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Delayed gratification

In the product world, it takes a long time to get product to shelf, but you are trying to put so many items through the pipeline that you don’t have a lot of time to ‘sit around’ waiting for something to show up. I got my 3rd round of parts in the mail today. Once I started designing the parts and working up a library of baseline components, it started to get easier.

After a lot of late nights (after the kids went to bed), I got a full figures worth of parts (in model form anyway). Great, right? Yeah, but by that point, I’d fallen behind on posts, my first parts hadn’t come in yet and the whole thing started getting nebulous. I’m being dramatic of course, but its sort of about our relationships to stuff, atoms, brick and mortal- real world stuff. I had a full figure in captured via screen grab in Rhino- fun to show around to my son or supportive friends, but it just wasn’t going to be the same until I had all the parts in hand.

Today is that day. Holy smokes! I forgot what it was like to have ‘first shots’ in your hand. Obviously, I’ve posted about the parts and the fit and finish of the material, etc. But today, I actually had a product in my hand. Something I could move around and pose and really understand the proportion and personality of what I’d created and assembled. Its a feeling that you don’t get everyday, or at least maybe its one you become accustomed to over time. Each subsequent, item becomes a little more mundane out of familiarity until it all blends together. The big difference here is that its something I did myself. I didn’t need a staff of designers, engineers, marketers, salesmen, huffing and puffing about why it doesn’t fit the market, or the brand portfolio, or won’t pass safety. This once, I’m just swimming in good vibes and the playful optimism, enjoying a job well-done and a blurry glimpse at what might be on the horizon.

So! Back on track. The one part that I have ordered in what I think is the right material is the torso. Its the ‘polished’ variant of the Shapeways strong and flexible option. I think it only comes in white and black, but I’m going to try to order one whole figure in that material to see how it all fit together. All the other parts pictured are the basic white or unpolished option- which is much grittier than the polished. The grit creates a decent amount of friction in the joint, so the figure will actually stand. All that variation of the surfaces gives me a tight fit. But,… The ball joints for the ‘polished’ torso part have smaller balls and much less friction. To friction or not to friction is an important question- especially when a protofigure is $30 a pop. The polished part is pretty nice, though.

I’m anxious to get the basic figure debugged and then opening it up for sale in a Shapeways shop. In the meantime, I’ll try a few on Ponoko and get a few made on a MakerBot to see the relative benefits of each. Then, on to outfitting this guy to see how far I can take this customizable figure concept. I’ve still got a good amount of stuff up my sleeve. Onward.

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How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

The fun part about ModiBot is that it can be anything you want it to be. With just a few pieces of colored cloth you can outfit your 'Bot and send him off on any number of adventures.

This kit was designed to enable character creation across a variety of known pop-culture characters, traditional hero archetypes, or to use as a jumping-off point for designing your own hero.

Its quick to make with some materials you might have around the house and really easy to modify to add your own personal touches. It can also be used as a fun design exercise for groups of kids (or kids at heart) for school or birthday parties. We also have premade kits in variety of colors available in our shop.

Let's get started.

Heres a quick list of materials-
  • Scissors (or rotary cutter)
  • one 9x12 in. sheet of felt
  • one 4 in. zip tie
  • one paper lollipop stick

     

    Step 1: Ideate and plan your design-

    Depending on the color of your bot, you might go in a variety of directions, but, as an example, let's say you have a bright green ModiBot you want to outfit.

    There are a lot of known characters that are green and could be easy to design with this kit, like Peter Pan or Robin Hood.

    There are also character archetypes that could be fun to build by starting with green, like an elven sorcerer or jungle-camoflaged ninja.

    Think for a few seconds and let your mind wander as you think of ideas. You might even do a quick drawing of your design using our downloadable  Character Design Template.

    Step 2: Cut your felt pieces-

    Depending on whether you are going to match the existing pattern or make a design of your own, you can start by creating the strips that will be used for the tunic and sash.

    How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

    Cut a 1/2 inch strip down the long side of the 9x12 inch felt sheet. This will give you a strip 1/2 inch by 12 inches.

    How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

    Starting at one end of the strip, measure 4 1/2 inches and cut straight across the strip using the scissors. Now, do the same thing again, measure 4 1/2 inches down the strip and cut.

    This should leave you with 2 pieces measuring 4 1/2 inches and a leftover piece measuring 3 inches.

    Step 3: Attach your pieces to the figure

    This part can be a bit tricky, so it’s best to start by sliding the end of the zip tie into the slot until you hear or feel the first few clicks.

    How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

    Then take the two longer strips and fold them over the top of the figure’s shoulders and cross-cross them. It’s easy to use your finger and thumb to hold the strips into place.

    How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

    Now, point your figure’s toes and slide the zip tie up the legs to the waist.
    Now, you can slip the smaller strip underneath the zip tie belt and wrap it around the figure’s waist.

    How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

    Next, slowly tighten the zip tie while holding every thing in place. It’s best to leave some slack in the belt to allow you move things around to get them just right before tightening completely.
    Lastly, trim off the extra bit of the zip tie.

     

    Step 4: Decorate your stick

    I chose here to make mine into a sword with a metal blade and black handle, but you are free to make the stick into anything you want.

    Step 5: Complete the design and start posing!

    How to make your own DIY ModiBot hero

     

    Making female figures with the Moli Modifier upgrade kit

    We are constantly being asked for some parts that more 'female' to complement to Mo. During our Kickstarter campaign, we came up with the idea to make a small set of female parts that you could mix with Mo to get a whole new female figure and we called her Moli.

    Originally, the only way to get Moli was as made-to-order kit from our ModiBot Custom shop. We have been selling the Basic Moli upgrade (which consists of a hip and torso) for several years, but, for the first time, we're now selling the Deluxe Moli Modifier kit here in our shop.

    The kit, available in white, is 3d printed in Polyamide, which is a form of polyester and comes on a single frame to make it easy to process and ship. In addition to the torso and hip parts found in the Basic set, the Deluxe Modifier set includes hands, feet, and ponytail, 7 parts in all.

    When you receive the kit, it is best to trim the parts off the frame using small wire snips, cuticle scissors, or, if you are careful, an exacto knife. (See the green lines on the image below to know where to cut).

    Moli Modifier Frame

    Once you've trimmed them off the frame, these 3d printed parts (shown in white) can then be added to various parts from the Mo figure (shown above in pink) to complete your Moli.

    As with Mo, Moli can be used for any number of creative projects, from drawing practice, to DIY character crafts, to stopmotion animation. Where she goes is driven by your imagination.

    ModiBot returns to Bay Area Maker Faire 2018

    We're ramping up for an appearance at the Bay Area Maker Faire, May 18-20.

    As many of you know, we launched at the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth in 2013, with some prelim samples of our molded figs and limited run of Maker Myke figures printed specifically for the show, all just prior to our launching our Kickstarter. We love the energy, optimism and curiosity it brings out in people. 

     

     

    We'll be exhibiting all sorts of new kits and accessories available for the first time in-person. We'll have the SpyBorg, Mechanoid Zero and Meta upgrade frame, ModiRaptor, Moli Modifier Frame, Human ExoSkin, and a variety of assorted weapons, accessories and figure upgrades.

    We'll also be featuring the MoBility Stopmotion torso and have a new Stopmotion Starter Kit on-hand for aspiring filmmakers and effects gurus who are looking for a way to take their first steps in visual storytelling. It was a hit at the East Bay Maker Faire last fall, so we'll have more on-hand

    We'll also have an activity/customization station for kids to come by and create some DIY activities like creating your own ModiBot characters with the character design template, making and detailing swords, hands-on ModiBot costuming and drawing Coats-of-Arms for their DIY shields.

    And, lastly, the MakerBot Rep 2 will be there churning out a selection of the free ModiBot models available on Thingiverse

    The show starts Friday, May 18 (afternoon only) and then goes all weekend. We're looking forward to it and we hope to see you there!

    Simple stopmotion set-up using MoBility torso and two Mo figures

    ModiBot is extremely versatile for a wide variety of diy projects, but did you know it’s also a great way to jump in and try your hand at stopmotion animation? 

    Enter the MoBility Torso Kit- I’ve updated our high-articulation torsos to allow users to plug a ball into the spin of a Mo figure. This torso has 5 additional points of articulation not found on the basic Mo figures. So upgrading your Mo figure is a snap, by just switching out the basic torso with the MoBility upgrade. This torso gives your figure that extra bounce needed for telling a believably expressive story and includes an additional attachment point in the spine which is perfect for adding an external support rig. 

    This additional rig set-up is what give your movements life by providing support when the figure is on a single foot or hanging in the air. The adaptive rig is easy to make using a second Mo figure kit and can be clamped down to a table edge using simple clamps or clips. Additional arm/leg segments can be added or removed to change the length in difficult shots. As an added bonus, try using the bright green figure for green screen effects and to make it easy to remove the rig in post-production. 

    Once you learn the basics of animation, the Mo figure offers an easy jumping-off point for designing and fabricating your own animation character puppets. Light-weight materials work the best, so consider using things like pipe cleaners, masking tape or simple cloth to flesh out your designs. If you have access to a 3d printer, we also offer some simple, printable upgrades to change the look of your figure and add some props for telling your story. The sky’s the limit!

    You can find the Mobility torso kit in white located here in our shop or choose from  variety of colors available on demand at our ModiBot Custom Shop at Shapeways . If you'd like buy the entire kit, you can grab it all in the ModiBot Stopmotion Starter Set.

    Its is Alive! New pricing for the ModiRaptor kit

    3d printed product require a different approach than traditional manufactured parts and one important way is that its very difficult for the printing company to track all kinds of loose parts when they come out of the printer. Its pure chaos.

    To reduce the price on many of our kits, we've taken the time to start putting the kits on frames (or sprues) like you might see in a model kit. This brings the price down by reducing labor costs and make many of the larger kits, like the ModiRaptor DIY Dino Kit, more affordable.

     

    At 47 pieces its one of the more complex items to assemble, but all the extra articulation points make it one of the most fun kits to pose and play with.

    Building your own ModiRaptor? Click here to see or download assembly instructions