Assemblage | Building a robot companion

Meet Roger, the robot with a heart of gold.

Or silver. I made Roger a couple years ago. He’s got a lot of personality.

 He hangs out on my desk all day.

But lately, I think the old guy’s been feeling a little off. Like he’s empty inside.


Clearly, he’s lonely.


So I decided to make Roger a companion.

Building a robot requires high-tech, precision-calibrated instruments. Or a glue gun. And lots of  electronic components, computer parts and rusty Jell-O molds.

Luckily I had everything on hand.

Remember the scene from “Apollo 13” when one of the engineers at Mission Control dumps a box of gear onto a table and tells his co-workers that they have to build a square carbon dioxide filter that will fit into a round hole using nothing but the stuff in front of them or the three astronauts in the lunar module will die?

Yeah, this was nothing like that. But it’s as close as I will ever come to being a NASA engineer.

I sorted through my table of junk until I found the perfect chassis for my new robot: a mini-lantern.

I removed the handle and the base that would normally hold a tea light. Then I glued what looked like the foot of a furniture leg on top of the lantern to serve as the robot’s neck.

A silver mini tart pan became the head.
Three other gold furniture feet became legs.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought it would be a nice touch to give the robot a heart.

After digging through my stash, I picked out two of my favorites and suspended them from a chain that hangs down inside the lantern and then winds around her neck like a necklace.

A couple of springs made bendable arms.

And two old sewing machine bobbins served as eyes. (I later painted them gold to contrast with her skin tone.)

My little robot was shaping up nicely, but I wanted her to look a little more girly, so I started crafting a tinfoil skirt for her.

Pleats seemed like a good idea at first, but during the model fitting, I could hear the Tim Gunn inside my head saying, “She’s looking a little matronly.”

So I scrapped the pleats and opted for a more youthful silhouette: fringe.

This time my inner Tim approved.

The Blue Fly/Macy’s/Piperlime Accessory Wall was full of options for head gear.

In the end, I sent my model down the runway in this rather futuristic-looking chapeau:

Project Robot

Yes, that is indeed a toilet paper runway.


Aww. What a cute couple. I think they were made for each other.

Now all that’s left to do is to give my new robot a name. As she appears to be a sterling companion to my little Roger, I was thinking maybe Joan. Or Mona. But definitely not Jane.

Suggestions, anyone?

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