Picture of How to Build a Robot - The BeetleBot

I have been in robotics since I was a kid and I am very passionate by robotics. I learn BEAM robotics around 1997-98 and started building robots for a science faire project call "Insectroides" in 2001. ( they change server and the website links does not work anymore it is on Linux and it is CASE SeNsiTIve! ) here is the old one

One of my many robots was the beetle robot, a VERY simple robot that can avoid obstacles on the floor without ANY silicon chip! ( the red ladybug, second picture, is my FIRST beetlerobot )
the red ladybug use a home made PCB carve with a dremel and two playstation motors with rubber wheel from a walkman!


It use
2 - motors
2 - SPDT switch
1 - AA battery holder

I has 16 years old when my uncle showed me the principal of the SPDT switch ( Simple Pole Double Throw). I then took this idea and incorporated the design into the (world famous) beetle robot :P

Now I am 22 and want to show you step by step instructions how YOU can make this simple robot!

here are some videos of my beetlerobot in action!

The beetlerobot in the video is made using a Printed Circuit Board ( PCB ).
This design will be use if I make a kit one day!

Check them all out here!

This Instructable is divided into three parts

- You will learn how to build the robot
- I will explain how the robot works
- I will then teach you how to fix your robot if it does not work ( Debugging )

Don't forget to read the complete tutorial before starting! And remember to wear safety glasses at all time because eye injuries ain't worth the risk! It will happen in a blick of an eye.

Have a great time!

ps- Check out Gareth Branwyn book, I made a one motor walker and he made a complete chapter with my robot!! He send me the book call " Absolute beginner's guide to building robots" A very great book!

Maybe I should write a book...

Jerome Demers aka ROBOMANIAC!

Updated july 2007 - I have added some pictures of the inside of my first beetlerobot. Home made AAA battery holder! I have also added some videos on youtube!

Updated 22 july 2007 - I added a picture and text on step 19 if your robot does not work :P
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AngeloMagbanua27 minutes ago

am i correct my motor is moving forward but when push rigth antena my right motor is moving forward again but the left motor is going stop and when i push left antena the left motor is moving forward too and the right motor is stop. My Beetlebot Is Correct? Plsss answer it here's the picture

Lukeplayer2 months ago
Where can I find Spdt Switches in the Phillipines?

What is it's purpose? What is the purpose of the beetlebot?

robomaniac (author)  stypayhorlikson023 months ago

to learn robotics in genereal and build your first robot without costing a lot of money.

What is it's purpose? What is the purpose of the beetlebot?

What is it's purpose? What is the purpose of the beetlebot?

tiagolinux4 months ago

Yeah,it's good!

gabriels55 months ago

does it have a off and on switch

robomaniac (author)  gabriels55 months ago

You Simplify remove the batteries.
avenged7x8 months ago
Would it be possible to add an LDR so that the robot can be controlled but when it hits an obstacle(for example a chair) it'll still turn on its own?
robobot31129 months ago

wow . zero programming = 100 percent fun

mkovtchega9 months ago

Will these spdt switches work? They are from and old ball mouse.

hkarlis12 months ago

well I have a little problem I am not getting a 3 pole switch ad I am just getting a switch like this (posted). can u tell me if this works, pls give the way of connection diagram or tell how to connect it . And if not suggest me a site where I can find the 3 pole switch(it should deliver in India)

Enkeim hkarlis11 months ago
watch the picture closely again... at the bottom of the switch you can see that there is the 3th pole. So it should work ;)
hkarlis12 months ago
Enkeim hkarlis11 months ago
Yes why not?
robomaniac (author)  hkarlis12 months ago

yes, those are exactly what you need.

good luck

hkarlis12 months ago

is there any other method of making it as i am not geting the right switch

hai its awesome dude. quite impressive with small steps.

Aditya M1 year ago

I also made it but it was little different.........

but the concept pretty matches with this......

I Don't have any picture of that!!!

Tbus1 year ago

This is a great lab experiment. I'm taking a Robotics Fundamentals home study course ( and this instructable covered a lot of what I learned in my class. Thank you!

mfernando31 year ago
AWESOME STUFF man. Just wanted to give you a quick praise. Thanks!
hussein13 years ago
hey man can i use an mouse spdt switch?? please reply on this site please.
1 year old reply -.-'
The mouse SPDT would be hard to use, you have to de-solder, and the switch doesn't have an actuator lever (The metal thingy). But it could work! You could hot glue the paper clip on, that's what i tried to do, It fell off after the bot hit a wall 3x
CarlyAnne72 years ago
Can I Just Buy One From You ?
You can buy one from Solarbotics now!
Solarbotics Beetle Bot
meghams2 years ago
hey very nice bot ..!!wanna try right away ...but one thing which is boggling my mind is how you have fixed those motors in such a inclined angle..??
raghav572 years ago
i am raghav. i am 12 years old. i got all parts and i made some but how to stick SPDT switches and motors to battery holder.and where can i get heat shrink.the only part i didn't get.where can i get please say
rashtekar2 years ago
my bot is not going front when i coneect battries to the motors directly they work properly...but when i connect it to the switch and spdt switches it works slow and doesnt move forward...plz reply....i have to show it on monday..:-(
rashtekar2 years ago
my teacher is asking the uses of this beetle bot...what do i tell her????
TANMAYEE2 years ago
can u please help with the uses of this beetlebot?? do reply soon. Got an urgency. thank you. :)
Wisaam2 years ago
Can you please tell me the actual function of the SPDT switch and how does it work?...Please do reply..
prakash03022 years ago
hi it's cool idea...........!!!!
indradiana2 years ago
can i use two 3 volt motors by only using two 1.5 volt batteries?
does the beetle robot still work normally ?
niljo2 years ago
Hi!! i made the beetle robot, bt it wnt wrk if i let go of the switch.. i have to keep it presd..and the funny thng is tat wen i press the spdt swittch on right side, the left motor rotates and vice versa... cud u pls help me wit dis...
robomaniac (author)  niljo2 years ago

you are also there.

It is normal that when you press the right switch the left motor spin. That is compltely normal with the Beetle robot V1.

You told me that the robot does not move until you press the switch. This only mean that the third connection is not properly connected to the inside of the battery pack.

When you plug the battery both motors should spin forward. When you press the switch, the opposite motor should turn backward.

Make sure you have a good solder joint, a clean one with no flux or dirty thing on it.
hey thnks.. it really helped.. nw ts wrkng no prblm... thnks a lot jerome :)
niljo2 years ago
these are sm pics of the beetlebot i made.. i even made the third connection.. it wud very helpful fr me if u assissted me wit dis.. and my email id is
biocon772 years ago
can i use a Illuminated round rocker spdt switch?
robomaniac (author)  biocon772 years ago
well not really, only if you find an innovating way to trigger the swt with the antenna. then that will work. Rocket swt are stiff (hard to activate) so you need help with a lever system.
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