Calne teacher creating his private robotic army
8:00am Friday 6th June 2014 in By Jill Crooks, Devizes area senior reporter
Teacher Mark Enright says people call him “nutty”, but marvel at the robots he makes.
Mr Enright, 48, spends his days as an ICT teacher at the John Bentley School in Calne, but his spare time making robots based on Star Wars, Doctor Who and other sci-fi themes.
His fully functioning works of art have been on display at the South West Model and Hobby Show at the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet.
He is a member of Charity Sci-Fi, a group which displays robots made by its members at shows to raise money for good causes.
His first model, made when he was six, was Doctor Who’s K9, created from Lego, Plasticine, cardboard and tape.
After completing a degree in fine arts, he became interested in film and TV and worked as a model maker at Shepperton Studios for just over a year.
His main work was for the Benny Hill Show, forming giant rocks out of polystyrene that then fell on the star’s head.
He soon changed career and became a teacher, but started making life-size robots about ten years ago.
Each normally takes a year to complete and all are both electronic and interactive.
Mr Enright, who lives in Devizes, said the most time-consuming bits were the design of the robot and sourcing the parts required.
His biggest robot, which he took to the Corsham Sci-Fi Fair this year, is a full-sized Stargate from the US television series. It is a four metre circle.
His latest creation is Izzy, which has a Victorian look and is partially steam powered, producing smoke and glowing lights.
The dome is made from a metal light shade from B&Q, the arms are violin necks and there are also bits of vacuum cleaner involved.
Mr Enright, who runs a Doctor Who club at the school, prefers to put his own twist on his designs, so his robots are unique.
He said: “People think I’m nutty, building what I do. People love my robots and the first thing they ask is, ‘Where do you start?’ “The part that I really enjoy is sculpting. If I can’t build something, I learn how to do it, or if I can’t I talk to somebody who can.
“I love the artistic side of it. There have been lots of offers for my robots, but they are not for sale. I enjoy taking them to shows that raise money for charity.”
Mr Enright, married with two teenage sons, is now working on a project for David Prowse, to rebuild the Droid he used when he played the Green Cross Code Man. He is also considering a steam-powered Dalek.
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