea.

my 2 Cents.
Man that's a sweet looking bot, that'd be awesome to see it reproduced!

Instead of doing vacuum forming for everything maybe with the parts that are semi-flat you could be laser cut and then shaped using an acrylic bender (or heat gun). I guess it all depends on if you have access to a laser cutter. I do have experience laser cutting but I haven't done any acrylic bending so I'm not sure how well it works in practice. I'm assuming you'd have to source pretty thin acrylic to cut down on weight (acrylic does get heavy), that's where vacuum forming plastic shines as it's very lightweight. Not really sure what would work better, just ideas at this point.