Beetle-Bot Kit / $35

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The Beetle-Bot is a great introduction to basic robotics. This snazzy bot, with its laser-cut wooden chassis, uses only switches and motors yet is satisfyingly independent of human control. Slide the red switch and it starts zooming forward. When it bumps into an object in its way, a whisker activates a switch which reverses one of the motors, causing it to turn away from the obstacle and continue on its way. There’s tons of fun to be had in building challenge courses and mazes for this little robot!

This is not a snap-together kit and it requires a bit of patience, care and attention to detail to make a good ‘un. But all the steps are described in detail (with photos) in the builder’s guide we’ve put together for you. Basic tools are required including needlenosed pliers, wire strippers and a small hot glue gun. Soldering is optional – if you don’t have a soldering iron the connections can all be made by twisting wires together and this is covered in the guide. In building this kit you will learn about circuits, switches and motors, and you’ll pick up (or get to practice) key construction methods including hot glue, zip ties and heat-shrink tubing. Expect to spend several hours assembling this kit. Age guide: 12+

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P.S. There’s now a super spiffy ‘Robot Builder’ laser-etched button badge included with this kit!

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