MicroRobots; A Short Guide

As many of you probably know, I built a bot a little while ago that got a lot more attention than I expected. Since the, there have been other versions by other builders (as Mike stated here, and there are more lurking around). I have also received emails from people asking to buy it...

For those of you who have been asked to sell one of your models, you will know where I'm coming from when I say it feels strange to give away one of your creations for cash. I declined to sell, but I took a good hard look at the bot to get an idea of how much it would cost. I was astounded by the piece count- 83 pieces! In just that little robot! What did I put into that little guy that made him so parts-intensive? Well, here comes...

MicroRobots; A Short Guide!

What are MicroRobots?
Small, super-detailed robots with articulation (though sometimes not much). Some examples:
The above-mentioned
Lobar Lifter
Bley Minion

(From Me and Tim 'Spook' Zarki, the final by Danny Rice)
Those are examples that popped into my head, but there are lots more by other builders.

Find the Parts!
Part use is key for things this small. If you tinker for a while, you will quickly find what parts are useful for building these guys. They must be small, in useful colors, and have maximum possibility for connections to be made. The key parts I have found:

Think of all the connections those parts can make, aside from the hands. More connections equal more detail. Of course, there are tons more parts to fill up your little mechanoid- the 1x1 slopes are great for small-scale sculpting, half-pins are useful in a variety of ways, technic bushings look nice as little cogs, and binoculars make great connectors or optical sensors. What's real fun however is integrating larger or stranger parts into the model. Take another look at Tim's Bullshark- the minifig helmets on the 'knees' look like awesome armor! Don't be afraid to devote lots of parts to the robot... Like I said, the industrial bot had 83 pieces, 19 of which where the doc-oc claws.

Then, the idea!
Every lego builder knows how important it is to get a good building idea, and the same with the robots. Whether that ideas originates from some cool new [body part] design, concept art, or inspiration from another person's creation, go for it. For my three mechanoids, they stemmed from ideas on building the legs with very small feet. That goes even farther back; The Lobar was inspired by golems in the Wii video game Metroid Prime 3. The split feet on the industrial robo were inspired by this cyborg, drawn by the artist Keith Thompson (who, by the way, has a nice robot gallery here). So go find something that inspires you to build!


m3m0ry said...

Very nice post, Lukas. I might add that O-wrenches are another vitally useful piece.

Spook said...

I second that. ^

Great idea to do an article on this.. I want to go build more now. XD

Occasional driving force of the blog, self-proclaimed Lukas fanboy, and aspiring engineer, Jacob spends too much time building LEGO, not enough time practicing piano, and not nearly enough time doing school. He also enjoys long sentences. In the instance of blogging, he believes in quantity over quality, wherever quantity can be maintained.
One of the cofounders of YSAB, and the founder of YSA, Observing Mike actually being productive is a rare occasion. Mike enjoys making outlandish claims in relation to actually building, pretending he's actually sorting his collection, and making excuses for why he hasn't photographed his MOCs. In his free time he enjoys learning CSS from Spook, photography and poking badgers with spoons.
Occasional builder, occasional blogger, and full-time procrastinator. That's really the only way to describe Dean. He rarely gets anything done, but is a very active lurker. He's probably seen and liked your MOC, but just forgot he had a blog.
Erik is still a teenager.
Lukas is tall, blond, mildly OCD, and doesn't build nearly enough as he would like to, thanks to school. He has a webpage.
Spook (Tim)
The resident codemonkey and graphics person. If something isn't working correctly, it's probably his fault. Fitting to his name, he doesn't post often, but someone has to do this stuff too, right? Spook does build with laygoes, and has his own blog as well.