This guide will show you how to make a bristlebot which is a simple robot created from a toothbrush and a vibrating motor. This makerspace project is great for K-6 students and older because of its simplicity and fun.
Use your creativity to customize your bristlebot and then race it against your friends.
This project can be completed in about 10-15 minutes.
Once your bristlebot is complete, you can use it to make “robot art”. Fun way to add the ARTS to STEAM.
— Galileo (@galileolearning) October 10, 2017
The following are the parts and materials you will need in order to complete this project.
- (1) Vibrating Motor – 6mm
- (1) LR44 Button Cell Battery
- (1) Toothbrush
- (2) Craft Eyes
- (2) Pipe Cleaners
- Double Sided Tape
Prep The Toothbrush
The first step is to cut the handle off the toothbrush leaving only the head as shown below. Next, you will need to cut a piece of double-sided tape and apply it to the opposite side of the bristles.
Attach The Motor
Once the double-sided tape has been applied, you can mount the vibration motor on top of it. Place one of the motor wires on the tape and keep the other motor wire in the air. Make sure not to push the wire deep into the double-sided tape. The reason for this is because you need the exposed wire to contact the battery and it won’t be able to if pushed deep into the tape.
Mount The Battery
Mount the button cell battery on the double-sided tape with the negative side facing down. Make sure it contacts with the motor wire that is on the tape already.
Add Feet To The Bot
Once the motor and battery have been mounted, you can now add the pipe cleaner legs. These legs are not just for decoration as they help stabilize the robot.
Bend the pipe cleaner legs down and around the toothbrush head.
Add Eyes To The Bot
This part is optional and not needed for the bristlebot to function properly. Add eyes and any other robot decorations you want. This is a great way to show school spirit by adding school colors to your robot.
Your Bristlebot is Complete !
Now is the time to fire up your bristlebot and see if it works. Bend the motor wire and push it between the button battery and the pipe cleaner. At this point, the robot should come alive and start moving around.
Try experimenting with different variations of construction including using bigger motors and bigger brushes.
STEAM Art Project
Once your bristlebot is complete, you can use it to make custom robot paintings. Since the bristlebot roams everywhere, it’s a good idea to do your painting inside a box or protected area. Dip the bristles into craft paint and let the mini-bot run wild to create priceless paintings. This is a great way to combine technology with the arts – STEAM.
Have fun and keep making !