How to Make a Pocket-sized Bristlebot


Introduction: How to Make a Pocket-sized Bristlebot

About: I like potatoes. And bacon. And puzzles, Angry Birds, piano, math, hot cocoa, Popular Science, and sleeping.

In this Instructable, I will show how to make my version of a bristlebot.
It is small, easy to make, and uses very little materials.

-Very little materials
-easy to make
-Fun to play with

-Tends to spin in circles
-You have to get the balance right
-uses a special type of toothbrush

***UPDATES!*** (as of July 20, 2009)

I found the perfect toothbrush head!
Use the Exact Cross-Bristle Toothbrush I found at Superstore and it will go straight!

I give most of my credit to because I discovered his bristlebot after I published this Instructable.

Step 1: Materials

Here are the materials you need:
-1x vibrating pager motor
-1x toothbrush head (bristles have to be angled as shown in picture 2)
-1x cell battery (any type, has to be between 1-9 volts)
-a piece of foam tape (already attached to top of toothbrush head)

Step 2: Assembly

Take your piece of foam tape, and put it on top of your toothbrush head.Then place your motor on top of the toothbrush head, making the weight stick out over the top of the toothbrush head.Then stick a wire from the motor on to the foam tape and put the battery over it (any way). Stand it up and make sure it is well balanced. You are done!

Step 3: How to Use It

Just place the other wire over the battery and it should work. Enjoy!



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    hey can u send me a link to buy tht pager motor?

    1 reply

    I am desperate to find a good toothbrush to use!! I have been making them with kids and they don't work right with the average bristles.  I have been searching on the internet for the toothbrush that you recommend, but I can't find it at all! Is 'Exact' the brand?  And what is Superstore?  IF you can help me I will be eternally grateful!! Thanks so much for a great Instructable!

    2 replies

    Do you live in US, because I found this toothbrush in Superstore in Canada. Nevertheless, find a toothbrush with bristles that criss-cross with each other.

    You can make ordinary bristles work, all you have to do is bend them back to make the bot go forward.This also works with turning, bend the front bristles left to go right and right to go left, for added speed trim the bristles a tiny bit on a slope with the front ones a little shorter than the back ones.

    its still cool though-- i like how he used a toothbrush head O_o

    Rick Harris- this robot has been around LONG before 'Ibles and to credit the first maker would be virtually impossible. Seriously! Are you the official you-didn't- make-it-first-so-you-suck person on instructables? stop with your sarcasm and think- did kill1234 REALLY offend the world by not crediting the original builder? Is the original builder going to care enough that the entire world's going to explode because he wasn't credited? (This is assuming the Original builder isn't already DEAD.) I'm sure if kill1234 knew who built it first he would have said. Seriously... oh yeah- thankyouandhavaniceday. -AdmiralCubie

    There was, apparently, a bit of a barny about whether EMS invented the bristlebot.

    However, this is one of those devices that has been invented independently several times in history. William Gurstel has one in one of his books, I've seen a Japanese concept car that used the idea (decades ago), and my own boys have raced electric toothbrushes across the shower tray.

    Thanks for your comment.

    haha that's awesome.Does anyone know if I can make a bristlebot with my toothbrush? (it's a malibu bright brush, it already has a motor so I'm pretty sure that's all I need, right?)


    I took apart a cell phone but no motor. What cell phones work?

    2 replies

    Most cell phones vibrate but some have a round vibrator like a small coin rather than a regular motor and weight. It will still work though.

    ones that vibrate when you get a phone call

    And how is your version different from the original which you don't credit?

    2 replies

    Thanks for including the credit and all credit to you for the re-invention. :-)

    there are a lot of different instructables out there about bristlebots and it would be challenging to reference them all. he just might not have seen the original.


    where is the motor?