Art Bots

Using a few common, inexpensive items and an electronic toothbrush you can make a fun vibrating robot that makes unique art!

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Setup and Supplies

Art Bots are a fun and easy project for makers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy. All you need are a few household objects, an inexpensive electric toothbrush, markers, and your imagination!

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Build time:

Approximately 20-30 minutes

Skills Needed:

  • Basic assembly / fine motor skills
  • Basic scissor skills

Tools:

  • Scissors (optional)

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Core Supplies for each Art Bot:

The core supplies listed above are needed for every Art Bot, but the supplies listed below are just some of the common items we have used for decoration and style. You can mix and match to suit your preference and give your Art Bot character.

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Decoration Supplies for each Art Bot:

Cost:

For a workshop with 25 students you can expect to spend about $65 on supplies.

How to Assemble an Art Bot

Building a simple housing for your electric toothbrush motor using paper cups or a section of pool noodle or other housing structure provides a vessel for your Art Bot that makes it mobile.

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Step 1: Check your battery and motor

Place a battery in your toothbrush and make sure the motor works.  These are cheap toothbrushes so quality control is not high on the list.  You don’t want to get it put together to only find out your toothbrush doesn’t work!

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Step 2: Reassemble the toothbrush (Optional)

Depending on your vessel design, you may or may not want to reassemble your toothbrush. You may choose to leave the motor casing separate.

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Step 3: Prepare your vessel

If you are using a pool noodle for your Art Bot vessel, cut a section of your pool noodle that is approximately 4-5″ long.

If you are using a paper cup for your Art Bot vessel, cut a hole in the bottom of the cup big enough to slide your toothbrush or motor casing through.

If you are using a different item for your vessel, construct it any way you like!

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Step 4: Insert the motor

Insert your toothbrush or motor casing into the center of the pool noodle or the hole you cut in the paper cup.

If you are using some other vessel materials, explore ways you can add your motor or toothbrush for effective movement of the housing.

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Step 5: Attach the markers

Using rubber bands or masking tape (or some other item) attach 3 or 4 markers to the outside of the pool noodle or paper cup.

Again, if you have constructed a vessel using different materials, be creative in the way you attach your markers.

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Step 6: Align your markers for smooth movement

Test fit all of your markers and Art Bot components to make sure that your markers are the only thing touching the surface. You do not want any of the parts to drag along with the markers, unless that is part of your intended design.

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Step 7: Add character to your Art Bot

Using wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, or other materials give your Art Bot some character! Each Art Bot is unique, so give your Art Bot the personality it deserves in this final step!

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Step 8: Turn on the motor and make art!

Lay down a large piece of paper, turn on the motor, and watch it go! Your Art Bot will take off in ways you may not have expected, so watch in amazement and be prepared to catch it if it runs away!

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Step 9: Host an Art Bot Rally (Optional, but encouraged)

If you are making your Art Bots in a group, bring all the Art Bots together on a very large piece of paper on the floor to make an Art Bot Rally! This is our favorite part of making Art Bots because it is so fun to see everyone’s bots interact with each other and see the different type of art they make!

Learn more

Start the discussion at forums.digitalharbor.org

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