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(If you like this instructable, please vote for it in the "Trash to Treasure" contest. But if you are looking for a less disturbing project, check my last one: How to create a Lambada Walking Robot! Thanks!)

Let's suppose you have a school/college project, or you are an artist invited to an art exhibition where you are required to create an art piece that reflects a social issue. Or, you just saw a piece of kinetic art in a gallery and you want to create your very own one. What will you do? WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Luckily, everybody can create art! So, if you don't know how to start, you can practice with this little kinetic sculpture that I call "The Unsettling Machine".

Basically, it's a baby doll's arm hitting a baby doll's head. It's disturbing, because baby dolls are creepy, especially when they are abandoned. Publicists often use this object as a perfect symbol of "innocence lost" when they want to create awareness about some social issue or tragedy. This sculpture can represent anything you want: how human decisions always affect our children, how technology always affects our children, how (insert reason here) always affects our children, and so on; how we are freaked out by a sculpture with an arm hitting a baby's head, but also how we happily live in a world where thousands of real kids are in situation of vulnerability and very few persons do something about that. I showed this creation to two persons before creating this instructable, and their first suggestion was "can you put some hair on the head, so it looks like the hand is combing and not hitting?"

Do you have more ideas about what this kinetic sculpture could symbolize? Write them in the comments!

So, let's make art!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

The best thing about this sculpture is that it doesn't require expensive or rare components to be built, at least in his basic version. If you already have broken toys and some basic tools, you will only need to buy the batteries.

What do you need?

  • 1 Baby doll's head
  • 1 Baby doll's arm
  • 1 gear box from a toy (I got mine from an electric train for little kids)
  • 1 spring
  • 1 battery holder for 2 AA batteries (I got this one from another electrical toy)
  • 1 switch
  • 1 metal angle
  • 1 plastic cap from a coffee flask
  • 1 FDD drive cover from an old computer(or a similar long flat piece, like a ruler or a piece of wood)
  • wires
  • some screws, nuts, bolts and washers
  • 1 small plastic cap from a small bottle
  • 1 spray cap from a deodorant
  • soldering tin
  • hot glue
  • super glue

TOOLS: Dremel rotary tool, screwdrivers, hot glue gun, soldering iron.

zakbobdop1 month ago
This is an extremely gross ridiculous revoltingly awesome project. Thumbs up :D
M.C. Langer (author)  zakbobdop1 month ago
Thanks for your great and revoltingly nice words, Zak!!! :-)
I love how in the tutorial, you show the instructions as if this was as ordinary as any other project, love it! (I started a project a while back which included a styrofoam pumpkin with a creepy face combined with an old toys walking system, I hit a road block after I couldn't figure out why my IR receiver wasn't working. Oh yeah! I forgot to mention it will be remote controlled xD )
M.C. Langer (author)  Timbothy_Aracnio4 months ago
Thanks Timbothy_Aracnio! By the way, yours sound like a very cool project. It would be great to see photos and videos when you finish it!
aylbegi4 months ago
M.C. Langer (author)  aylbegi4 months ago
I was reading that comment and "because" was the first thing that came to my mind, then I read your reply xD
M.C. Langer (author)  Timbothy_Aracnio4 months ago
Arm spins in the wrong direction. Should come from behind, hit him/it once and stop.
M.C. Langer (author)  charlessenf-gm4 months ago
Wait. Are you saying that there is a "right" way to hit a baby doll's head, and you know it?

That's... UNSETTLING! :D
"there is a "right" way to hit a baby doll's head"
If you can visualize it, you'll understand.
Also, coming in from the rear is clock wise!
M.C. Langer (author)  charlessenf-gm4 months ago
Well, I love my "endless facepalm" sculpture the way it is.

Be my guest if you want to create your own one with your desired settings. Don't forget to share your creation using the "I made it" option.
sail4sea4 months ago
Does your name happen to be Sid?
M.C. Langer (author)  sail4sea4 months ago
Sid should have his own movie! He's a maker, and a very good one. In a perfect world, he would be empowering STEAM education, and not finishing as a third rate villain.
Sid has his own permanent version of the Debian operating system.

But some adult should have stepped in and gotten Sid introduced to the Maker community.
M.C. Langer (author)  sail4sea4 months ago
Such a wasted opportunity. But in that time, STEAM education and DIY were not in Disney's business plan. Now that all its main characters are makers (half of Marvel, Rey from Star Wars, Big Hero 6, and even Bell from "Beauty and the Beast"), and even there are alliances with LittleBits, this could be a golden age for Sid.
Love it, Call it the 'endless facepalm' and it pretty much describes modern times!
M.C. Langer (author)  bruce.desertrat4 months ago


Thanks Bruce.desertrat! Your idea is awesome!
OMG this is Genius, i rank it up there with the guy who made a 4 ply toilet paper maker! great work!! (im not joking....this time)
M.C. Langer (author)  thebertwonderstone4 months ago
Thanks thebertwonderstone! I'm glad you like it. I will check for the 4 ply toilet paper maker guy. If we join forces, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!
hebelr4 months ago
Try mounting to a surface for extra stability, might make the whole bobblehead thing look better. I need one.
Ninzerbean4 months ago
My kitten loved trying to interact w the video.
M.C. Langer (author)  Ninzerbean4 months ago
Cool! I have a cat, too. He always comes to my workshop when I am working, to check what new thing he can use as a toy :)
FernMakes4 months ago
This is reminds me of Sid's toys in Toy Story ;)
M.C. Langer (author)  FernMakes4 months ago
Thanks FernMakes!!! Yes, I love to destroy toys and mix them to make strange creatures! :-)
My daughter keeps breaking off her Barbie's leg, so I think I know what to do with it, finally!
M.C. Langer (author)  Creative Mom CZ4 months ago
That's great! Broken Barbies are excellent for crazy projects!
sa11114 months ago
Good instructable for the novice! Also it's kind of funny to see the doll slapping itself silly
M.C. Langer (author)  sa11114 months ago
Thanks a lot sa1111!!! Glad you like it!
Tasneemjahan4 months ago
So cool.
M.C. Langer (author)  Tasneemjahan4 months ago
Thanks Tasneemjahan!
JackANDJude4 months ago
Haha - awesome! I voted & shared with a friend. I might even make my own to compete with yours, lol. :)
M.C. Langer (author)  JackANDJude4 months ago
Thanks a lot, JackANDJude! I would love to see your sculpture! Don't forget to share with us using the "I made it!" option :-)
This is amazing. It's my new favorite thing on the internet.
M.C. Langer (author)  emilygraceking4 months ago
Thanks a lot Emily!!!
weldboi4 months ago
i love this wonderful art you got my vote (i am 11 years old)
M.C. Langer (author)  weldboi4 months ago
Thanks a lot Weldboi! I´m very glad you like it!