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Hooray Time Wasters! Design Your Own Custom 3D Robot

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

If you liked that Pony generator I linked to a while back, and then the fun Steampunk Dress-Up Game, then you're going to LOVE what Keren Y. found: My Robot Nation lets you design, decorate, and color your own custom robot in a 3D generator, and then - THEN! -  you can have your robot 3D printed!

Here are some examples I grabbed off their site. The virtual designs are on the right, and the final printed 'bots are on the left:


Cool, right? To be honest, before this I didn't know it was even possible to do 3D printing in multiple colors, much less intricate patterns!

Get ready to lose at least an hour or two on this, because the options for robot-building are almost endless. It's actually kind of dizzying. The virtual designer is free to play with, so there's no obligation to buy anything; you could just grab a screen shot as a souvenir. If you DO want to order your finished robot, though, prices start at around $18 for the two-inch size, which isn't too bad for such a highly customized figure. (It gets pretty expensive after the 3-inch size, though.) In fact, I could see this being a fantastic gift for kids.

[My Robot Nation stresses that these are NOT toys, though, so if you do order one treat it like a collectible - and try not to drop it. Heh.]

Of course, there's no way I could recommend such a service without testing it myself, right? Right. So, as a supreme act of sacrifice, [smirk] I decided to design and order a 'bot of my own.

I should probably mention here that I am in no way affiliated with My Robot Nation, and they most certainly aren't paying me. More's the pity.

So, a couple of hours later (PRODUCTIVITY!!),  I'd constructed Firey here:



His horned helmet reminds me of the goblin armor from Labyrinth, and I went with orange because, well, c'mon. As you can see, I went a little nuts with the rust and bullet holes, painstakingly covering his entire body with them. (I couldn't find many examples of that texture on the website, so I was curious to see how it would translate in real life.)

[Also notice how I put his horns on crooked. OOPS. How did I miss that?]

I ordered the 2-inch size just over three weeks ago, which was long enough for me to be completely surprised when I opened up the box that arrived today:

The amount of padding was a little ridiculous; I unrolled a soccer-ball's worth of paper to get to him. Ha!

I immediately took him outside to take some detail shots for you guys:

As you can see, Firey is pretty much bang-on to my design. Considering how tiny he is, I'm amazed at the level of detail. You can even see the flames on his shoulders!


He's a tiny bit heavier than I expected, so he has a decent heft for plastic. His surface texture feels a bit gritty, like sandstone. He's a fixed statue, of course, and not pose-able, but in the design phase you can choose any pose you like, with every point of articulation you can think of.

 
Those fingerprint-like whorls are a result of the 3D printing, and are just barely visible to the naked eye.

Having fun with some higher contrast shots:

Again, this is just the two inch version, so I imagine that the larger sizes are even more impressive. (The largest size is a six-inch figure.)


Considering how much fun I had just designing Firey, coupled with the quality of the figure itself, I think the little guy was worth the $23.98 (with shipping). Especially when you consider that one's desk can never have too many robots:

I have more than this on my desk, of course, but these three make for a fun color combo. :)

Have fun building your own, guys, and be sure to share screen-grabs of 'em over on the Epbot Facebook page, so I can see!

Posted by Jen at 1:14 AM Labels: ,

23 comments:

  1. He's cute and everything, I mean scary and intimidating, but why didn't you do the epbot robot dude? (Does he have a name?)

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    1. Ah, well, the site does limit you to certain body parts for the robots, so I couldn't make the Epbot with it even if I wanted to! His neck alone poses quite the structural challenge. ;) (He doesn't have an official name; I just call him the Epbot or the Epbot 'bot.)

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    2. This saddens me, Jen! My very first thought was "ZOMG WE CAN ALL HAVE EPBOTBOTS AT OUR DESKS NOW" but then... disappointment. I wonder if they can commission one specially for the best nerd blog mascot on the intarwebz.

      Maybe his official name can be 'Botbot' or 'Bot-bot' -- short for Epbot-bot!

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    3. I would have thought that his name would be Ep... as in Ep the bot

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    4. Drat! I was gonna make me a little Epbot too. Ah well, guess I'll continue to support my favorite blog without any merchandise. Jen, you NEED merchandise.:)

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    5. In my mind (where a lot of very interesting conversations take place) I always refer to him as "Eppie".

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  2. I'm a little surprised that you didn't have your Epbot-bot printed but I *love* Firey! How adorable!

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  3. Ha, I wonder if Mom would like one of these. Super adorable thing to wake up to.

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  4. We must have ordered ours on the same day because I had my own My Robot Nation 'bot arrive yesterday, too! My boyfriend, Rob, I sometimes lovingly refer to as Rob Bot (usually when he's annoying me because he hates that nickname). Anyway, I'm throwing him a surprise Nerdy Thirty party, which will have his very own Rob Bot in attendance! I...uh...hope he doesn't read Epbot.

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  5. Just this morning, I found this awesome looking maker space designed for all ages, although their focus does seem to be on kids. They have classes as well as drop-in work times. Not only do they have a 3D printer, they have a laser cutter, all sorts of building sets and robot-making supplies. They're in Burlington, MA, and it's not a franchise yet, as far as I can tell. Just an MIT grad/dad with an eye for opportunity.

    It's called Einstein's Workshop and this Saturday you can make a light-up paper flower bouquet, for Mother's Day if you like.

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  6. I wish I could do this. Ahh, the woes of being under 18.

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  7. Jen I LOVEEEEEEEEE you! This is soooooo much fun, i'm going to convince my boyfriend to do this and put on your wedding cake wich is a Portal theme.

    Nadia

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  8. I am currently designing a Robot and Rocketships nursery for the Tummy Monster currently growing inside me. Excited to try this out for a special accent for the wee one. Maybe a whole Robot family?

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    1. I think you should make a mobile with these robots--how fun would that be? :D

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  9. I'm in love. Time to see if I can get close to my robot that I doodle.

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  10. Two things: I also wondered about Firey vs. Epbot bot, but the explanation makes sense. And comment number two (as a reply to unknown from about an hour ago): Tummy Monster!! HAHAHAHA! I love that :) I will have to remember that designation for the future :)

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  11. This is crazy cool! i now know what I am getting my son for his birthday. He is super creative and would love just making it and I can picture his face when it is delivered in the mail.

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  12. For your amusement, Jen, a 3-D printed GLaDOS:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/A-fully-3D-printable-GlaDOS-Robotic-ceiling-arm-la/

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  13. I bought robot candy molds for making my own sugar-free gummies.

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  14. Well, my Bluesy Deth has been ordered in 3 inch size. Now, the infernal chore of WAITING.

    Maybe they would do Epbot as a mass order? I'd hug him and squeeze him and name him GeorgeBot!!

    -Barbara Anne

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  15. My dad's informed me that the whole reason that your lil bot feels hefty for plastic is the fact that he's not plastic at all, but plaster of paris! The colour 3D printing process is amazing!

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  16. Just spent far too much time designing and ordering my bot. When I realized my bot could have a shield I ended up going all out with a Captain America theme. Can't wait to show off my little Cap!

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  17. Sorry, family, you can't have Christmas presents this year. I'm spending all my money on these guys!

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