Jan 7, 2009

Drawing robots

This was a neat project because me and the man with which I am affiliated got to build it together on the weekend when the party animal children we have created finally decided it was nap time.
I'm sorry to say that we split the tasks in a very stereotypical way, in that he got the soldering iron and I got the glue gun, but it was still a lot of giggles to do.

Here is some video footage of the robotic dance of art that took place on our kitchen floor...

We used some old containers and dollar store pens to make the structure and then added a weighted motor (one from an old Nintendo rumble pack we found at Savers for $3, and the others from dollar store handifans with glue weighting one of the propellors on each motor), powered with some AAA batteries in cases repurposed from various defunct electronics and switches superglued onto the top of the motors. The flashing lights came out of some old broken toys that my mate was getting rid of.

Here is the small tripod robot...

and here is the larger double motor, 5 pen robot...

The kids thought these little robots were really funny. The older ones (4 year olds) grasped that the motor was making it vibrate and that's what was causing the drawing, but the younger ones (2 year olds) really thought the little bots were alive and were talking to them and trying to coax them in one direction or another.
Very cute and we covered a load of butcher's block paper with their artwok. Enough to keep us in wrapping paper for a while.

I realised after we built it that the little robot had the pens glued on all wrong, because once they run out we'll have to trash it and build another, so with the bigger bot I glued the pen lids onto the container, rather than the pens themselves, so that way the kids can swap out the colours that it draws with. Cunning huh!
I'm trying to encourage the husband to start up his own blog featuring the electronics projects he does for the kids. Feel free to harrass him too via the comments section of this post ;)


  1. I've said it before...I want to be your kid. :) These are awesome!

  2. Consider the man with whom you are affiliated summarily harassed to start his own bloggity thing!

    I want to be Balou's brother! We don't eat much, and we know how to have lots of fun, mmm'kay?? Please???

  3. Very cool! I can't wait to see the your next electronic adventure. A bigger robot perhaps?

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  5. harass harass harass, this time with spell check LMAO

  6. I am super late to this, but I just have to say, this is an awesome project!

  7. Words cannot explain how cool this is!

    How easy is it to find a motor like that in Canada/US?

  8. We randomly found the rumble pack that contained the weighted motor we used in the first bot at a thrift store. We scavenge a lot of electronics for our projects from thrift store things. You'll find similar motors in those little hand held massager units too. the motors that make pagers and disposable electric toothbrushes vibrate are similar but much smaller, so although they won't vibrate enough to move a big drawing bot, they can be used to make bristle bots. You can weight motors yourself though, like the regular handifan motors we used from the dollar store handifans and then weighted with a blob of glue on one of the fan blades. We did need two of them to move the bigger bot though. I'd love to see pictures/video if you do make a bot too :D I'm still working on the husband to start his blog.

  9. Please encourage the man with whom you are affliated to blog his electronic creations!! I run a preschool and we have a 2 1/2 year old who is fascinated by gears, switches, lights and batteries.



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