Arduino makers project - Printocho


Printocho V1.0 is the first prototype for a toy that includes elements of Art Toy, the fantastic world of robots, constructional and articulated toys, and the possibility of producing them in series.

Printocho V1.0 is a 3D printable robot whose pieces can be modified and redesigned.

It’s main purpose is that of introducing children to Arduino programming, to design, and to 3D printing.In short, it can be considered as a beautiful and educative project.

First developed and designed for "Titirijai 2014”, the International Festival of puppets and marionettes in the city of Tolosa, and along with other interpretations of the figure of Pinocchio, Printocho was on show as part the exhibition "The Truth about Pinocchio" in the GKO gallery in Tolosa, organized by ART TOY GAMA Collective, from November 22 to November 29, 2014.


What have you made?

Printocho V1.0 is the first prototype for a simple 3D printable robot with educational pruposes. It was inspired by Pinocchio’s fairy tale.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

Friends from Jovenes inventores are the organizers of workshops for children based on robotics and programming. They asked me to help them designing a robot for its inclusion on the workshops, a robot to be easily 3D printed. 

The initial idea was that this robot was supposed to introduce children to Arduino coding in an interesting way. On top of that, I found it really important to start teaching children also about the world of ideas and design, where they could think and design new parts for their robot, imagining new personalities, improving its parts, exchanging ideas and their different results, promoting team work. That would also be a new and different way of understanding 3D printing, based on fun and with rewarding final objective, that of having a working robot in their hands, designed and made by themselves.

What is the original idea behind this project?

The original idea was to reinterpret the classic image of a robot and to bring it closer to the world of Art Toy or constructible toys, which ultimately combine combine art, design, technology, learning and play, in one object, using 3D printing as a tool.

How does it work?

In this case, Printocho (interpretation of the famous Pinocchio) begins to interact when started by light sensor placed on its nose. When you approach the hand to the nose or just touch the tip of the nose, the robot reacts and executes the cycle of movements that had been previously programmed.

There are a total of four mini servos creating the independent movements of the head, the waist and the arms: they’re free simple robot movements, but they make it really expressive. The eyes consist of two LEDs that blink with different patterns, contributing to the sensation of the robot being expressive, even with its eyes.

How long did it take to make it real?

From the early birth of the idea to the first design process, including sketches, it took me approximately one month. But the real design phase was once I started with the 3D printing trial period: that was quite long and took about six months. Nowadays I am focused on growing Printocho’s family with an improved design to facilitate its integration into the children workshops.

How did you build it?

The materials I used are:
- 4 mini servos,
- LEDs
- light sensor
- DC power connector
- Arduino UNO board
- cables
- 3D printer and materials

Once you have all the 3D printed pieces of robot, you have to start the assembly process. At this stage, you also have to mount the mini servos,LEDs, light sensor, DC power connector and Arduino board, which has to be inserted in its specific slot. You also need to plug all the cables to the correct connectors.

Once all parts of the robot are assembled, it is programmed with a very basic program: a cycle of movements, taking into consideration time and the interaction with the light sensor of the nose as a trigger of the movements. Printocho is then plugged to power so that it can stay switched on all day, waiting for someone to interact with him to start dancing/moving. And .. That’s all Folks. Hope you enjoy it!