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  • January 4, 2012


Tin-can dog robot

A tin dog to follow you around, make it out of used food cans.

Courtesy of: Martha Stewart

Making this tin can dog is a perfect project for you and your kids to do together. Almost everything you need can be found in your tool chest, kitchen cabinet, and recycling bin. Use a smooth-edge can opener to prevent any injuries, or rub jagged edges with emery paper prior to assembly.

What you need
  • Large can (such as one that held crushed or whole tomatoes)
  • Small can (such as one that held kidney beans)
  • Smooth-edge can opener
  • Drill, with 3/16-inch drill bit
  • No. 8 bolt with nut
  • Extension spring
  • 4 small casters
  • Liquid Nails adhesive
  • Heavy-duty peel-and-stick Velcro
  • Emery paper
  • Two 1/2-inch cable straps
  • Bolts, washers, and wing nuts
  • Metallic scouring pad
  • Pipe clamp
  • Large flat magnet
  • Red horseshoe magnet
What to do

1. Open one end of each can with a smooth-edge can opener. Use the larger can for the body, the smaller for the head. For the tail, drill two small holes near the open end of the large can; insert a bolt through the hole and fasten with a nut. Slide the extension spring over the bolt, and secure it through the second hole by hooking it from the inside out.

2. For the legs: Glue the wheels of the casters in place with adhesive, so they don’t swivel; attach to the underside of the body with Velcro.

3. For the ears: Drill two holes halfway up the side of the small can, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Smooth the edges with the emery paper. Affix a cable strap at each hole using a bolt, a washer, and a wing nut, which is fastened inside the can. The bolts that secure the ears will be the eyes. Use a rubber washer over the aluminum one to give the dog a “spot” around one of the eyes.

4. Drill a hole in the small can opposite the eyes and a corresponding hole in the tail-side of the large can. Place a pipe clamp around a scouring pad to create a neck with a collar. Attach the head to the body with a long bolt and wing nut: Insert the bolt from inside the small can, through the scouring pad and clamp, and into the larger can; secure with the wing nut.

5. Use the flat magnet for the nose and the horseshoe for the tongue.

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