MAKE things move with simple motorized circuits

Using inexpensive materials, you can MAKE things move by creating a simple motorized circuit. When you attach the motorized circuit to a base (a toothbrush head, plastic cup, etc.) you can make an analog ArtBot that is capable of creating a variety of randomized art. With endless possibilities, what will you design your ArtBot to do?

EDUCATIONAL EXTENSIONS
With all the digital technology around us, why would we want to make analog robots? Using inexpensive materials these little bots are a great introduction to circuits and allow for great engineering explorations involving simple design changes to experiment with cause and effect. There are even science competitions for these little bots: BrushBot Olympics, BristleBot Educational Robotics Competition, and many more. Even if you can’t physically compete in one of these competitions, try out some of their ideas and start your own competition with friends in your neighborhood or at your school.

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DIY BRUSHBOTS

GATHER MATERIALS:

  • toothbrush head (flat head works best)
  • scissors or pliers (have an adult help)
  • vibrating motor (tiny pager motor)
  • 3v battery (CR2032 coin size)
  • twist tie or rubberband
  • craft materials (pipe cleaners, foam strips, paper, etc.)

MAKE IT:

  1. Cut the toothbrush head with scissors or pliers.
  2. Attach the motor to the battery (align + and – sides).
  3. Attach motor/battery combo to brush with twist tie.
  4. Decorate the BrushBot.

ACTIVITIES WITH BRUSHBOTS:
Watch the Brushbots race.
Dip them in paint and watch BrushBots create art.
Tie a leash on them and take them for a walk.
Imagine where they would “live” and create them a habitat.

EXPERIMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
What happens if you add “legs?”
How can you control the path of the BrushBot?
Can you create an on/off switch to save the battery?
What happens when you use a different type of brush?

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DRAWINGBOTS

Using the same simple motorized circuit, you can make an ArtBot that can draw.

GATHER MATERIALS:

  • plastic base (cups and/or plastic containers)
  • scissors
  • vibrating motor (tiny pager motor)
  • 3v battery (CR2032 coin size)
  • drawing tools: pens, pencils, and/or markers
  • rubberband
  • tape
  • craft materials (pipe cleaners, foam strips, paper, etc.)

 MAKE IT:

  1. Attach the motor to the battery (align + and – sides).
  2. Attach motor/battery combo to plastic base with rubberband.
  3. Attach drawing tools to make the base “stand up” on its own.
  4. Decorate the DrawingBot.

ACTIVITIES WITH DRAWINGBOTS:
Watch the Drawingbots race inside a box.
Watch DrawingBots create art together.

EXPERIMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
What happens when you use a different type of base?
What other recyclable materials could you use for the base?
Can you create an on/off switch to save the battery?
What happens when you move the placement of the motor/battery?
How does the placement of the drawing tools impact its drawing?
How can you adjust the DrawingBot to draw circles? dots? straight lines? curves? dashes?

Share a photo of what your ArtBot can do!