How to build a robot using household items

Written by jordan gaither
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How to build a robot using household items
Use a toothbrush to create a robot. (toothbrush image by Nicola Gavin from

Contrary to popular media depictions of them, robots don't have to be multi-billion-dollar, hyper-complex sentient organisms capable of superhuman feats of dexterity and strength. Since a robot is primarily a machine able to perform a task on its own, a simple, entertaining robot can be built right in your own home, using materials and tools you most likely have lying around.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Toothbrush
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided sticky tape
  • Cell phone/pager motor
  • 3-volt coin cell battery

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  1. 1

    Snip the head off a toothbrush and lay it with the bristles down. Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch of toothbrush neck still attached to the head for balance.

  2. 2

    Lay a strip of double-sided sticky tape down on the flat upper surface of the toothbrush head to create a mounting surface for the other components.

  3. 3

    Position the motor lengthwise on the toothbrush head, opposite the snipped-off neck and far enough from the edge that the turning shaft of the motor won't impact the toothbrush when it turns.

  4. 4

    Set one of the motor's wires down flat against the sticky tape where the battery will be.

  5. 5

    Place the battery on top of the wire firmly to create a connection.

  6. 6

    Bend the other wire to contact the top of the battery, and the motor will begin to vibrate, scooting your robot rapidly across any smooth surface you set it on.

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