Phillip the Robot Is Seven Feet Tall and Made of Trash

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Robotics Technology
Phillip the Robot Is Seven Feet Tall and Made of Trash

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It all started with a wooden left hand. Once finished, I decided to build that hand a body.

Phillip is an amalgamation of useless items accumulated through years of collecting, tinkering, and repurposing. I am a pretty tall guy, but Phillip is seven foot and broad shouldered. Everything, all the way down to his plywood skeleton, was found or salvaged and repurposed. He ranges from shells to old game consoles.


The various areas of his body and their corresponding materials were decidedly thematic. I tried to use more “intestinal” materials in the abdomen and branch out into larger more robust materials for appendages. In the maker tradition, many Altoids tins were adapted to his frame. His skeleton is composed of plywood cookies shaped and fitted together with a band saw.

Most of his appendages are opposable. His shoulders rotate like ours, and he can turn his head and bend his knees. I measured nothing on him; everything was eyeballed. This made the process of creating him flow together. Once I had frames for each body part built, I simple diced up materials which possessed textures I wanted. Using materials in this way (only utilizing what I had and not planning anything), let the material influence the build as much as my vision. This is a large part of what makes Phil unique.

In all honesty, the most difficult part of the build was designing and implementing a viable stand. He’s a big boy. Currently he resides in a workspace in Willmar, Minnesota, called Workup. I would eventually like to make him a companion, something like a parrot for his shoulder. Emulating the texture of feathers with junk could be fun.

Ben Noeldner

I’m Benjamin Noeldner from New London, Minnesota. Having been a Maker since I could oppose my hands, I enjoy experimenting with the intricacies of obsolete items and using creation and art as a means of communication external to language. Outside of being a Maker I like to learn and write music.

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