Tom Servo from MST3K

My sister had a Christmas request, she wanted Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Similar projects worth following
Tom Servo is the wisecracking gumball machine based robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000. He's my sister's second favorite robot from the show. Crow is her favorite and will be the subject of an other project build.

Tom is fairly simple to build so I wanted to up the stakes by installing a sound system to play soundbites from the show. I decided a simple Sparkfun MP3trigger and button board was the most efficient way to handle that in the timeframe I had. Eventually I want to upgrade so he can work in tandem with Crow and say a lot more phrases.

Tom's sound system is a Sparkfun MP3Trigger and a Sure 2x2 AMP. Both of these components have a small enough footprint to store inside the Money Lover's Barrel that makes up his torso.

  • 1 × MST3KBots Tom Servo kit This kit includes everything you'd need to build the puppet version of Tom Servo.
  • 1 × Sparkfun MP3 Trigger I currently am only using the button triggers even though this board can be controlled via other means.
  • 1 × Sure 2x2 AMP This amp has a nice boost for such a small footprint.

  • Adventures with Tom (and Crow)

    Kenneth Zaborny05/12/2017 at 17:25 0 comments

    Having Tom and Crow together at a convention got a lot of attention. So much attention that we were invited to the WSRE studios twice for their MST3K events. Here's a shot of my sister and me with the bots at the first event.

    The second event was more special since it included Doctor Forrester and TV's Frank as guests.

    I was able to spend about 15 minutes before the event started talking to Trace about the show and how they did the puppeting. It was a great night. My friend Mark helped me bot wrangle since my sister had her student's graduation to attend. She still made it in time to see the show and have Crow autographed.

  • Electronics

    Kenneth Zaborny02/28/2016 at 17:09 0 comments

    Tom is a small puppet so I required components that had a small footprint. Thankfully the Sparkfun trigger and Sure 2x2 amp fit inside the torso.

    The button panel was created long before I had a 3d printer. I will be rebuilding this with my printer and I will most likely use smaller buttons so I can add more of them.

    In a convention setting Tom is very hard to hear. I may rework how his speakers are set up. I am most likely going to buy a second bowl so I can keep the signatures that my sister got from Frank and Trace safe from damage.

  • Building the body

    Kenneth Zaborny02/28/2016 at 17:04 0 comments

    I started with a kit from the Etsy shop MST3Kbots. It was worth the money and included everything I needed to make a Tom Servo puppet. The components are either rotocast in resin or vacu-formed plastic. I highly recommend this kit if you want to make your own Tom. You can source the parts but you will be paying a high price for very old and brittle plastic. Also, that engine is still an unknown factor in Tom Servo builds. If you want to build something to carry around at conventions then I would recommend replica parts.

    I pre-assembled everything prior to painting. Thanks to some well placed markers it was easy to know where to drill for the arms and engine.

    The hardest part of painting Tom was getting used to the spray can. I've been painting with an automotive gun so long that I forgot how easily spray can paints can run. There was a lot of touching up.

View all 3 project logs

Enjoy this project?




[this comment has been deleted]

Kenneth Zaborny wrote 03/02/2016 at 16:25 point

Good luck! He's a very rewarding build even if you don't do the electronics. This Tom sings an upbeat version of the funeral march. I don't think I want to see 6+ of them singing that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

ajlitt wrote 03/04/2016 at 17:12 point

How about the United Servo Academy Men's Chorus Hymn?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Kenneth Zaborny wrote 03/04/2016 at 06:38 point

That video is...terrifying. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates