HackSpace magazine

Turning a Remote Control Toy into a Flapping Dragonfly

By Poppy Mosbacher. Posted

When electronic toys break they’re often discarded, but for resourceful makers this can open up a whole range of project ideas.

“Long ago I had a model RC dragonfly. It never worked very well and I broke it,” says Instructables user NanoRobotGeek. “Over the years I have scavenged most of the parts to make other projects, however I always left the gearbox intact for the day I decided to make something like this.”

NanoRobotGeek created the flapping dragonfly robot using freeform circuits. “I laid brass rod on top of the plans and bent each section until it matched the drawing. I then soldered each section in place, often while the brass still lay on the drawing. The brass does wick up more heat than a thin component leg but other than that it is just like soldering a circuit together.”

“The tail was made from two long sections of soft brass to which I soldered an array of capacitors in parallel.”

The tail made from capacitors

Instructions to make this flapping dragonfly are available here.

If you've given new life to broken electronics we’d love to hear what you made in the comments below.

Safety warning

Brass holds heat longer than small electronic components so be careful not to burn yourself.