We found this rad robot in an antique store and had to have it for our friend Toby. Toby the robot walks, talks, shoots a gun and even smokes!

Demo of Improved Toby Bot

Or at least when he was new. When we filled him up with batteries, no response :(. With my little helper, we opened Toby up and found that the wires were insanely small gauge and had melted/ corroded off their connections. Got the eyes working but most of the gearing was out of commission, as well as the little smoking mechanism, where you put a few drops of mineral oil in a reservoir in the top and I guess it heats the oil to its smoking point. The 80’s were a strange time.

Given the amount of space in the robot, Thought I’d see if I could do one better and give him some custom audio. So we cut a couple switches and a usb charger into the enclosure and put a speaker, mp3 player and micro-controller inside. Turned out pretty well!

Parts list (all from

  • Music Maker FeatherWing w/ Amp – MP3 OGG WAV MIDI Synth Player – Stereo 3W Amplifier PID: 3436
  • Mono Enclosed Speaker – 3W 4 Ohm PID: 3351
  • Micro B Round Panel Mount Extension Cable – 30cm PID: 4217
  • Adafruit Latching Mini Relay FeatherWing PID: 2923
  • Lithium Ion Battery – 3.7v 2000mAh PID: 2011
  • Adafruit Feather M4 Express – Featuring ATSAMD51 – ATSAMD51 Cortex M4 PID: 3857