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Swiss Army Barbie Makes Your Action Figures Seem Lame

By | Play | No Comments

The Barbie doll has been a young girl’s best friend for decades and although her unrealistic body proportions is a topic of debate, no one can dispute her work ethic. In more than 50 years, Barbie has had over 130 careers. And now, with a few modifications, she’s landed the most versatile job yet – multi-tool!

Mikeasaurus at Instructables decided to create a doll that not only brings joy to a girl but can act as the night in shining armor when called upon. Even more articulate than your average action figure, his Swiss Army Barbie comes in handy when you need a quick fix, be it loosening a screw from your gadget or slicing open a lid or tape on a box, this unassuming doll comes to your rescue!

Swiss Army Barbie - Supplies

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

All you need to create your own multi-tool Barbie is a doll, screwdriver and a multi-blade knife which Mikeasaurus got for less than $15.

Swiss Army Barbie - Cutting the doll in half with a saw

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

Using a sharp saw, cut the doll in half just below the waist. Then clean off the burrs with a file or rotary tool. You’ll notice that the inside of the doll is pretty hollow but in order to fit your multi-tool in the torso, it’s a good idea to remove any plastic obstructions inside the body with a rotary tool.

Swiss Army Barbie - hollowing out the doll's torso

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

Multi-blade knives are small to begin with but there’s still components you can remove so it will fit in the doll’s torso. Most have decorative plastic panels on the outsides adding to the width. Remove those by either unscrewing them or simply using a heat gun to soften the adhesive and pry them off.

Swiss Army Barbie - Prepping the multi-blade tool

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

As an additional option, Mikeasaurus decided to reduce the bulk even further by chopping off tools he felt were unnecessary like the corkscrew, awl and smaller blades. This not only saved on mass but allowed the multi-tool to fit entirely inside the Barbie doll.

Swiss Army Barbie - Cutting the side for the blades

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

Test fit the multi-tool inside the torso and trim extra plastic as needed. Once you’ve marked and cut the side of the doll’s upper torso where the blades will swing out, she’ll be ready for final assembly!

Just epoxy the multi-tool inside the upper torso making sure the blades line up with the opening on the side and secure it with tape as it dries.

Swiss Army Barbie - Screwdriver leg function

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

As a last minute idea, Mikeasaurus looked at the bottom portion of the doll which didn’t have any function other than completing the doll and decided to add a screwdriver to the legs that would reveal itself once the doll is pulled apart. After sawing off the handle of an inexpensive flat head screwdriver, he carved out a section of one of the legs from inside the hip cavity and used epoxy glue to secure the screwdriver bit.

Swiss Army Barbie - Adding magnets

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

With all of her tools in place and at-the-ready, it was time to rejoin the two halves. With everything fitting together nicely, Mikeasaurus added small magnets to a void he found inside the torso so the two halves could be taken apart and put back together again effortlessly.

Swiss Army Barbie - Glue on the clothes

Mikeasaurus | Instructables

Once you put her clothes back on be sure to make matching cuts in her outfit so she could come apart and the blades can swing out without getting caught. Mikeasaurus found it best to glue her clothes on so they don’t shift around during use.

A typical Barbie by day, and Mrs. Fix-it-all by night, this is one toy hack that will put your action figures to shame.

For all the project details and even more photos, check out Mikeasaurus’ Swiss Army Barbie on Instructables.

Build Your Own Life-size BB-8 Droid For Just $120 in Parts

By | Geek, Play, Technology, Workshop | No Comments

We all seek different things in our friends – companionship, encouragement …or a “bleep-blop” talking robot and intergalactic partner in the fight against the Dark Side of the Force. To have the kind of relationship that Luke Skywalker had with R2-D2 was my ultimate bestie goal so when I saw the first videos for “The Force Awakens” featuring a new droid whose body rolled effortlessly across any terrain while its head remained upright, I was immediately asking “what sorcery is this?”

Like many other curious tech enthusiasts, I found myself on the waiting list for one of Sphero’s BB-8 toys. But 17-year-old engineering hobbyist, Angelo Casimiro, just couldn’t wait. These toys were even harder to come by in the Philippines and cost over $200! Instead, he decided to build one for his toy-collector father as a Christmas present. What Angelo quickly learned was that the greatest gift his father received was the time they spent building together the week of Christmas.

What I like about Angelo’s method is that he doesn’t use fancy 3D printers, CNCs or milling machines you typically see for these types of projects. With a few tools, a little bit of Arduino circuitry, a free remote control phone app and creative use of household items, this father-son duo brought their favorite droid to life!

Build the body with a beach ball and paper mache.

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

For the body, Angelo took a low-tech approach using a fully-inflated beach ball as a mold that he then fortified with newspaper strips and paper mache – sort of like making a pinata. Once dry, he smoothed out the surface with wood putty and a bit of sanding.

The head is made from a styrofoam ball cut in half.

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

The head is a big styrofoam ball cut in half, hollowed out and also smoothed over with wood putty and sand paper. A Christmas ball ornament, cut in half and painted black from the inside made up the large glossy eye piece.

Painted BB-8 head with eye.

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

Using photos and videos online as a reference, Angelo’s dad transferred the robot’s designs to their creation using a compass for curves and tailer’s measuring tape for straight lines. After a few coats of orange, black and gray paint, the body and head looked like the real thing!

BB-8 Arduino circuitry

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

As for the “brains” of the droid, an Arduino Uno micro-controller board communicates with other boards that control a set of wheels inside the body allowing the BB-8 droid to move around with the same agility as in the movie. Arduino Uno receives its commands via Bluetooth from a free phone app designed for remote-control cars to steer the droid around. The head remains upright and rolls effortlessly over the body through a set of speaker magnets holding the two pieces together.

Head mechanism for BB-8

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

To make it easy to replicate his project, Angelo includes all the artwork templates, Arduino code, droid sound bytes as mp3s, and wiring schematics as downloads in his step-by-step tutorial.

No more excuses, it’s time to fulfill my childhood friendship goals!

Check out Angelo’s DIY Life-Size Phone Controlled BB-8 Droid on Instructables for all the details to build your own.

Teeter totter made from an old tire.

Smiley-Face Tire Totter

By | Outdoor, Play, Recycling | No Comments

You know, like a teeter totter only with a tire! This lovable playground toy is easy to make with just a tire, wood board, handles and fasteners but decorating and painting it becomes fun for the whole family.

If you don’t have a tire lying around you can get one from your local service shop (most likely for free). The larger the diameter of the tire, the more range of motion you’ll get. For the totter board, Mark at My Fix it Up Life used a 2″x6″x8″ length of Western Red Cedar available at his local home improvement store along with the other items you’ll need.

Be extremely careful when cutting your tire in half. Wear safety glasses and heavy gloves because there are steel belts that run inside the rubber that can cut you. Mark used a 4 1/2-inch angle grinder with a metal cutting wheel to get the job done and wedged the cut areas open as he went along with a wood shim or multitool so the cutting disc doesn’t get pinched between the rubber surfaces. Drill a few holes on the bottom of the tire half you’re keeping to allow water to drain.

The totter board is supported by a totter plate which sits inside the tire and is fastened with 1-inch flathead screws. Mark then used two 1/2-inch deck screws to secure the totter board to the totter plate. For the eyes, he used old raquet balls cut in half with a utility knife.

It’s best to paint the individual components prior to assembly and you can choose your own colors, patterns and animal inspirations. For instance, Mark painted the inside of the tire red so it looks like a mouth, the totter plate white to look like teeth and the eyes simply complete the look. If it were painted green instead of blue then it would probably look more like a frog – you get the idea.

For detailed step-by-step instructions check out: Mark | My Fix It Up Life