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Sometimes you just need a buddy to keep your whole life in balance, and this one's a quickie! And for the aspiring tight-rope walker, this bot is your new role model. Balancing on fingers, noses, ledges, this bot knows no balancing bounds.

  • What: Balance Bot
  • Time: ~ 5 minutes to make, 5 minutes to modify
  • Cost: 25 cents
  • Concepts: Balance, Center of Mass, Rotation
  • Materials:
    • 2 wood skewers
    • 1 toothpick
    • 1 cork
    • 2 balls plasticine (any clay will do)
    • 2 googly eyes
    • A wee bit o' hot glue
  • Tools:
    • Hot glue gun

This is a wonderful balance toy to make, and than change around, iterate, and learn from! You can do tons of center of mass experiments with this buddy, or just play! You might even be able to make it from the first picture alone.

Step 1: Insert Sticks and Add Clay!

First, insert the two wood skewers so that they are angled down. (You can play around with the position later to get all sorts of different balancing angles).

Next, insert the toothpick on the bottom of the cork facing down.

Then add balls of clay to either side. For the most part, balls about half the volume of a ping-pong ball work great! Experiment to find the best for you.

We need Balance Bot's center of mass to be below the end of th

Step 2: Add a Face and Let It Rip!

Every bot can use a little personality. Googly eyes can make it come to life, and a mouth isn't bad either.

It can lay flat on the table, but this bot is made to spin upright. Let it rip!

Great things to change to get different results include:

  • The length of the toothpick (cut it)
  • The angle and length of the skewers (cut them), and re-poke them
  • The size of the clay balls

Have fun balancing!

<p>We made this in our craft class here in Taiwan. I used foam instead of corks, which are not easy to get. Also, I used beads instead of clay for the weights. The kids loved seeing how many ways they could balance the bot: on the eraser of a pencil, on their ear or nose, on the end of a skewer, on the edge of a sheet of paper. Thanks for sharing your idea!</p>
<p>So cool! You guys even have feathers on your balance bot buddy! :DD</p>
Even without eyes, it's fun. Physics is pure fun.?
<p>Oh so awesome, and some great behind-the-back skills! Thank you for sharing and it looks like everything is balancing out well! </p>
<p>Cool!</p>
Made this with my three-year-old he thought it was the coolest thing ever
<p>That is so lurvely to hear. :)</p><p>So happy you all did it! If you ever want to get into the super version, instead of skewers you can use dowels and instead of clay use tennis balls, instead of a cork use a block o' wood, and so on. Pretty fun! </p>
That is so cool. The bots body where you added the face it looks like one of those wine caps. Well that is a cool little project and maybe I will make it
<p>That would be mighty, mprice! Send us a photo of your botface if you do! </p>

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Bio: The Oakland Toy Lab is a community-based wonder lab for students to build, tinker, explore, make, break, and learn! We are writing up engaging science ... More »
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