Kickstarting solder-it-yourself junkbot kits

A group of engineering students (with no stated manufacturing experience -- caveat emptor) are kickstarting a series of cute assemble-it-yourself junkbots called "D.Bug"s. You get a kit full of electronic components, instructions for soldering them into cute robots, and a display box for your complete project. They're on the pricey side ($35 for the cheapest), especially since they don't come with the tools you need to assemble them, but they're a cute and potentially fun entree to soldering and working with electronic components.

To assemble the kit, you solder together electronic components to form the body parts of the D.Bug. Easy to assemble!Easy to assemble!

The manual includes step-by-step photo instructions, the background story for each D.Bug, a guide to identifying electronic parts, a tutorial for soldering, a harvesting guide for where to find the best parts, and insider tips on how to make your D.Bug look awesome.

D.Bug Model Kits - Art hacked from electronics (Thanks, Sophie!)


    1. If they were scrap parts I would agree completely, but sadly many appear to be new. Look at the lead lengths for example. Junkbots are supposed to be about making bots out of junk not making junk out functional bot parts.

  1. This is mildly disturbing ; ) There are a couple organizations I’ve worked with that do some really awesome things with Junk Electronics, ie: Disassembling dead printers & dvd-roms to create new functional junk bots, while teaching kids about electronics and upcycling in the process. Bilal Ghalib ran WreckLab/MakeLab events at the local library here in Ann Arbor that did exactly that.

    I would rather see a group making digital / online comic book style instructions on how to make junk bots, functional or aesthetic. I’d throw money at a kickstarter for that, and the company would have no inventory costs to deal with.

  2. Yeah no, do not like.  This is the opposite of “upcycling”.  Take working parts and turn them into little creatures?  I think they have missed the point of junk bots.

  3. Yeah, what Scott said. And it takes the imagination out of it! Looks like they’re sourcing things from one surplus shop- that’s going to create local scarcities in certain parts- what if someone needs a particular inductor, but  they’ve all been scooped up by the “junk”bot people? This sort of thing can get really contentious- ask anyone who shoots with a Graflex camera  what they think of the fact that Star Wars fans have driven up the prices of the flashes, just because one was used as a prop in Star Wars. What if they’re using some obsolete op-amp that the guitar effects people need? There could be fights.

    1. I’d assume that there would be a fairly strong incentive(unless a given part is just unbeatably cool looking) for them to avoid any parts with fan clubs. Why pay more when mixed lots of old stock/house numbered/otherwise subprime parts are sold by the kilogram?

      (Now, that same fact makes turning it into a $35 kit an amazing rip-off; but if you don’t care about parts actually working to spec, or having model numbers that mean anything, generic scrap-grade-maybe-working through hole parts are not exactly a luxury item…)

  4. This Kickstarter should be for a desoldering iron, not a bunch of new parts.  Maybe if they had some lead on a way of getting a load of defective would-have-been-trash parts from some manufacturers this would make sense, and the kit could be a heck of a lot cheaper than $35.  

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