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Picture of Cardboard Mechanical Toy

This instructable present a way to make a simple mechanical toy - a rainbow caterpillar! - with cardboard.

To make it, I used this supplies:

  • cardboard (a rigid and thick one, the thickness of mine was around - but less than - 3mm)
  • a couple of wooden skewers (with diameter around 3mm)
  • painter's masking tape
  • paints

And these tools:

  • glue
  • drill (I used one with a 2.8 mm diameter drill)
  • hot glue gun
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • cutter
  • compass
  • pencil
  • sandpaper

If you do not have a skewer at hand, a sheet of rolled paper (very tight) can do the trick! In addition, the masking tape can be replaced with papier mâché.

Step 1: Cut All Parts

Picture of Cut All Parts

First of all, we need to cut out these rectangular parts from the cardboard:

  • 140mm * 40mm (x4)
  • 75mm * 40mm (x4)
  • 60mm * 8mm (x9)
  • 10mm * 25mm (x9)
  • 4mm * 20mm (x18)
  • 30mm * 12mm (x1, for the crank)

Also, we need to cut some rounded parts:

  • radius 16mm (x18)
  • radius 12mm (x9)
  • radius ~5mm (x4, just some washers, size does not matter too much)

For the 4x20mm and round parts, scissors are better suited, but for others a cutter will do a cleaner job.

The round parts with a radius of 12mm can be drawn with a coin (a quarter dollar or 0.20euros) if you don't have a compass.

For the crank (30 * 12mm part) and the washers (round parts with 5mm radius) it's better to drill holes inside before cutting. For the crank drill holes spaced by 20mm in the middle of the part.

I love this
johnfixesstuff made it!7 months ago
It’s much harder than it may appear but for the sake of my kids who so badly wanted to see it finished, I prevailed.
kaelhem (author)  johnfixesstuff7 months ago
I’m glad to see that ! I hope you spent a good time to make it :)
amygoodchild7 months ago
Omg this is so cuuuuuute!!
lemonbrain7 months ago
Alcheese7 months ago
Very cool. I also wonder about the possibility of maybe making this out of balsa wood....
playfulplans7 months ago
Excellent automata/kinetic toy that employs a basic principal in a colorful and creative way. Well done, made me smile!
Maladiun577 months ago
And I learned a new word, one that I never knew existed!
(pareidolia- a form of apophenia, which is just seeing patterns in everything)
And I LOVE this.
attosa7 months ago
Smart and very cute :)
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