Making a Cyborg Arm for Design Night (in Autodesk Gallery)

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(This is for Tim, an awesome Artist in Residence and a fantastic friend. I hope our paths meet again)

When I was invited to the Design Night (about DIY) in the Autodesk Gallery, my first thought was "what will I wear?". So I took an all time favorite classic and I gave it a party twist. And I'm talking about my old cyborg armor.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you my Cyborg Arm, Mark 4, denomination"Party Crusher".


What are the improvements?

  • More ergonomic: lighter, softer in the inside and with a better handle.
  • More portable: It's smaller than the previous versions, but big enough for a good impression.
  • Easier to make: Its design was simplified.
  • Cool cup holder: Now you don't have to remove your cyborg arm for drink a shot. Why using your bare hands when you can drink with style?

So, I took a bunch of e-waste and plastic trash and started this project. At the end, I got an interesting piece that was the atraction of the party. It's a shame I don't have the video when I went up to the DJs scaffold and he played "Intergalactic" of Beastie Boys...


Step 1: Materials and stuff

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I used the following stuff:

  • 1 pair of plastic skis for children
  • 2 laptop power adaptators
  • 1 electric screwdriver
  • 2 4in x 5/8in mending braces
  • 8 corner brace inside L (2in. x 5/8in.)
  • 2 corner brace inside L (1in. x 1/2in.)
  • 1 4AA batteries holder
  • 1 damaged emergency flashlight (big enough for housing your hand)
  • 1 big Thermo's cap
  • 1 damaged tower fan
  • 1 damaged baby stroller (I used the bottle table and some tubes)
  • 1 damaged plastic table set for babies (I used the front support)
  • black plastic junk pieces
  • Nuts, screws and bolts
  • Iron washers
  • Wire
  • Superglue (cyanoacrylate)
  • Cellulose sponges

I made a Cyborg Eye, too. I used the following stuff:

  • Damaged digital camera
  • Red LED
  • 1 330 Ohm resistor
  • Wire
  • 1 2 AA batteries holder
  • Tiara from a Wild Planet exploration glasses
  • Flat wire or a black rubber band.


Dremel Rotary Tool
Wire cutters
Screwdriver kit
Soldering Iron

And don't forget:

1. If you don't have it, replace it!
2. Use protective equipment (dust mask and goggles)
3. Beware of drilled and soldered hot surfaces
4. Work in a good ventilated area.
5. Always have junk in stock.
6. Have fun.

Step 2: Transforming the skis into pincers

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I took the skis and removed the bent front part. Depending of the size of your cyborg arm, you can use each ski as a pincer or just segments. I used half of each ski. I put these together with paper tape, so I could modificate each one at the same time.

I filleted one of the thick edges and drilled a hole. This will be the spot where I will attach the pincers to the arm.

Step 3: Hacking the electric screwdriver

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I took a Black & Decker electric screwdriver and I cut it in two separated parts: the gearbox (for the pincer open and close movement) and the handle (for grabing the cyborg arm and actuate the gearbox).

Step 4: Installing the gearbox


I grabbed the Thermo's cap and removed the center pieces. Then I made a big hole for gitting the gearbox, attaching it in the center with small corner braces.

From the baby stroller, I cut a piece of metallic tube and I attached it to the axis. I drill holes on each end for attaching the mending braces that move the pincers.

Step 5: Mechanics


I attached the pincers to each side of the Thermo's cap using corner braces, bolts, nuts and washers. Then I connected these to the axis tube using mending braces. The result: depending of the direction of the gearbox axis rotation, the tube extends or gather the mending braces, opening or closing the pincers.

Step 6: Arm housing


I took the fan (it had two sections. I used one and I keep the other for another project) and the flashlight and I removed everything inside that can incommode my arm. I removed the handle of the flashlight, too. Then I made a hole in the back of the flashlight, big enough for fitting the gearbox. The, I attached the pincers to the flashlight, housing the gearbox in the flashlight hole.

Step 7: Installing the handle


I took the screwdriver handle and I adapted it to the glove. I had to cut in the bottom for fitting to one of the flashlight pillars, and had to install half case of a power adaptor to the top of the handle. Then I attached it using screws. I connected the handle control wires to the gearbox wires, and prepared the power wires for connecting these to the batteries holder.

I glued cellulose sponges in the rough parts of the glove, for a more comfortable handgrip.

Step 8: Arming the arm


At the end of each pincer, I installed a power adaptator case for a better grip.

For covering the hole left when I removed the flashlight handle, I used the case of a digital organizer.

Then, I attached the flashlight to the fan case, using corner braces.





Step 9: The Cupholder


The plastic culpholder from the stroller have two functions: beverages holder and box for the batteries holder. So I attached it to the cyborg arm, and installed the batteries holder inside the cupholder box.

I attached one pillar from a baby table, giving a bulky aspect to the arm.





Step 10: Painting

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I sandpapered the cyborg arm and then painted it with Krylon Stainless Steel Finish.





Step 11: Details in Black

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When the paint dried, I made two pads for the pincers, cutting pieces from a damaged tablet case. I attached some black plastic pieces too, for a better contrast with the steel paint.





Step 12: Cyborg Eye


I made a quick Cyborg eye using a damaged digital camera. I removed the circuits and installed a red LED in the lens. Then, I soldered the 330 ohms resistor to the shortest terminal (-) of the LED and the I soldered a long wire from the LED to a 2 AA batteries holder (for keeping in the pocket). I attached the camera to a tiara from a Wild Planet toy, and then I attached a flat wire to each end of the tiara, for keeping the cyborg eye in my head.

When I finished, I was ready for party!

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