Bristle Bot II - From a Cheap Electric Toothbrush


Introduction: Bristle Bot II - From a Cheap Electric Toothbrush

Yet another bristle bot, this one from a discounted electric toothbrush. I now know why it was on sale, because it did not work out of the box. But that's OK, is for fun, no?

Step 1: Dissassemble!

umm, cut the head off the toothbrush

umm, rip the guts out.

Sorry to be a bit terse, but that's what I did. Perhaps a bit more detail could help. The head of the toothbrush is cut off with a pair of wire cutters. The guts of the toothbrush were extracted. A pair of needle nose pliers was used, but it could be done with most any pointy object on hand. This toothbrush was cheap, very cheap. Did I mention it did not function out of the box? And yes, the battery was good, 1.6V.

Step 2: Soldering

The batteries and motor are attached to the toothbrush with a hot glue gun. Try to keep all balanced and aligned symmetrically.

I did change from the 1 fresh battery which came with the toothbrush to 2 nearly dead batteries, about 1.3V each. Two batteries gives a bit more juice, of course, but also makes a symmetrical, balanced assembly.

Step 3: Changing a "spring" Into a "Switch:

the spring is reinforced by usubg hot glue to better attach it to the motor, as the copper lead coming out of the motor is quite flimsy.

Then, use a pair of pliers to contort the spring such that it tends to press against the end of the battery. The bot should now hum away happily, and proceed to terrorize cats and other household fauna. A simple piece of paper breaks the connection.

I have a brief video, but You tube is down tonight. TBD.

This one goes faster than expected, but tends to spin. I trmmed some of the bristles, changing the behavior. You mileage may vary.

Have fun!



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    I scuff the battery with a file, tin the wire, then tack the wire to the battery as quick as possible. I have never had an issue, however this perhaps falls under "Don't try this at home"

     Nice! but, what do you do after the batteries run out?

    By the time the battery runs out you're bored of it anyway!
    I made another using 3 batteries and the motor from a Sony dual-shock controller. The batteries are in a plastic holder, and there's a switch for power. It's here on Instructables too, search my other projects. It has never has never needed the batteries changed.

     Ok, true.

    The sony one is awesome! Maybe not as compast as the tiny ones, but a whole lot more powerful.

    And congratulations on being linked to by Make Magazine!

    nice very awesome mine looks a bit like yours but only i took a peace of cardboard then placed 2 tooth brush heads under it and the 2 AA batteris were under the motor

    you could probably do it better using a vibrating motor from a pager or broken mobile phone and to sve on weight use a 1.5v button cell battery

    GorillazMiko you have been on every instructable i've looked at. ex. I love the daft punk pic.

    I love the bristle bot, it was such a great idea, and this one is kind of cool still. Nice job, but I heard you're not supposed to solder directly onto batteries (which is true), so yeah, but it still looks awesomely done.

    Understood, I realized that as I put it together. Unfortunately, hot glue wants quick action

    Stuck to batteries to the side with the positive ends pointing in either directs and soldered them up. The mouse overs on the pictures explain the details but it should be fairly easy to see how its done just from the photos. Could be fun to put paint on the brush and set it running on a big sheet of paper. Could probably sell the results as "modern art" and make a mint! :)