Aug 30, 2010

DIY Remote Controlled Dalek from recycling


Lately the kids have been having plenty of fun just gluing together stuff from our collection of recycling. We've always done a fair bit of hot glue with junk from our recycling bin, but for some reason recently that has been a top priority for them both. I put down a plastic table cloth by our storage rack of recyclables so that they didn't have to sit up at the kitchen table to use the glue guns.

They have been making a lot of little robots this week...

One of the robots that my five year old came to show me looked remarkably like a Dalek in shape. She'd glued a cup on top of an ocean spray juice bottle. I said "Oooh, lovely, that looks like a Dalek", knowing that her next question was going to be "what's a Dalek?"

We haven't let the kids watch Dr Who yet. I think they could handle a few of the ancient Sylvester McCoy ones (how badly did I want to be Ace when I was a kid!), but the recent series are a lot more scary. I love Dr Who and remember hiding nervously behind furniture to watch the scary bits as a kid, but the last three Doctors have had some episodes that have freaked me out even as a grown up. Ones like Ecclestons's "Empty Child" and Tennant's "Blink" had me almost hiding behind the sofa nearly 20 years later! I do want to find some of the older series that the kids can watch though.

If you grew up in the UK during the 70s or 80s then Dr Who is just part of your cultural heritage. Your mum will have called you for dinner at some point, only to find you holding a sink plunger in one hand, an egg whisk in the other, with a collinder on your head, yelling "Exterminate!" at the top of your lungs.

That's healthy right? Anyway, I showed her a few clips of Daleks and talked about Dr Who and she wanted to make her dalek move around like the ones she saw in the clips. I figured the easiest way to do this was to just cut the bottom off the juice bottle and use some electrical tape to stick it on top of the only RC toy we have, which is a My Little Pony scooter.

We found a bunch of stuff in the recycling stash that looked suitable to decorate the dalek with and went outside to spray it with some black and gold plastic spray paint that we had left over from other projects.

The hemispheres on the dalek base were made from the bottoms of little plastic quarter machine toy containers we have saved. We didn't have quite enough to do the rows of four all around, but enough to get the idea.

The blaster gun was an ode to the standard kid dalek dress up attire. We used a toy egg whisk from the kid's kitchen play set. The eye stick was a sports drink cap stuck on a stick of hot glue. The "manipulator arm" was a drinking straw with the spray top and tube from a hair detangling spray and then the round cup end from a plastic easter egg glued on.

The kids had fun spraying the paint on. I think it's quite cute that my five year old had to use her thumb to get the required pressure for the paint to spray out, and my four year old had to use both thumbs. Awww.

After all the bits were dry, I taped the body onto the RC scooter for them and then they glued on and coloured the other bits and pieces.

Paul even wired up a couple of LEDs while we were doing this, so that Mr Dalek could have his own lit up "energy dispensers". I have no idea if all this is the proper terminology for Dalek parts, but I found this link to reference, so that I wasn't always saying things like "sticky outy bit with a rubber plunger on the end" ;) Because we'd made the eyestalk with a stick of hot glue, we couldn't feed a third LED down it to make the light on the eyestalk, so I just hot glued a keyring light into the end of it instead.

I love the fact that he's got the handle at the back of the juice bottle to pick him up by!

We used some drywall shims to make the base. I don't know if anyone remembers that way back I got a packet of them and we made streamer dresses and roman centurion costumes with them, well, we still have quite a few left and they do come in handy! The gold vertical stripes are snapped up bits of wooden coffee stirrers. There are so many different types of Dalek that you can kind of wing it with the embelishments ;) This one has ended up looking a bit like the Dalek Supreme from the 1970s Planet of the Daleks, but that wasn't intentional, just what we happened to have in the recycling bin and the only two colours of spray paint we had.

The kids decided his name was Julie, but then later changed their minds and said he was called Rovie.

Here's a little video of him in action. He spins around and goes forwards but not backwards due to the limitations of the RC scooter that he's taped onto. Admittedly he sounds nothing like a dalek. You can just about hear him saying "Vroom vroom! Whoohoo! Vroom vroom! Beep!" if you listen closely. Hee hee!
video
We actually watched Star Wars "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back" for the first time over the weekend with the kids, and both were a HUGE hit with them. That might come as a surprise to those of you that saw us make balloon torch light sabers back in January, but actually only the boys I was looking after at the time had seen the movies and my girls were just happy to play along. I'm looking forward to next weekend when we can watch "Return of the Jedi" and see what they make of Ewoks :) Carys has already told me that we need to make R2D2 to go with Rovie the Dalek, so I'm not recycling our Electrosol dishwasher tablet container just yet! After Wall-e and now Rovie, I wonder what other classic robotic recyclables we can come up with. Johnny 5? Marvin?

Don't worry though, I'm not going to try and make John Pertwee out of recycling and hot glue ;)

If your family isn't into Dr Who, that doesn't matter. You could make anything to go on top of an RC vehicle! Anything! Like a barbie pyramid formation?

29 comments:

This Girl loves to Talk said...

gah! I cant believe the timing you have! my girls LOVE the new dr who!! my 7 year old drew a picture that looks like the current dr who and wrote I luv dr who on it!! My husband prewatches them to make sure they arent too scarey!

we are starting to go backwards now and they have watched some david tennent and the one before him... i have no idea cause i dont watch... its a daddy daughter thing :)

toasted said...

I LOVE Dr. Who. It's the only tv show I watch religiously. I didn't watch it as a kid (no tv) but fell for David Tennant's Dr Who in a fanatic kinda way...I'd like to go back and watch all of them really. But .. I agree... I wouldn't dare let my kids watch the current stuff ... get enough nightmares as it is..

Love the daleks .. and the photo of you (?) as one.

Kirsten said...

Awesome! I'm plotting to turn my diaper pail into a Dalek. It wouldn't move and talk like yours though. poo

MaryAnne said...

You are the coolest mom ever. My husband grew up watching Dr. Who, but I don't think I've ever seen it. He loved it as a kid, though, so maybe we'll get some of the original episodes and watch them with our kids.

Astrid @ The Lopsided House said...

We just discovered Dr. Who! It's loads of fun and my girls (ages 4 and 7) love watching the episodes. We've been watching the Tom Baker ones. It's campy fun! (reminds me of the old Star Wars movies)

JHill said...

How fantastic! Our household just got into Doctor Who within the past year, but we love it! I must have a fearless two-year-old because he just laughs at all the crazy aliens and beasties. He does love to watch his "Doctah Whooooooo!"

Robyn Fish said...

I <3 Blink! I actually saw a photo in a magazine recently that had a bunch of statue in it. Most were in a circle, one was looking out the window *shudder* It definitely made me worry about turning the page!!

PS- Your Dalek is awesome!

KellyJMF said...

I particularly love that the evil Dalek is hiding some Little Pony cuteness under its skirt.

Anji* said...

This is awesome! We have some crazy dr who and dalek fans in our house, my son is obsessed with daleks! He has made various daleks out of all kinds of materials over the last few years - but not an rc one yet!

We just had a pirate dalek party for his 7th birthday! (please feel free to hop over to my blog and check it out if you like :)

Jackie said...

Holy Moly! This is awesome! I love the way you take an idea and just run with it. Very inspiring.

I'm one of those kids you mentioned who grew up in the UK watching Dr Who. I live Stateside now but still watch the show with my husband (who is a HUGE fan). I dare not show him this though because I know he'll want one for himself! :)

Aimee said...

Oh we love dr Who. I also prewatch them to check the suitable ones. My 5 year old hears the 'nangada nang' music and comes running!! Our episodes are also followed by the Dr Who uncovered which explains how they made the show. we usually watch this first so she understands it just a show. But we love your dalek!!

Annabelle said...

Horray for Dr. Who and hot glue.

Miriam the Mommy said...

I've just found your blog and I'm speechless - it's a treasure trove. But I do have one question - how do you handle disposal of past projects? Meaning great, your daughters spent two days building awesome wheeled baskets with flashing lights and smiley faces (or whatever)... and now it's two months later, and they are rusting or dusting or whatever, and haven't been touched... but when you suggest disposal, the kids are all "noooo! We worked so HARD to make that!"

This is a problem I have with plain old coloring sheets, so you can imagine if it was a Construct of Creativity what I'd get...

How do you do it?

Eden said...

My kids both watch the new Dr. Who and love it. They are 5 and 9. I don't think it's too scary at all. They love David Tennant the most, though the Waters of Mars episode was a bit creepy for me! Just don't let them watch Torchwood!!!

Your Dalek is great. Tom Baker would have been proud. I watched him growing up in the UK. :)

CraftyTweetie said...

I've never been into Dr. Who, but their robot turned pout so neat! They are 2 very lucky little girls to have such crafty parents. BUT....OMGoodness! I can't imagine setting my 7 y.o. niece loss with a can of spray paint, let along girls as young as yours. Only if we stripped her down to her undies 1st and put her in the middle of an open field away from anyone or anything that didn't want to get sprayed! Just goes to show how much we underestimate kids. Plus I love your idea of having a "Junk bin" for them to play with. It's like having your own Dollar Store at home, and best of all, everything is free!

Tina said...

I especially love that you have to use the pink butterfly flower remote control to steer the Dalek. That's a kicker!

As always, great work and very inspiring site!

Julianna said...

EXTERMINATE! So fabulous! I have strong memories of having to sleep on the floor in may parent's bedroom anytime that The Master was on... Talk about nightmares! But, even the night,ares never stopped me from watching. My brother was so into it that my mom sewed two long, stripy scarves together so he could wear them ala Tom Baker. He was the only boy in Ohio with such a scarf, I can assure you. I swear that I'll make him this crochet dalek amigurumi one day.... http://www.etsy.com/listing/5921493/dalek-crochet-pattern. Thanks for the smiles, as usual!

kellyi said...

Our local scrapstore sell a LIFE SIZE dalek kit for £15. It's meant for schools but we got one anyway, no idea where we shall put the resulting monster when it's finished.

My kids find the new Dr Who's a bit freaky scary (so do I!) but David Tennant = Yum so, I endure :)

Patti said...

Oh I love it! My mother-in-law gets old Dr. Who shows from the library to show to the kids even though she hates science fiction. We won't let them watch the new ones, though, because they are sometimes a bit frightening.

Anyway, love the Dalek!

Scott said...

Great looking Dalek! And I love the way you made use of an old radio controlled car - very sneaky! Will be hunting through my boys toy box tonight. Scott;)

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I love that your little kids are using glue guns and spray paint. Most parents are petrified of letting their little ones do that sort of stuff.

I have no idea what a dalek is, but yours is the best one I've ever seen. ;)

Robyn said...

On the Tenth Doctor season disk (season one of the new series) - the specials disk - it talks about how you do the voice. If you get time, you might want to check it out, it should work with your model.

Eric Barclay said...

Really cool design and innovative use of materials-- this works great even as a standalone sculpture... the fact that if moves just sends it over the top. Awesome work!

janimal said...

Oh my! I grew up in England and we had lots of play daleks. I LOVE this one. Awesome!

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Exterminate!

p.s. I need to email you back. Sorry for the delay - I've been on vacation!

Slee said...

absolutely brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I've almost finished my early childhood teaching degree and find it so fantastic to see your children actually making this themselves by using the paint can and glue gun, it truly demonstrates how competent and capable children are.. and it is wonderful to know that there are parents out there who also believe in this... keep following your children's great ideas.. :)

Mrs. Mandy said...

We are huge Dr. Who fans here in MO. I second the previous poster Do Not let your kids watch Torchwood! Every episode has some version of sex. Also for all the old Dr. Who's we got netflix through the Wii. Best $9 a month ever!

Cheyenne said...

you should let them watch Short Cisuit, its cutesy and such, not scary and would be awesome if they still love robots!