Bristlebots are a wonderfully fun, and easy build-a-simple-robot project!
Make your own bristlebot! We recently read If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen, and my daughter was very eager to build robots to help clean, drive the car and wash the dishes.
That sounds great to me!
The day after we read the book, we discussed all the robots we wanted to make on the way to school. When I picked my daughter up that day, she asked if I had made her the robots yet! I knew action needed to be taken: we had to build a robot. Enter the bristlebot.
I wanted a relatively simple robot to create, with an instant wow factor (my kids are young). After searching the Internet for ideas, we came across the bristlebot.
Let me tell you, my kids LOVE it!
It is a super simple ‘robot’ – easy to make and the kids had a blast playing with them. After gathering the components, it took about 15 minutes to put together ten bristlebots. Our kids helped with the process and learned the basics of cutting up toothbrushes, using double-sided tape, fitting all the components on the toothbrush head and completing an electrical circuit.
Then they decorated some of the bristlebots, put them on the floor, and watched them go! The bristlebots looked like little electronic bugs running around. Some were slow, while some were surprisingly fast. A few went straight; some went in circles. The kids were hooked from that first day and have been playing with them ever since.
Bristlebot Shopping list:
We made ten bristlebots with the expectation that some might not work. They all worked, but had varying degrees of speed and durability.
Cut off the head of the toothbrush. We used gardening shears.
Attach double-sided tape to the back of the brush head.
Carefully strip about a quarter-inch from the ends of the leads coming out of the motor
Stick on battery and motor, with one lead stuck placed between the battery and tape.
Decorate bristlebot as desired.
When you are ready to make it go, use scotch tape to attach the other lead to the top of the battery
Put your bot on any smooth surface and watch it go!
Note: You want the bristles on the toothbrush to be angled, these bristles become the ‘legs’ of the bot. The back of the toothbrush should be flat, this is where you will stick the double-sided tape to attach the battery and the motor.