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3D pens are great tools to develop the creativity of your kids. But, what can you do when your 3D Doodler Start stops working and cannot be repaired? Don't throw your 3D pen to the trash! Because in this instructable I will teach you how to transform it into a robot.

This model of 3D pen has some very interesting components: a micro-motor with gearbox, two rechargeable Lithium Polymer batteries and a mini-circuit board that can be used as a battery charger. Add some discarded 3D glasses and a few extra materials, and you can build a rope-climbing Simple Bot.

I'm participating in the "Trash to Treasure Contest" of Instructables. So if you like this project, your vote will very appreciated. Thanks for your support!

Now, grab some tools and let the fun begin!

Step 1: Inspiration, Prototype and Design

Picture of Inspiration, Prototype and Design

Building a rope-climbing robot was an idea I have since I was a kid, inspired by one of the favorite shows of my childhood: The Wizard. Probably you never have heard about it. You see, in a classic example of "trash to treasure", several shows that were unpopular in United States (and cancelled after only one season) became cult classics in Latin America, with complete generations having them as a reference point. So for a lot of us, "Street Hawk", "Manimal" and "Automan" were as cool as "The Fall Guy", "The A-Team" and "MacGyver".

People says that Tyrion Lannister is the first time a person with dwarfism is considered for a main character in a TV series (nothing against Peter Dinklage, he is one of the finest actors of our time), but that credit goes to Simon McKay (David Rappaport). He was awesome! A genius in robotics who used to create weapons for the government, then he quits and becomes the best toymaker, philanthropist and adventurer. Every time he and his friends were in trouble, he had some special toys in his suitcase that helped them to escape. And probably the first of his toys that impressed me was a little rope-climbing robot he has at his workshop. Several times I tried to make a toy like that one, but I failed. But after having this 3D pens problem, I decided to give another run to this idea.

First, I needed to test if the 3D pen's gearbox was powerful enough to lift the weight of the robot, so I created a prototype using the motor, a battery holder and bamboo kebab sticks, all attached using hot glue. I was surprised when I saw it worked!... for a few minutes. After that, the hot glue was not strong enough to stand the stress, and the prototype got tangled up and fell to the ground. But in its short time working, it gave me the essential information to build a better robot!

Next step (and that's something you don't see often in my instructables), I draw a design. With a pen. If I wanted to make it work, I needed to go full Engineering Design Process with it.

OnionTheAnion5 months ago
This is really cool. Now it’s time to see if anyone I know has a broken 3d pen :)
M.C. Langer (author)  OnionTheAnion4 months ago
Thanks OnionTheAnion! Good luck with your hunting. Have you checked in STEM education centers?
Mr.Sanchez5 months ago
That song, man ! Just in the memorabilia. Good luck ! ( Yeahh, I know you don't need that) we have a winner here
M.C. Langer (author)  Mr.Sanchez5 months ago
Thanks my friend!
A thing of beauty
M.C. Langer (author)  My Wooden Toys5 months ago
Thanks a lot, My Wooden Toys!
Lady Platypus5 months ago
Good luck ❤️
M.C. Langer (author)  Lady Platypus5 months ago
Thanks Mami! <3