Normal people throw away stuff when it breaks. But not people like us. Or, apparently, [NanoRobotGeek]. A cheap robotic dragonfly died, and he cannibalized it for robot parts. But he kept the gearbox hoping to build a new dragonfly and, using some brass rod, he did just that.
The dragonfly’s circuitry uses a solar panel for power and a couple of flashing LEDs. This is a BEAM robot, so not a microcontroller in sight. You can see a brief video of how the dragonfly moves.
Really, though, the neat part of this is the fabrication of the wings using soldered brass rods. The head has the flashing LEDs as eyes. The secret sauce, of course, is the gearbox. If you were going to replicate this project, you’d probably have to figure out your own gearbox modifications unless you just happened to get the exact same toy.
In addition to LED eyes, the dragonfly also has a capacitor bank on its tail. This isn’t aesthetic. The wings run on a FLED-based solar engine circuit. The LEDs and the capacitors work to accumulate and discharge solar power allowing the dragonfly to flap even when there’s not enough light to directly power the motor.
It turned out that the dragonfly needed just a little more juice, so [NanoRobotGeek] hid an extra capacitor to increase the bank size.