Emerging Tech

My Robot Nation makes geek toy dreams come true

Customized robots would make great gifts for all the geeks on your list. Learn how to use My Robot Nation to design robots that are 3D printed.

What's geekier than designing your own robot toy? The way the toy is made! My Robot Nation allows any Google Chrome user to custom design a robot and have it 3D printed and shipped right to your door.

Once you install the My Robot Nation application, use the GUI to mix and match robot parts, markings, and colors. The design application offers a lot of control over customization. Robot parts can be sized using the arrow keys and placed to your liking. A large color palette is available, and you can create your own custom colors using a simple color wheel tool. A selection of full-color stamps is also available to give your robot a more authentic look.

My Robot Nation: Build Your Robot

When the design is complete, pose your robot using the application's 3D engine. Posing only affects the arms and torso, and the robots are guaranteed to stand upright on flat surfaces, so it makes sense that the legs need to stay in a particular position.

My Robot Nation: Pose Your Robot

There is no way to save your creation; once you finish with the design, it's on to purchasing. You can purchase your robot in sizes ranging from two inches to six inches, and prices ranging from $17.99 to $169.99 depending on height. Then the order goes to Offload Studios, which prints every robot on a Z-Corporation 3D printer.

3D printing is essentially automated reverse-sculpting. Instead of carving away the plaster-like material, 3D printers add layer upon layer of material until the object is built up. A layer of plaster-like powder is put on the printer tray, and then a print head moves over the tray, simultaneously coloring and shaping the object. Instead of ink, this print head uses colored binding agents to harden the powder. The tray is lowered and more powder added after each pass of the print head. 3D printing provides amazing texture detail and vibrant color because it is all done as the item is built. This technology does away with the need for molds, making it cost-friendly to print any number of customized items.

If robots aren't really your thing, consider creating your own unique design. Offload Studios offers custom 3D printing orders. If you need ideas, check out 3D printed infographics of an earthquake.

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

2 comments
Sarah.Stocker
Sarah.Stocker

Sarah from My Robot Nation here - just wanted to let Tech Republic readers know that My Robot Nation does not require an app - you can simply go to www.myrobotnation.com with your webGL enabled browser and start building! Also, our 1.0 launch yesterday enabled some cool new features including "save to cart" that lets you save your work-in-progress robot to your cart to edit later! Other new features include gift codes, holiday robot parts, global shipping, and a deeper community side that lets you explore and rank the robots of the Nation. Enjoy!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You may need to provide your own 3D modelling software but one can get there own kit built or pre-assembled 3D printers for home use these days. Very cool fun for the Makers and Hackers to play with.

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