Let’s Build An Art-Bot!

An Art-Bot is a simple robot that buzzes around on a large sheet of paper. Because it has pens for legs, it makes funky patterns as it goes! When you make your bot, you can give it whatever kind of looks and personality you like. Here’s a pair that we made:

Step -1: Look at your kit contents

The parts included in the kit are as follows:

  • Large styrofoam cup - for the robot’s body
  • Self-adhesive metal foil, so you can easily add metal to any parts of the robot that need it. You have to peel the backing off this foil tape BUT if you are planning to cut out metal parts, do it before you peel the backing!
  • Flair! Pipecleaners and pom-poms, plus a small strip of double-sided foam tape for you to attach this stuff to the robot’s body.
  • Half a popsicle stick - this form’s the robot’s back leg
  • Two washable markers - these form the robot’s front legs and enable it to leave a colourful trail as it goes.
  • Motor circuit. We have attached the motor to a battery holder for you. On the motor we have mounted a small off-centre weight. Like a phone in vibrate mode, this is what causes the robot to jiggle around.
  • Googly eyes - enables the robot to see where it’s going, and admire the art it has made ;-)
  • Battery - not much is going to happen without that!

Hey, on the subject of batteries, PLEASE recycle all your dead batteries at Staples, London Drugs or lots of other retailers, or at a recycling depot. If you put toxic stuff like batteries in the trash, it just gets buried in the ground :-( Bad for the Earth, and bad for us (because we live on the Earth - duh).

Step 0: Gather supplies and tools

Some things you will need that are not included are:

  • Regular clear tape (transparent tape works better than Scotch tape)
  • Scissors, and possibly a craft knife if you know how to use one safely
  • Permanent markers to decorate the robot

Step 1: Make a hole in the end of the cup

The hole needs to be large enough for the motor to pass through. We used a craft knife to cut a neat rectangular hole , but you could use scissors (if you make a messy hole, you can always cover it up with a disc of shiny metal later on!)

Step 2: Attach the motor and battery holder

Pass the motor through the hole you made. The motor is going to be stuck to the INSIDE FRONT of the robot’s ‘chest’ while the battery holder is going to be attached to his back on the OUTSIDE, like a backpack. The wires are not very long, so make sure you can see where the motor and battery backpack will go BEFORE you peel the film off the sticky pads.

UPDATE: We have found that the sticky pads sometimes come off the styrofoam. A good way to make sure they stay stuck in place is to first stick a piece of the metal foil tape - just a bit bigger than the motor or battery holder - onto the styrofoam and then stick the motor or battery holder onto that. The foil tape sticks well to the styrofoam and the sticky pads stick well to the metal surface, so it’s a very good idea to use this two-step process when attaching the motor and battery holder. Just be careful to stick the metal tape down with no wrinkles.

When you have them in position, squeeze the sticky foam pads against the side of the cup, but read this first…

IMPORTANT: When squeezing, put one hand inside the cup and one hand outside the cup - do not squeeze the cup from the outside only because you will break it!!

Step 3: Decorate Body

Go crazy. Use Sharpies, metal foil (remember, if you want to cut out special shapes, do it before peeling the backing off) and the fuzzy stuff we’ve included for you. To attach the eyes and other objects, cut a small piece of the double-sided foam tape. Stick it to the eye, then peel the second backing off and apply it to the robot. When squeezing to stick it on, remember to put a hand inside the robot.

Don’t stick anything to the area underneath the robot’s backpack, because in the next step you will…

Step 4: Tape back leg to body

Use clear tape to stick the popsicle stick to the rear ‘bumper’ area. It should stick down about 20-25mm below the bottom of the robot’s body. Make sure it is firmly attached.

Step 5: Attach front legs to body

The front legs are the pens that came with the kit. It is a good idea to mark the spots where you will attach them. The three legs should form an equilateral triangle (roughly, anyway:-)

Again, use clear tape to attach the pen-legs. You may need a helper at this stage as it can be difficult to do on your own. Look how the cap of the pen comes to the bottom edge of the robot’s body - yours should be the same. When the caps are removed from the pens, the pens and the wooden leg will be sticking out the same distance from the robot.

Step 7: Fire ‘im up!

Get a large sheet of paper. Don’t allow the bot to draw on the floor, table or counter or you could get in trouble!

Uncap the pens. Hold the pen barrel with one hand (NOT the robot) and twist the cap off with your other hand.

Put one hand inside the robot, right behind the battery holder, and with your other hand push the battery into the battery holder. Is it alive? Good!

Put the robot down in the center of the paper and watch as it draws patterns for you. If you can get two or more going on the same sheet of paper it’s a lot of fun.

To switch the robot OFF, carefully lift up one end of the battery with a fingernail. Be careful not to pull the battery holder away from the robot’s body!

Congratulations on building your Art-Bot! Now, where did you put those pen caps ….. ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>