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Heart of Steel: Bow to Your Steampunk Robot Overlord

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For more on microcontrollers and wearables, check out Make: Volume 43.  Don't have this issue? Get it in the Maker Shed.
For more on microcontrollers and wearables, check out Make: Volume 43.
Don’t have this issue? Get it in the Maker Shed.

Thomas Willeford, of Brute Force Studios, is a giant among makers in the steampunk community. When Jeff Mach, organizer of the Steampunk World’s Fair, wanted a giant robot, he enlisted Willeford to create it.

Over 15 feet high and more than 1,000 pounds, the robot is constructed of ¾-inch plywood sheathed in Masonite. It is finished with furniture tacks and painted to look like riveted metal. Though unmanned, the torso is big enough to fit a person inside, and the shoulders, elbows, and wrists are poseable. It took 45 12-hour days to build, with 17 people assisting at one time or another.

“I intended the robot to be a symbol of how creative steampunk can be,” says Mach. He also wants to support cancer awareness in the steampunk community. A plaque on the robot is dedicated to “Hearts of Steel,” listing, among others, CJ Henderson, a writer and editor of steampunk literature who recently lost his battle with cancer.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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