Yes Master!

K-9, the robotic companion to the Fourth Doctor, was my first project and I learned a lot from making him. Since the BBC had long ago released plans for K-9, I thought that this would be an easy project to do. I was SO wrong. It was much harder to do than I imagined. I found the plans that the BBC released. Sadly several dimensions were missing.

finished K9
K9 front view

10 Things I would do differently next time

  1. Use a better amplifier.
  2. Add a method of sensing people to start interaction.
  3. Use servos to control the radar (ears), gun (nose) and wagging tail.
  4. Build the whole body from lighter materials.
  5. Change the head (in the plans issued by the BBC, the dimensions for the head are incorrect).
  6. Use an ISD2560 IC for the speech or similar IC.
  7. Remote control drive.
  8. Make the electronics accessible via a panel on the side of the body.
  9. Use PCBs instead of using stripboard for the electronic circuits.
  10. Make the electronics more modular.

I did not initially make a list of features that make it recognizable as a character. But if I had it would be like this.

  • Speech
  • Glowing eyes
  • Retractable sensor
  • Retractable gun in nose
  • Printed paper strip out of mouth
  • Oscillating dish ears
  • Tilting head
  • Television screen on side of dog
  • Wagging tail
  • Computer on back
  • Side panel removable
  • Remote control drive

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