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Make an Automated Butt Kicker

I recently won the Halloween Contest over at the Instructables website for my Brain of Morbius movie prop.  The awesome team over at Fright Props mailed me a prize that included a pneumatic piston, a pneumatic relay, a Pico Boo micro controller, and some other neat stuff.  At first I had no idea what I was going to do with it… but the more I played with it, idea after idea came to mind.  I have so many awesome ideas for this thing that my head might explode.  So I needed a simple project to make use of it, and learn about all of the components.

About that time my youngest son had done something irritating and my response was “You need a swift kick in the butt.”  And that’s when it hit me.  I needed to make an Automatic Butt Kicker, so that he could kick himself in the butt when he got in trouble.  Every teenager needs a robotic butt kicker in the garage to kick their butt on demand!  (Notice: This is all a joke for those who might be thinking of calling CPS… )

Building the Automated Butt Kicker

Automatic Butt Kicker 0018Originally I was going to call the Butt Kicker “Little Ass Kicker”.  But I thought that might get me lost in a millions searches for Little Ass Kicker from The Walking Dead.  So I decided to stick with “Butt Kicker”.  Besides, its somewhat more kid friendly (if that were even possible).

Of course, to make a butt kicker you really need some type of sturdy shoe or boot to be used as the kicking apparatus (the device that gets firmly planted on your butt cheeks).  I had some old cowboy boots that I don’t ever plan to wear again, so I took one of them and used that for my butt kicker.  Now I really think that a steel toes construction work boot would be even better.  I just didn’t want to spend the money to buy a pair.

The Butt Kicker Components

Automatic Butt Kicker 0001The butt kicker needs a few basic components to operate.  You’ll need wood for the frame and boot form.  You’ll need a pneumatic piston to do the actuation.  A pneumatic relay to control the piston, and some time of micro controller.  You could use an Arduino if you wanted to really geek out.  I used the Pico Boo from Fright Props.  It’s much simpler to program and is chocked full of features specifically designed for special effects work.

The Pico Boo also allows you to automated sound effects and music to go along with your special effects, but I didn’t use that feature on this project.

The Butt Kicker Frame

The butt kicker of course needs a frame to mount it on.  I used some left over basswood I had from a previous project.  The frame is very similar to something you’d see in Hangman.  The swing arm needs to fit tightly into the boot.  You can do that by making a rudimentry boot form.  I just rounded the edges over on my sander and made sure it was a really right fit.

Attaching the Air Piston

The swing arm needs to pivot.  You could use a hinge to do this.  I just used a bolt and drilled a hold in the center of the frame and swing arm.  The pneumatic piston on the butt kicker is operated by up to 225 PSI.  You need to make sure it attached securely so that it doesn’t come loose and break something or hurt some one.  Use some large screws or bolt to hold it in place.

The Pneumatic Piston Hookup

The pneumatic piston has two ports on it.  Apply air to one and it opens.  Apply air to the other and it closes. The pneumatic relay has three air ports on it.  Two control the piston (open/close) and one is the input from the air compressor.  In order to provide some more refined control over the setup, I installed a small “mini” pressure regulator in front of the relay to allow me to raise and lower the pressure of the entire system.  This allows a little more control over how fast everything moves and how much power it has (i.e. how hard it kicks).

The Butt Kicker needs a Controller

The butt kicker needs a controller to make it work.  As mentioned earlier, I used the Pico Boo.  It’s just a few simple wires.  To execute the program I used a switch from an arcade cabinet that says “Kick Me!”  It’s a low voltage switch that simply connects to the trigger input on the Pico Boo.  Pressing the switch activates the program.  The only thing left to do is connect an air compressor to the system and get your butt kicked!

The Finished Butt Kicker

The finished Automated Butt Kicker is a joy to behold and honestly, quite the pain in the ass.  So press the button and start getting your ass kicked!

Automatic Butt Kicker 0018

The List of Parts to Make the Butt Kicker

Video Transcript

“Connor!  Did you forget to clean your room again?”  “Yes.” “Well you know what to do!”  Sigh!

OK.  Well to make our automated kicking machine we’re going to need just a few things. This first thing of course is a boot, and I have this old cowboy boot that I don’t ever plan to wear again and so we’re going to use that, although I think a steel toed boot might be even better.  Uhm.  We’ll need a couple of pieces of wood and these will go together like this and go inside the boot and then we’ll, uhm, hinge this on a fulcrum and this will do the kicking action.  In order to automate that kicking action I got this pneumatic tube that the guys over at Fright Props sent me for winning a contest at Instructables.  And this thing is programable and it can do all kinds of things.  You can program it do do different motions, etc.  So, I think is going to be really cool for some other projects as well, but lets go ahead and get started!

So we’re going to build our support structure out and that is going to look something like this; a little bit like hang-man.  And we’ll have a support beam that goes here to keep it steady.

OK.  So we want the butt kicker to actuate at this particular point, like so and in order to do that I am just going to drill a hole through both boards and them I’m going to use this bolt with a couple of nuts at the end to keep it from backing off.

OK.  So as I mentioned earlier the automated butt kicker is powered by a pneumatic piston and that pneumatic piston has two air inlets.  One drives the piston forward and one drives the piston backward, and that is controlled by this pneumatic relay which reverses the air flow.  It has one input and two outputs and then supplying power reverses the polarity.

And these are similar to Pex fittings.  There is no glue or other kind of leak resistant tape or anything required.

OK.  So in order to control the air supply I am going to install this little mini pressure regulator.  That will connect to the air compressor and then this will connect to our pneumatic relay.

OK.  So the next step is to install this little thing called a Pico-Boo and it is a micro-controller for controlling Halloween props.  It allows you to control all kinds of patterns and things.  So if you imagine a Halloween prop that just would shake, for example. This would allow you do that.  It also control sounds.  It allows you to use motion sensors. There’s a laser where if you break the line things will happen and of course we’re just going to use a push button switch to activate it.  And in future videos I’ll show you how to do some really cool things with this.  I’ve got a bunch of ideas already.  So we’re just going to wire this.  It just wires into two relays and we’re done.

OK.  And of course no automated butt kicker would be complete without a handle and a kick me button!  This is just a momentary switch that is wired to the switch contacts on the Pico Boo.  When you press this, it simply activates the program.

So it’s time to just put it to the test.  I created a little program.  It’s hooked up to the air and all we have to do is press the kick me button!  I wouldn’t want to get kicked by that!

“Mike!  Did you leave your clothes on the bedroom floor again?”


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