Ever since I was a little kid in the sixties I have always been fascinated by the Lost in Space robot.
I remember Saturday mornings looking around in the basement trying to find parts to build my very own. Not really having any building skills, I had to wait 30 years before my dream would become a reality.
It all started when I read on the mailing list that someone was selling robot torso’s in Florida and that they were advertising in a toy magazine. I quickly got the address and sent off my S.A.S.E. for more information (they never did respond). At that time Gary Francis was inquiring about the same thing on the list so I wrote him. He told me that he had received a torso from Florida and that it was in terrible shape and needed a lot of work. He said he also bought another torso from a guy in California (later I found out it was Fred Barton) and that he was going to sell it and fix up the Florida torso. Since Gary lived about an hour from my home I decided to purchase this California torso.
At first glance, it looked in great shape and that it needed very little work. Gary showed me that actually it needed body filler to fill in a lot of holes and cracks under the paint. I purchased the torso from Gary for 1000.00 and so my adventure began. At that time Gary did not mention that the torso had one arm hole bigger than the other and that the front instrument panel side brace was crooked which now explains why he was selling this one and fixing the other one which needed more work.
After purchasing some claws, blueprints, and pedestal side panels from Gary and a copy of Flint Mitchell’s book I got to work on the torso. I hand sanded off all the paint and undercoating and began filling in the holes with Bondo and fiberglass resin. This was very tedious and due to time constraints I wasn’t finished for over six months! It was then painted with Silver Metallic Laquer Auto touch up paint.
I made a mold for the collar pieces (I made one for Gary too) and began heating the 1/4 square rod in my toaster oven. At this time Gary found a source for bubbles at 1000.00 a piece and I put my order in.(This was getting very expensive) Gary was racing along on his project at breakneck speed because he could afford to pay someone to do everything for him. I felt that I had already invested too much in the project and would have to proceed much more slowly and do most things myself. At about this time I began writing to Dewey Howard and he has become such a wonderful inspiration and all out Savior to my project (Thanks Dewey!).
Next I began work on the pedestals using the studio blueprints and tips in Flint ‘s book. I purchase some treads from Dewey(They’re excellent) and had the wheels made out of PVC at a local machine shop. The whole base was then coated with fiberglass resin to give it a seamless look.
Now for the knee bellows, routed from wood and coated with resin and Dupli-color auto fabric paint…in 5 words…get someone to do it! It was a real pain!
The leg section was made as described in Flint ‘s book out of pipe insulation and then covered with resin and that wonderful fabric paint.
The donut was made out of tubing from the hardware store and a round 1/4 fiberboard top.
All the lights were easy to find except for the two large chest lights. It took me a year and half to finally get them. The 10 pushbuttons were made out of acrylic thick sheet and colored gels. I purchased the neon from another builder who had an extra one and made the back plate in my oven with acrylic sheet. The arms are 7 1/2 inch flexible ARD hose covered with that fabric paint and the wrists are from Scott Sanderson.
The Radar section was made using ideas from Flint’s book and then coated with resin. My spinners do not spin, as I just wanted to get the project done and perhaps one day modify the whole thing to make it more functional. The bubble lifter is from Dewey. The seven feelers were made out of copper tubing, tampon applicators and covered with wire shrink wrap. The flashing bulbs were coated with stained glass window paint to give them the red-orange color. The brain was made out of sheet metal and the holes cut out with a dremel tool.
The robot is powered by a 300 watt computer power supply. The head is 12-14 volts, belly and large chest lights are 6 volts, and a cassette player with robot noise click track is 3 volts. The power supply had leads for 12, 5 and 3.4 which answered all my needs. The low voltage computer start-up leads also allows my power pack to be truly functional. Voice and neon are powered by a remote controlled RCA CD player.
At this point I am considering upgrading some of my parts with those made by more skilled craftsman. If you have any questions I will gladly share any knowledge that I have. Write me here.