Build this project and more in Make: Vol. 45. Don’t have the issue? Get yours today!

Now more than ever, it’s the era of DIY humanoid robotics. Humanoids have long been the intricate and expensive domain of well-funded research labs, marching onto stages to demonstrate corporate and institutional engineering prowess. While the desire to build man-mimicking replicas is steeped in history, these advanced machines only started taking actual, functional form in the 1970s; the most famous of these, Honda’s ASIMO, launched just 15 years ago.

Fast-forward to 2015. Rising to the complex challenge of combining mechanics, electronics, and software, robotics hobbyists have made enormous progress in their basements and garages, and we’re now seeing impressive community-driven humanoid bots that come at a fraction of the price of their professional cousins.

In Make: Volume 45 we dive into how makers worldwide are contributing to the advancement of one such project, InMoov, that combines 3D-printable parts, common electronic components, and open-source plans into a showstopping creation that responds to vocal commands with speech and movement.

We also show you how to make an autonomously navigating, self-balancing robot; a tensegrity vibrobot that introduces the concepts of cutting-edge robotics research; and a wonderfully simple “jamming” gripper that eliminates many of the shortcomings of mechanical hands.

Also: Combat bots — they’re back! We go deep into their resurgence, and show you how to prototype your own out of cardboard.

Plus complete tutorials for capturing the perfect splash photograph, crocheting a mermaid-style “lap-ghan,” building mix-and-match kids furniture, making a versatile tripod for your flashlight, and much more!

Check out these projects and articles from the issue!


Real Life Asteroids

Real Life Asteroids

Human Meteors is an immersive re-creation of the classic Atari game known as Asteroids.

Remaking History: Louis Poinsot and the Dancing Spheres

Remaking History: Louis Poinsot and the Dancing Spheres

Louis Poinsot was the first to demonstrate that any number of individual forces pushing or pulling on a rigid thing can be simplified into just a single linear force and a twisting force called a couple. Build this fun set of DIY "hurricane balls" to demonstrate the physical processes at work.

ArduRoller: Self-Balancing Robot

ArduRoller: Self-Balancing Robot

Ready to level-up your robot skills? ArduRoller is a self-balancing, inverted pendulum robot that’s also capable of autonomous navigation indoors or out. I created it as an entry for the annual SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition: The goal was to create a nontraditional vehicle capable of quickly navigating an obstacle course […]

Who’s Watching You? Protect Your Digital Privacy with These DIY Projects

Who’s Watching You? Protect Your Digital Privacy with These DIY Projects

Cellphone snooping. Network surveillance. Face recognition technology. As the gadgets we search, watch, and read become more able to watch us back, makers are finding clever ways to guard their privacy and maintain anonymity online. Here are a few of our favorites. BROWSE ANONYMOUSLY DIY Raspberry Pi VPN/Tor Router Surf […]

Skill Builder: Quick Tips for Using Vacuum Gauges

Skill Builder: Quick Tips for Using Vacuum Gauges

When you’re working with projects involving vacuum pumps, a vacuum gauge will show you the pressure in the chamber being evacuated. There are many different approaches to measuring the pressure in a vacuum, but we’ll focus on one of the most common, called the Bourdon pressure gauge. At the heart of […]

1+2+3 Building Block Puzzle

1+2+3 Building Block Puzzle

Combine building blocks and your favorite pictures to make fun custom puzzles.

Skill Builder: PVC Pipe Tips for Your Next Project

Skill Builder: PVC Pipe Tips for Your Next Project

PVC pipe is a versatile material that finds its way into all manner of projects. Whether you’re building furniture, making art, or even just plumbing your sink, here are a few techniques that will ensure that your project is a success. SECURING PVC Because PVC pipe is round, it tends to […]

Skill Builder: Find the Center of any Circle

Skill Builder: Find the Center of any Circle

If you need to drill a hole in the center of a circular material, you’ll have to find it first. You could buy a fancy center-finding tool, or you can use simple measuring tools and these easy methods to mark the point. Carpenter Square Step 1: Place a carpenter square […]

Skill Builder: 4 Wire Strippers You Should be Using

Skill Builder: 4 Wire Strippers You Should be Using

The value of a good pair of wire strippers is often overlooked until they’ve disappeared from your toolbox. Here are the 4 basic types of wire strippers that you’ll encounter. GAUGED WIRE STRIPPERS Gauged wire strippers are the simplest and most common type of wire stripper used. Each pair is […]

Crochet a Mermaid Lap-ghan

Crochet a Mermaid Lap-ghan

This one’s for all the mermaid lovers out there who always wanted their own tail. The top part is a “lapghan” (small afghan) blanket and the bottom cocoons around your feet. I tried buying a pattern for a mermaid tail but it was just awful. So I came up with […]

The Square Ring Light

The Square Ring Light

Photographers are familiar with the ring light, which produces a pleasing ring-shaped highlight, or “catchlight,” in a subject’s eyes. It’s often used in the fashion industry to create images you see in many magazines. The Square Ring Light is just like that — except it’s a square. I find it […]

Skill Builder: Files

Skill Builder: Files

The file is a basic tool, but it would be a mistake to call it simple. Files come in a variety of shapes, cuts, and coarseness depending on the job they’re designed to do. Whether you’re sharpening tools or cleaning up rough edges, choosing the right file starts with knowing the […]

Combat Concepting with Cardboard

Combat Concepting with Cardboard

My robotics team refers to our design method as “C.A.D.,” nerd code for Cardboard-Aided Design

Compressible Tensegrity Robot

Compressible Tensegrity Robot

Build this surprisingly resilient structure, then make it move. From our new book, Making Simple Robots.

Skill Builder: Soldering Iron Tips

Skill Builder: Soldering Iron Tips

There are hundreds of different soldering iron tip shapes and sizes used in everything from jewelry making to plumbing to even stained glass. We’ll focus on the 3 most common for electronics work: chisel, conical, and bevel tips.

Really, Really Random Number Generator

Really, Really Random Number Generator

No matter what kind of game you’re playing — whether itʼs Angry Birds, Grand Theft Auto, or an intense session of chess — you want the computer to behave unpredictably. If it always responds the same way in the same situation, that’s no fun at all. This is why almost […]

Accidental Clockmaker

Accidental Clockmaker

Bernie Rohde became obsolete as a TV repairman almost 30 years ago, having only gone to school for analog appliance repair. To catch up to a growing tech world, he decided to teach himself how to build digital circuits. He liked to play around with components, so he built exploded […]

Mechanical Mind

Mechanical Mind

Jones creates custom-made dioramas full of bits and pieces that reference important milestones in his clients’ lives

To Build a Better Robot, Build a Better Team

To Build a Better Robot, Build a Better Team

In the month of April, robotics teams participate in competitions such as FIRST in St. Louis and Vex in Anaheim. I met Kate Azar last summer and heard her talk enthusiastically about FIRST robotics. While her experience was positive, she realized that young women struggle to gain respect as competitors […]

Drawn to It

Drawn to It

We connect with 3Doodler co-founder Max Bogue to hear about his experiences.

Magic from Metal

Magic from Metal

Siberian artist Igor Verniy creates explicitly detailed steampunk sculptures of animals, from birds to bugs to puffer fish. Verniy has been crafting since he was a young boy, starting with small wooden toys and returning as an adult to work with metal, which he uses to create textures that bring […]

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Faux Enamel Trinket Maker

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Faux Enamel Trinket Maker

Here’s a fun toy project that uses another DIY project from a past issue of Make: — the “EZ-Make Oven” from Volume 35. It featured an incandescent bulb as a heat source built into a paint can, for baking plastisol creatures, aka Creepy Crawlers! Here’s how you can make something […]

InMoov Around the World

InMoov Around the World

A global community is contributing expertise to the InMoov Project

Innovated in China

Innovated in China

The Chinese have a saying: “It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white as long as it can catch mice.” While often attributed to the late Chinese leader and architect of economic reform, Deng Xiaoping, it is older. But it is fitting that people attribute it to Xiaoping […]

1+2+3 Clothes Folding Board

1+2+3 Clothes Folding Board

Folding clothes is a boring and laborious chore. So speed up the process by making a folding board out of cardboard and duct tape.

Round 2 - Fight!

Round 2 – Fight!

BattleBots is coming back to TV — but fighting robots never really went away

Howtoons: Wooden Robot Arm

Howtoons: Wooden Robot Arm

Build your own extendable robo arm from paint stirring sticks!

  • Posted by | May 1st, 2015 8:06 AM
In Our Image

In Our Image

How InMoov, the open-source, 3D-printed humanoid robot was born.

Kids’ DIY “FUNiture” Kit

Kids’ DIY “FUNiture” Kit

A “few” years back, as a final-semester project at the NC State University School of Industrial Design, I made a kit of plywood parts from which could be assembled several useful pieces of children’s furniture. I called it “FUNiture.” Thanks to help from my good friend, prolific author and skilled […]

Put a Tiny Power Switch on Your 9V Battery Clip

Put a Tiny Power Switch on Your 9V Battery Clip

Looking around my styrofoam plate hovercraft for a place to mount a switch, I hit upon the battery clip itself. I thought of a bunch of projects — from breadboarding to BEAM robotics to Arduino — where a 9V battery clip with a built-in power switch could come in handy. But nobody seems to sell one. So I made my own — Das Neunvoltzensvitcher!

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