My Lost in Space Robot - B9


My robot and I

 

Introduction....

 

One of the very first sci-fi programs I can remember watching, was Lost In Space back in the 1960's, when I was just a small boy.

It was the story of an Earth family - the Robinsons - going to Alpha-Centauri to be the first colonists on a new planet. However the evil Dr Smith tries to sabotage the mission by destroying the spaceships navigation system and re-programming the robot to kill everyone. Unfortunately for him, he gets trapped on board the spaceship and is the cause of many dangerous situations for the family. Luckily, the B9 environmental robot usually manages to outwit Dr Smith to save the day.

Read more on the Wikipedia entry for Lost in Space

 

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Danger! Danger Will Robinson

The Decision to Build...

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The robot with Dr Smith

 

Fast forward to the mid 1990's, Sky TV ran the series again on Sunday lunch-times, I re-watch the programs with my own family. The memories of watching the the Robinson family's adventure came back, along with the desire that I had as a child to own a robot like B9, something that I think everyone who has watched the show wanted.

Fast forward another ten years and I get to meet a replica B9 up close, when I take my Dalek to a meeting of the UK Robot Builders. At this point I'm already collecting parts for my R2-D2 but a small part of me thinks that maybe I could build a B9.

Forward again two more years and I finish building my R2-D2 droid so I finally join up the the B9 Robot Builders Club, download a few plans, then head to the workshop to put together my own B9 robot.

The date building started was 19th September 2009. Two years later he goes out in public for the first time on 12th September 2011.

My Robot's serial number is B9-0557

 

 

Into The Future...

 

So now I actually have my very own robot. He isn't quite finished yet but he is pretty close. Where possible he looks exactly like the robot on the TV show, the only real difference is that mine is a remote controlled prop where the one in the show had an operator (Bob May) inside bringing it to life.

I'm hoping to make him a bit more transportable, as I really want to take him out to a few conventions and show him off. At the moment he is a bit time consuming to dis-assemble, move and re-build, but I will get him out and about.


Building My Robot

With only a few exceptions I have made all of my robot from scratch myself. The head bubble was obtained from a fellow B9 builder who blows them himself from flat sheets of plastic. The rubber on the neck is an off the shelf item, as are the little light lenses on the chest (the light holders themselves I made).The glass neon on the torso was a professionally made item. The rubber arms were made by a very talented movie effects guy in Hollywood. Other than these few parts its all my own work.

For a full month-by-month account of the build process, please follow this link to the build diary

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My Robot's Public Appearances

 

Nor-Con, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Sept 12th 2011

This was B9's first ever outing in public, although he looked complete from the outside, many things were only done to get him to this show. He was basically a static prop, he was able to talk with the crowd, his lights, including the neon, flashed but I had none of the planned radio-control functions installed for this event. He still went down well though.

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Above: Setting up, B9 meets a few friends and helps remove a pesky cyberman
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Above: Costumed characters pose with our mechanical friend

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Above with a few famous friends too.
Left to Right: Chris Barrie from Red Dwarf, Norman Lovett also from Red Dwarf,
Simon Furman writer of Transformers and finally with Shane Rimmer, the voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds

 

Nor-Con, Holliday Inn, Norwich. Sept 9th 2012

 photo norcon2012_1.jpg B9 was invited to return to Nor-Con. This time he was much closer to being complete, radio control was now installed and he could move his arms, claws and body. He also had new rubber arms that were correct to the real robot, having arrived from America just a week before the show. Unfortunatly he was located in the middle of the traders stalls where it was very noisy but he was still a hit with the public  photo norcon2012_5.jpg
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Nor-Con, Holliday Inn, Norwich. Sept 8th 2013

Three years in a row B9 has been invited to this event, this time he took along his friend R2-D2 for some company. He also got to hang out with Robert Llewellyn who played the robot Kryton in Red Dwarf. The big improvement this year was the use of a bluetooth link for the voice of the robot.

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With Robert Llewellyn
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For more information on B9 building try these great sites:

The B9 Robot Builds Club

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All the plans and help to build your own B9 Robot
I'm member B9-0557

Yahoo B9 Builders Group

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Yahoo Builders Group

UK Robot Builders

UK Robot Builders

Free to join, lots of help and support building all sorts of robots