by RollingRobots

Published on April 23, 2014

Rolling Robots makes Los Angeles come to life with a recreation of several icons of the city.

Credits: Rolling Robots Students: August, Dorothy, Jack and Josef. Rolling Robots Instructors: Adam, Alex, Bing and Dr. K the Robot Doctor

How To Make It


Light up the Hollywood sign. We built the Hollywood hills using a foam core board cut and shaped to create a dome. Covered it with green construction paper to represent grass. White Hollywood letters for the sign we traced from a template on to foam core then cut out with an Xacto knife. We relied on our instructor Alex for most of the letter cutting. Referencing a photo online we positioned the letters accurately on the hill. Once the sign was in place we used the long LEDs placed inside the dome and coming through to illuminate the sign.


The Rotating Universal Globe. The globe was made to rotate using the DC motor Bit. The globe was a small plastic ball, a small hole was poked in it and the motor inserted and secured with hot glue. Painting the globe was done with Sharpie Paint Pens, these are basically like marker pens but use real paint and even have a shaker ball inside like a spray can. We used Silver as the main color and Gold for the continents. The letters are precut stencils that are arranged on a bend and hot glued to the globe. To cover all the mechanisms we added a small foam core box which also became a nice place to position an LED to illuminate the globe.


Water Fountains. The globe is surrounded by water fountains producing a fountain show. We could not use water around our other features and electronics so we had to come up with a better way. The fan bits were the perfect solution. Placing the fan in a paper cup with holes cut for air circulation and adding some light weight silver tinsel, the floating tinsel creates an effect that looks like spraying water.


Flying Space Shuttle Endeavour.  Los Angeles is home to the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour. Students remembered the day the Shuttle flew over Los Angeles so they wanted to add it to this project. We searched the internet and found a shared 3D model that we downloaded and printed on our 3D printer. To make it fly the space shuttle is floating on a pipe cleaner above the Hollywood Hills.


Los Angeles Traffic. Representing both the good and bad of the city we included a traffic scene.  Students spent some time trying to figure out how to make a car drive through our display using the DC motor.  Rather than make a single car they came up with the turntable idea.   We cut a piece of cardboard about 6 inches in diameter and mounted it to the DC motor shaft with hot glue.   The car was printed with our 3D printer.  Students painted the car with a Sharpie Paint Marker and hot glued it to the rotating table.  One car just didn't seem like enough so we printed and painted a few more.  They were all glued to the table to create a traffic pattern with one car that is always tailgating.


Sounds of the City. The display seemed too quiet so the students added the sound of the traffic using the pulse and buzzer bits. With one buzzer it was just annoying but when they added a second buzzer with a pulse going at a different rate the combined effect really sounded like traffic, still annoying but realistic.


The Hollywood Bowl Surprise - or - making one feature serves two purposes. The structure used to make the Hollywood Hills feature when turned around revealed an open white dome interior. Adding a little stage lighting made it look like our outdoor theater -- the Hollywood Bowl that is nestled in the Hollywood Hills. It was a nice touch because the Bowl is a beautiful feature of Los Angeles that is hidden in the hills -- a nice little surprise hidden in our display. A show at the bowl uses stage lighting of multiple colors, for this effect the students used the bar graph and slide dimmer. the lights could be brought up with the dimmer and made to go from a green to red. A single RGB led bit was added for accent lighting.  Several wire bits were used.

Related Projects