Whilst there’s quite a few resources available online to help out with any planned circuit-bending of a regular furby, I’ve been unsuccessful in my searches for information relating to circuit-bending their larger relative, the Funky Furby.
This is probably one of the reasons why the purple and green critter I picked up at a carboot sale over the summer has been sat on my hack-shelf for so long, without even so much as having had fresh batteries put in it.
It is also the reason why I’m going to document as much of the process here as I can, starting with today’s instalment: de-skinning.
The first task is to remove the feet. This is likely to be the biggest hurdle due to the need for a triangular-shaped screwdriver. If you’ve got that (and a normal, small-sized cross-head screwdriver), then the rest is really quite straightforward.
After removing the two screws in the base of each foot, you can lift off the fleshy toe bit to reveal a second, black mount. This is where the feet connect to the main body, so you’ll need to remove these too. Once you have removed these (the screws are quite long) put all the foot parts and screws to one side – you’ll need these again later.
Removing the black mounts reveals a panel of plain material (rather than fur) with a small hole in it. If you poke around through this hole, back in the direction towards the battery compartment, you should be able to hook a finger (or maybe a screwdriver) under the black plastic strip that is sewn onto the white cloth along the corner edge where the battery compartment sticks up. Pull hard to undo the clip and free the fabric.
Some of the tabs on my furby came out ok, but one or two snapped. Your mileage may vary…
After that, it’s a case of gradually peeling the fur up over the top of the furby.
It’s easiest to work up over the back and bring the pelt over the front of the face. There are a few more of those tab things, and a few other places where you need to unhook bits and pieces, but you don’t need to snip any of the stitching or anything around the face plate – the aim is just to clear the fur layer from the back half of the shell and any of the articulated bits coming out from the inside of the shell.
Once you have done this, you can unscrew the two halves of the shell and the fur, still attached by the face plate to the front half, can just stay how it is. The microphone is attached to the front half of the shell – unscrew this so you can remove the furby innards completely.
From here you can reattach the feet to give the little critter some stability and then you can do whatever you’re going to do with the electronics…
As I said, I haven’t found any references for bend points, so there’s a high chance the furby won’t make it through the next stage where I noodle around on the circuitboard looking for glitches. I made sure to get some video of him doing his stuff before I went any further:
…after which I did actually Read The Manual and found out that you have to play music at it for it to dance!
I need to rig up some sort of jig or stand to hold the furby off the ground for the next stage – triggering sounds also means triggering movement and that makes it really difficult to work on the circuitboard to try and find the bends.
Hopefully the furby will survive long enough to have something to put in the next of what is planned to be a series of posts documenting the circuitbending process…