Junk vibrobot

Junk vibrobot

There is a category of electric critters called vibrobots.  I hesitate to call them robots , but I guess they are autonomous moving things.  Anyhow, as usual, I have bits of junk laying around that tend to rear up and get in the way now and then.  I have an old motor I salvaged out of a vcr or something.  I also had wire insulation hangers from my crawlspace insulation project.  That’s about all you need to build a junk vibrobot.  I bent a paperclip in an L-shape and taped a screw to one end of it.  The screw attached off center of the motor shaft throws the balance of the motor off so it vibrates.  Since it is attached to rigid, skinny wire feet, the vibrations through those feet on a hard surface translate into motion…random motion!

Junk vibrobot

So, I zip-tied the end of the paperclip without the screw to the shaft of the motor.  I then bent the insulation hangers in an arc and zip-tied the 2 sets of legs around the motor.  I hooked a 9-volt battery to the motor contacts and away it went.   I tried putting little rubber feet on it but the bare wire on hardwood jittered the best.

Mo, our silly cat had to get in on the fun.  The kids had a blast running the v-bot around Mo.  They had it timed perfectly so he would jump in the air when it started spinning.  For a cheap toy, it was quite a bit of fun!  Just a word of warning though…if you do this on your dining room table, be sure the cat is not around.  Also, be sure your wife is not around as she will not be impressed with the cat on the table or with the little scratches the v-bot feet leave.  Of course, this is certainly not the first time I have scratched the dining room table…but that’s another story.

Click the image for a short video

Here are some other vibrobots that other people have made.  I have seen some that are solar powered, some that look just like bugs, and some that are made or worse junk than mine.

Itty bitty vibrobot
Minty vibrobot

8 thoughts on “Junk vibrobot

  1. Man I Know What You Mean, wives can be pretty funny about the dining table. But what else are we supposed to do when we NEED a large flat surface for one of our projects right.

  2. Spouse has informed me that I can have any kind of dining-room or sofa table that I want… as long as he can rebuild carburetors on them. At least I’ve been forewarned.

  3. What a cool idea. We build and compete with combat robots, like Battlebots, but ours are smaller. We’ve done pretty well at a few competitions. I think Logan would enjoy doing this. We are trying to make a walking combat robot.

  4. d.a. – our table was actually set ablaze in the showroom to demonstrate its ability to double as a workbench…true story!

    Christy – you should do a post on your battel bots. I have often thought it would be interesting to try!

  5. i like this! I have a couple of students who would love to fool around with this. We have the lego programable robots at our school and the kids have a blast trying to program them to drive through the hallways and not bang into walls.

  6. Don – I fool around some with microcontrollers and have been thinking of showing Isaac (in particular) a little about how to program them to do some interesting things. We have talked about making a line following bot as a starter. I have never messed with the logo mindstorm stuff though that might be easier for Isaac to program. I design software for a living so I have a hard time judging what people are ready for…

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