Gypsy is the most important robot on the SOL.
She runs the ship so that Joel doesn't have to (and later because Mike didn't know how.)
As an MST3K bot building project, she isn't too difficult, except that she requires electrical wiring, which can be a real pain.
She cost me about $50 dollars to build, and half of that was paint.
Her two parts cost me $1.50 ($1.00 for the seat at a garage sale, $0.50 for the flashlight at another garage sale.)
About $22 for supplies, and almost $28 for paint.
|Bot Full Name||Gypsy|
|Voiced by||Josh Weinstein|
|Role||Running upper ship functions while M/J&TB watch the movie.|
Gypsy is really fun to build, and no mstie's collection is complete without her.
|Stuff You Need |
|Head||Century (Or GM) Infant Love Seat|
|Eye||Everready 108 Floating Flashlight|
|Body||4 inch drain tubing|
|Skeleton||7 feet 1.5" PVC, 3 45 Degree connectors, 2" reducer, closet flange. |
|Operator Interface||4 feet 3/4" PVC, 4 90 degree connectors|
|Wiring Interface||D Battery Holder, Wires, Switch|
|Lip||½" PVC Pipe Insulation|
|Lip Coloring||Silver or gray fabric paint.|
|Jaw Hinge||2 feet of ½" PVC, Springs|
|Holding Stuff Together||Assorted Screws, Nuts, and Bolts.|
|Color||Pactra / Boyd / Testors Pearl Purple Paint|
1.Take the carseat and remove the 4 plastic rivets that hold the 2 sections together.
Now remove the cushion thing and the straps, also tear off the big label on the bottom.
You need to clean the seat (20 years of baby puke... yay), I soaked it overnight in Spic and Span and rubbed off the remaining, glue and such with steel wool.
2.After this is done and you have dried the seat, you will cut the bottom lip to the appropriate size.
Basically, you lop off the bottom part of the inner liner to fit it into the larger part of the seat. See the visual aid.
As is visible, I cut the piece off at about 1 inch above the visible lip portion.
I did this so that if I managed to screw up drilling the hole for the jaw, that I had some extra material to work with.
(I took this picture after I had completed Gypsy, as I forgot to take it beforehand, but it works all the same.)
3.Fit the 2 seat halves together the way they will sit when Gypsy is assembled, and bore a 5/8" hole through all 4 sections of the plastic.
It helps to have a really long drill bit, a very steady hand, and large amounts of duct tape (to hold the 2 halves into place while you drill.)
These holes have to all be in perfect alignment, as you will run an 18 3/4" length of ½" PVC through them as the hinge for Gypsy's lower jaw.
Temporarily fit the PVC pipe through the holes to make sure it all lines up, if it does, great, if not, you just wasted an 80 dollar relic.
4.With that hole drilled, it is time to paint.
Prime Gypsy first!
I used black, but honestly, I think a gray primer would look better and you would need less paint.
Coat that outside of the seat and the flashlight with the primer and let dry.
Now paint the inside portion of the seat (Top and Bottom halves) flat black.
Even though you're priming, still remember to use light coats.
Any runs that you have in the primer coat will show through to the final coat!
6.While the paint is drying, you can create Gypsy's skeleton.
Essentially every website on the entire internet, usenet, mirc, and old gopher nodes give different measurements on how long to make the PVC sections.
This site is no exception!
In viewing episodes, and many backstage photos, I have come up with dimensions I feel most accurately reflect BBI's Gypsy.
My primary source picture is this, and as you can see, Jim has his arm rested on Gypsy, which would have one to assume Gypsy is less than 6 feet tall.
With that in mind, I began cutting.
The top 2 pieces are both 6 inches long and connection with a 45 degree PVC connector.
The top piece connects to a 2" reducer that fits into the closet flange.
Just a note to anyone who is not sure what a closet flange is:
It is an overpriced hunk of PVC that you fit the bottom of your toilet into, and will be on the same isle as the rest of the PVC at Home Depot.
5.When everything is dry, start lightly coating the outside of the pieces in Pactra Pearl Purple.
And by lightly coating, I mean, lightly coating.
Testors paint is specifically engineered to be runny, so the lighter the coats, the better.
The paint is absolutely noxious, so do it in a well ventilated place.
I went through 6 cans of paint, but that was due in part to the black primer.
The long PVC piece is cut to 2 feet long and attached to the other 2 pieces with a 45 degree connector.
One more PVC piece is cut for support and connected to another 45 degree connector off the long piece.
It is the base, and can be any length you like. Mine was 13 inches long.
Fitted together, the pieces should form an "S" shape.
The piece at the top connects to the 2 inch reducer that fits into the closet flange.
I painted the closet flange flat black as most of it remains visible when everything is fitted together.
I also painted my drain tubing flat black, as it had a yellow line and some text on most of it. A light dusting will do, and the paint will not be even the least bit obvious and will still cover nicely.
Most people use PVC cement to hold the PVC in place (it will twist and contort at the joints if you do not secure it somehow.)
I had some leftover cement from a household sprinkler system project, but if I did not, PVC cement is way overpriced and not worth it.
A much cheaper solution is to drive a screw through the connectors into the PVC itself.
Also, my drain tubing is not secured at all on Gypsy, I cut it to the exact length needed to stretch from the closet flange down to the handlebars and just ran it over top of the PVC.
7.At this point, while paint is still drying, and in between coats, you can also create the "Handlebars" used to hold Gypsy.
These will differ from bot to bot, depending on your own person preference, but I created them from 1" PVC cut in a rectangle shape and attached with 90 degree PVC connectors.
The lengths of the pieces I used are 6" and 13."
I mounted the handlebars 2" above the bottom 45 connector for the PVC skeleton.
I mount them here to help cut down some on the unwieldiness of Gypsy.
To mount them, tape the handle bars in place and drill one of the holes. Put a bolt all the way through (This will require at least a 5 inch bolt.) and lock nut it into place.
Now drill the other hole and mount it in the same fashion.
8.Now that everything is dry, you need to attach the flashlight to the car seat. This is fairly easy.
Temporarily tape the light to the location on Gypsy where you would prefer it sits.
Now, drill holes from the inside of Gypsy through the seat and flashlight.
Put some screws in the holes, and your done. (That part anyway.)
9.At this point you can attach the lower and upper jaw pieces.
To attach the springs to the lower jaw, drill 2 small holes evenly spaced from the center of the back side of the seat about ½" from the edge.
Through these holes the springs will be attached.
Line up lower and upper jaw pieces and slide the 18 3/4" piece of PVC through the holes. Attach the springs, and Gypsy's jaw will hold in place just as it should.
10.To mount the PVC skeleton, to Gypsy, you have to attach the closet flange to the back part of the (relative) front of the carseat.
Center the flange on the front of the carseat, and mark 4 holes to be drilled.
Drill the holes, and mount the flange on Gypsy with 4 bolts and lock nuts. (Use lock nuts, you wouldn't want Gypsy to fall on you while you're operating her, now would you?
I attached the springs that will hold the lower jaw into place when Gypsy is fully operational to the same bolts that hold the flange on.
As the illustration shows, I simply pushed the end of the spring through the bolt and attached the nut on top of everything. (The nuts were not in place in the photograph.)
I was forced to use 2 springs, the springs I used simply were not strong enough to do the job with one spring.
It can however, be done with one with strong enough spring, but what that means is you have to drill an extra hole that is centered on Gypsy so the jaw opens evenly.
12.We've got one more really important step now, wiring.
The wiring is the least fun, and most annoying part of Gypsy.
I simplified mine by putting the switch, and battery pack on the roof of Gypsy's mouth, rather than running the switch all the way down the PVC to the handles.
Run the wiring from the light through the flashlight, down through another hole and connect the switch and battery pack together.
Mine is soldered, if that scares you, use wirenuts, they work just as well.
If you can find it, a fully enclosed battery pack works best in this situation, as it will hold the batteries in place while you are operating Gypsy.
I could not find one, and as a result, the batteries on my Gypsy are held in with lots of tape.
13.There are just a few other finishing touches and Gypsy will be finished.
Take your flexible foam insulation and put it on Gypsy, mark off how much you need and cut an inch more than you think you need.
(I don't understand how it works, but everything I cut needs to be an inch bigger than it should be... anyway, easier to take off than to try and add back on.)
If you were lucky enough to find the right shade of gray, take off the protective tape and attach it to Gypsy, if not, purchase some silver or gray fabric paint.
I bought mine at A.C. Moore. It will probably take about half-a-dozen coats in order completely coat the black foam.
Watch where you're painting, the paint will not adhear very well to the foam while drying.
If you are painting on newspaper and the lip gets stuck on it while drying, more than likely, the paint will peel off.
To avoid this, take a length of ½" or 3/4" PVC and wrap the insulation around it.
Mount it in a vice, or anywhere that the lip can be suspended while it dries.
This will save you the immense hassle that I faced of repainting small sections of the lip because paint peeled off.
14.Gypsy's eye is another small issue.
It is somewhat of a mystery as to how BBI exactly made Gypsy's eye yellow.
Over the years, I've seen people try a whole host of different methods to pull off the coloring the BBI did.
Of course, you could make a season one Gypsy and not use a light at all, but anyway.
My method to color Gypsy's eye to the right shade of yellow was to take a piece of yellow tissue paper, cut it to the appropriate size, and place it on the inside of the flashlight lens.
It looks excellent when the light is on.
15.If you haven't already done so, now is the time to attach Gypsy's mouth articulation control mechanism (A large piece of fishing wire.)
Drill a small hole towards the front of the lower jaw piece. Run a piece of fishing line through the hole and secure it on the inside of Gypsy's mouth (I tied a small washer around it.)
At the other end of the line we will use the patented BBI method, taping the end of the string to a hunk of PVC!
It worked for them for 10 years, and can work for you too.
Cut a piece of ½" PVC situated to a comfortable size for holding, and tape the fishing line to it.
16.At this point, your Gypsy is complete!
Practice your best falsetto voice and enjoy!
Assorted Gypsy Pics!
Gypsy's excited about getting a ram chip for a good thing and a bad thing about the movie.
Gypsy pondering the nature of the universe.
Gypsy preparing change the plutonium rods in the nuclear bowels deep inside the nuclear reactor of the ship, or something like that.
Gypsy and Tom posing for the camera.
Gypsy attempting to teach Tom fractions.
Gypsy enjoying a quiet moment with some vacuflowers.
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Gypsy Revisited Content Added 1/1/2005. All content ©2005 Toolmaster Jeff Zehnder.
Tiny changes - 12/13/2008.
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