It’s a throwaway joke, but — thanks to 3D printing and YouTube tech blogger ESDEV, aka Andre Bella — it now has a life outside of animation.
As a fan of Rick and Morty, Bella decided to create a replica of the two-armed robot, using a painted I Spy Tank for the bottom part and a 3D-printed shell for its upper half.
“It’s pretty simple, really,” he told Digital Trends. “I had one of the I Spy RC toys. I removed its cover, 3D printed a new shell for it, and then modified the electronics.”
Bella noted that while he sometimes creates 3D-printed objects for himself, he does not always post them online. On this occasion, he did, and he is pleased because the depressing robot has proven to be a hit with Rick and Morty fans — more than 1 million have already checked it out.
As for what’s next, Bella said he plans to give everyone with access to a 3D printer the opportunity to build a butter-passing bot of their own. “The next step is going to be to post the files and a video tutorial showing how to do it,” he said.
So why did the joke strike such a chord with him? “It’s a funny joke, but it’s also kind of philosophical,” he said. “It’s like life. You go for a job and, on your first day, your boss asks you to pass him some papers. You do, but you want to know what your purpose is — and really it’s just passing someone else papers.”
As Rick says to the despairing robot in the episode, “Welcome to the club, pal.”