scanner. I wasn’t quite done because I also wanted to
have the jaw open and close (Figure 6).
At the time, I was not really familiar on how servos
worked, so I came up with a very rudimentary system of
pulleys, lamp parts, string, and eye loops with which I was
able to control the jaw via the operator’s head. This was
done by creating a spring-activated rod with a salad bowl
that came down from the head of the Golem. When the
operator pus his head in the bowl and pushes up and
down, the jaw would open and close (this was later
changed to a servo; refer to Figure 7). The head was
mounted on a lazy Susan, so when the operator put his
head in the bowl he could also turn the Golem’s head
side to side. I decided to put in some smoke effects as
well, and by luck I came across a device called the
Dragon Puffer which was used to detect drafts in houses
by releasing smoke. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the
lazy Susan, mounted a hose, and attached the Dragon
Puffer at the other end so the Golem “breathed” smoke.
The only problem with this was that the smoke could not
make it up the tube. So, I took apart a video card
heatsink, removed the fan,
and tied it into the tube,
then connected a 9V
battery with a temporary
There were not a lot of electronics here, but I created
a large articulating hand using aircraft cable, PVC tubing, a
cut-up tape measure, and latex tubing to create the
movement of the fingers.
The Center Gear Chest Piece
Through the years, I have been taking apart hundreds
of printers and saving all the gears. So, I painted a bunch
of them in a brass color, aged them up, and mounted
them on a piece of plexi (see Figure 8). To drive all the
gears, I used a 12V motor I got from a local electronics
surplus store and a vacuum cleaner belt. To light it up, I
wanted hot spots of light behind the gears. I used chicken
wire mesh as a grid and attached 50+ LEDs behind the
plexi to give a warm uneven light.
In the center of the gears is a central core power cell
which also lights up and pulses. To achieve this pulse, I
hacked another chaser beacon and placed it behind a
glass jar filled with orange scented oil beads. As each LED
goes through its programmed rotation, it reflects off all the
beads making very interesting patterns (Figure 9).
Everything converges in the “cockpit” of the
body. Having very little exposure to the “maker”
world, I thought it was best to hide the electronics
and the workings of the Golem. I couldn’t have been
more wrong. It turned out everyone — no matter
what their interests in electronics were — wanted to
see how it worked. The insanity of the inside with
flashing lights, hundreds of feet of wire, and the fact
that someone got in there was very fascinating.
During the wiring process, I learned to mount
things so they were accessible, label things properly
(which Solarbotics greatly appreciated), put proper
connectors on, have a proper soldering technique,
and so on. I also put in around 25 pole and
36 September 2014
FIGURE 6. The electronics of the face, and the pulley system
that activates the jaw.
FIGURE 9. The back of the chest gears, and all the system
emergency shutdown switches (before the Solarbotics upgrade).
FIGURE 7. Finished head with