Bot Building - Servo

Third of three for this round of Bot Build part posts. Again, these are not How To or Build Diary posts. I wanted to take a bit more time to get a couple of images of bits that I own but are not with me at home, but also wanting to get this up as in advance of next week’s Live Event as possible.

So without further ado, the worldly and lordly Tom Servo. As with GPC and Crow, parts presented to inform hopeful builders of what it take to acquire them and to reproduce our hero. Also as with Crow and GPC, some are proving impossible to find originals for and even castings and vacu-formed bits are becoming harder to source.

At some point, it might hit ‘casting of a casting’ (etc) for folks who wish to acquire any viable piece that matches the on-screen puppets. As with Crow, it is a mix of indifference as well as the choice to just use what was available ten or fifteen or even thirty years ago and not foresee a time of new fans and builders. Short-sighted and selfish in some realms, but also a surprise to many, even if a great one. Additionally, as calls went out for fans to help source parts for the show and other revival and needs, the parts then donated, original or reproduction, are then of course permanently out of circulation. So it isn’t only replica needs, but also the productions themselves have had to restore, re-create, re-fabricate, and for some re-design our friends.

In fifteen plus years, closer to twenty as that was how long ago I relocated to WI and met a few more folks at Cons in MN, I haven’t come across an engine block or the doll arms or an undamaged bowl. Prior to that it was best to ‘get in the ballpark’ or produce ‘near enough’ guesses, while occasionally coming across someone who had a bit more info or leads. In the mid to late '90s, a lot was hard to suss out.

First up… what makes our Servo, Servo:

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Next, his torso and arms:

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And his hoverskirt/bowl detailing:

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Servo color:

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Hardware and other needs:

Servo’s mouth mechanism is considerably easier to visualize and build. Because of the nature of the snack dispenser, the spring and internals are fairly solid, and only need a control mechanism incorporated depending on how you want to approach him (old-school TV approach or new-fangled stage puppet).

Some have built replicas with the arm/spring/bladders intact, and others have used only the shoulders and springs, but removed the air control.

Servo has also had a number of looks over the seasons, and some of that may be touched on later, but keeping this first group of posts to the most common look and not split attention.

Servo’s head now is best attached to the torso via a small scale ‘lazy susan’ turntable/bearing system. For additional hardware, you’ll also need a variety of PVC pipe and connectors as well as your typical line-up of adhesives, finishing supplies, safety equipment, and cutting tools. Again, TV vs stage versions are operated differently and are different in their ‘internals’. For TV versions, you’ll want similar pieces to Crow.

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I have a tragic story and need help. I got a servo kit as a present a few years ago now and while attempting to remove the dome with heat and pressure (as described in instructions and a separate YT video) it cracked.

I’m not sure where to go from here as everything assumes nice clean edges.

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You could file the blue thing down and just have a slightly short servo. Or try the baking soda and super glue trick. I would try getting that blue sliver to fit back where it was first since that’d be a lot of baking soda and super glue.

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Depending on the Servo that you’re building and it looks as if he’s likely to be the later with red metal flake (your dispenser being blue, just a guess), you’re going to have a second lid under the globe. If you hold one or temp set one in place and re-assess the damage, you might find that what it takes to cleanly build those gaps up isn’t the worst thing.

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Im so sorry that happened! All the directions I’ve ever seen encourage you to cut the globe off those older style dispensers.

Not all is lost! As a bot builder myself here is what I would do in your situation.

1: keep your globe and globe cap. The globe with the horizontal seam is easily the most valuable and rare part of your broken dispenser.

2: buy ‘sports snack dispenser’ like this one. They are very common used on a certain online auction site.

3: remove the sports ball globe of your new dispenser. Now you have a new “mouth” for your Tom servo and you don’t need to bother trying to fix your broken one.

Bonus: I would recommend before you proceed any further with your build to join the ‘MST3K bot builders Facebook group’ and do more research. Now that the bot builders forum is gone this is the next best bot building community.

The Tom Servo kit you have is no longer being made and parts are getting more and more scarce so definitely take your time!

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The number of discontinued and hard to find parts for building a Servo inspired me to 3D print my own Servo. I wasn’t happy with what I could find on sites like Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory, so I modeled my own. It certainly isn’t perfect, but I did as well as I could with my skills.

It is only about 3/4 of full scale (17"/43cm), but that’s good enough for me. The scale was mostly determined by the size of the acrylic sphere I was able to obtain for a reasonable price. It’s a 4" Christmas ornament that I bought on closeout at a craft and hobby store.

The only parts that aren’t 3D printed are the acrylic sphere, the foam tubing at the bottom of the hover skirt, the PVC pipe for puppeting the head, a spring to allow his beak to open and close, and a length of fishing line for opening his beak.

I kept all of the parts in the colors I printed them in, except for the silver parts. Silver filaments just aren’t that good, so I painted the silver parts after printing.

The only 3D printed parts I didn’t model myself were the hands. I’m just not good at modeling organic shapes, so I cribbed some hands from another Servo model.

I plan to make the files available when I’ve finished some refinements. The nice thing about 3D printing is you can scale the models to print whatever size you want!

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Looks great ! Some of the parts are getting tough to get ahold of now days, so I’m seeing more 3d printed pieces .

I’d like to see someone tackle some Crow parts (shoulders, new larger hands)

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I noticed two parts weren’t depicted - Tom’s hands come from an as-of-yet unidentified baby doll, that appears to be a knockoff of a different doll from the time. The only known example of the doll is in the possession of RobotBob, who makes the kits we see on Etsy. They could still be out there but unfortunately nobody has been able to come across one as of yet.


The bowl used for Tom’s base is colloquially called a “Boo Bowl” due to the text on the original example, and can still be found if you look hard enough. They’re easy to spot, as they come in many different colors for different holidays but usually share the same font for the text. I was lucky enough to find one myself on Mercari for around $10. So they’re still out there, but just becoming harder and harder to find.
image

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Because I only posted photos of my own parts, the others were just in the pic of the bot.
Also for folks, there are about 4-5 varieties maybe more of what is the base of the hoverskrt bowl, some plain etc., and yeah, most hard to find.

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Oh, you have the toy car? That’s awesome! I’ve been trying to find a way to get one molded, but I’m concerned that removing the engine from the rest of the body will damage the car. Cool collection you have!

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Sadly only my casting of the block- when i was doing studio scale replicas i had got one, while i was living in Wisconsin. I have no idea why i made the casting. I didn’t have many parts then and i think it was just around the time of meeting some MN fans through cons. About two three months later i went to my apt storage to find the drywall bet two storage spaces torn out… in my ignorance i thought, well cheap plastic toy, will probably find before long. This was… 2003? The mold was kept with a number of others and went the way of ~18 yo molds one day with some sculpts etc last ‘spring cleaning’. Matter of fact it was a jumble of molds from one project and it. Sigh.

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See, that sounds amazing to me. As a fan with limited space, what I really need is mini-Servo who would move some… at least the arms, I’d hope… but would be small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. <3

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I don’t think it’s movable (but maybe you could work out a mod that could make that happen), but have you seen this mini Servo kit from The Prop Basement? Tom Servo 7" Action Figure Model Kit — The Prop Basement

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D’awwww… :heart_eyes_cat:

Now all I need is a danged workshop!

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My bedroom is also my library and craftroom/workshop… thankfully I have access to a balcony to use for things like cutting, sanding, and painting the pieces.

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Trying to draw up the plans for garage benches/hobby benches this week, for pretty much getting back to prop/model/etc building. A lot to learn around that, and building the benches isn’t the work, which drives me nuts (having to do a major thing before you can be ready to do the major thing)

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