How to make a BrushBot

A BrushBot is a mechanical toy powered by a simple circuit with a pager motor that vibrates and moves the bot across many surfaces, like tables and floors. Toothbrushes may be inexpensively purchased, and in bulk, online. For stability of movement, try lashing two toothbrush heads together with sticky tape. Unlike real robots, this version of the BrushBot isn’t programmed; but, it could be with Arduino. Start simple and then surprise yourself and others by inventing a completely new version of this fun toy! See the links below for more inspiration. See “How To” on Maker Kids for a video demonstration of BrushBot making.

Check your kits: four toothbrushes, two pieces of double-sided tape and four batteries with wires

check the content of your kit

Cut the heads of the toothbrushes from the handle at the base of the head with the clippers. Cut the toothbrush close to the bristles

If the bristles are uneven, trim with scissors until they stand flat on a surface.

modify your Burshbots

Cut the tape

Use scissors to cut a piece of double-sided foam tape into 4 smaller squares.

Next (if needed), trim the wires of the pager motor to one inch and strip the wire so about a 1/8 inch of the metal is exposed.
Cut the battery wires about 1″ long.
Then use wire strippers to strip about 1/4″ of insulation off the end of each wire.

The battery has a natural “curve” to it. This curve should be bent upward, to allow the battery to sit flat on the toothbrush.

Use a small square of double-sided foam tape to attach the battery to the toothbrush head.

Peel the sticker off the motor, and stick the motor firmly on top of the battery.

  • When you’re ready to run your BrushBot, twist each battery lead together with a motor lead to connect them. (The polarity doesn’t matter, so you can twist black to black, or black to red.) Your BrushBot will start vibrating!
  • Let go and watch it run around!
  • After you build your BrushBots, mod them for more fun!
  • Connect 2 bots together with tape or a bit of wire.
  • Trim or bend the bristles to make the BrushBot change direction.
  • Add stabilizing wire legs. This way the BrushBots can crash into each other without tipping over.
  • Make up a racetrack and see whose BrushBot wins!