Picture of Pocket Drunken Robot
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Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools
Here's the parts you'll need to make one pocket-sized drunken robot. But make more than one since it's no fun to drink alone.


  • 1 vibrator motor from a pager or cell phone. (I used these. You can find the same motor here and here, though it seems distributors keep selling out. Just about any tube-shaped vibration motor with two metal tabs on the end will work. Search for more.)
  • 1 AG13 button cell battery. A common watch battery that also goes by the aliases 357A, L1154, LR44, GPA76 or PX76A.
  • 1 square inch of sheet tin, copper or other easy to work with metal sheeting. You can probably use a tin can but it might be hard to work with. I'll be using 0.008" sheet tin from the local hobby store.
  • The PDF template linked below.


  • Pliers
  • Tin snips. (or old crafty scissors you don't mind messing up to cut some tin.)
Now that you have everything, lets get started!

Step 2: Cut The Tin

Picture of Cut The Tin
Print out the template from step 1 (also linked below) Be sure to print it at 100% and transfer the design to your piece of tin. (Cut it out and trace it or just glue it on with some temporary adhesive.)

Cut and snip your tin on the solid lines. Please be careful when cutting and handling sheet metal since it can get really sharp. Gloves and safety goggles are recommended.

Step 3: Make The Holder For The Battery

Picture of Make The Holder For The Battery
We want to make a solid connection to the side and bottom of the battery. To do that first bend the piece of tin up at right angles where it's indicated on the diagram. Then place the battery in the middle and fold the arms around so it holds it securely.
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ilpug3 years ago
these are awesome, i have made them several times before, in various different designs. i have found that it is also fun to combine these robots with a throwie (I.E. tape an LED somewhere on there), so you can keep track of them at night when they are flopping all over your apartment. It seems like it would be cool to put a bunch of these somewhere with lights on them, and take time-lapse photos of them, which would produce all kinds of trippy little bright swirly lines in the pictures. For those who are having problems sourcing those little vibrating motors, a good place to look (in the US at least) would be at charity thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. there you can sometimes find tons of old pagers and cellphones, in all conditions, for very cheap. At the Salvation Army store near my house, you can get twenty old phones for a dollar.
79spitfire4 years ago
I found that taping or gluing a penny to the bottom can help with excessively "drunk" robots that won't stay up!
Grathio (author)  79spitfire4 years ago
This is a really great tip!  We did this for our small party of drunk robots for Maker Faire (on your suggestion!) and it let us do other things besides helping face-down drunk robots.  They spin around extra crazy, but they fall over a lot less.

It's a great idea!  Thanks for sharing.  (Your Master of Drunken Robots patch is on the way!)
Your welcome
The links for the sites with motors appear to no longer have said motors available.

I don't mean to necro this, but as it seems to be relevant.
I hope this can save someone a couple seconds.
gcapiel2 years ago
I've created a bug / spider version of this robot at

this is awesome im going to try and build this, where did you get your motor from though?
Grathio (author)  Paintballer983 years ago
Wow, looks like both resellers stopped carrying it. The exact motor is available here. (Assuming that it matches the photo.)  You can use others but they'll likely require soldering. Good luck!
zombiefire4 years ago
cut an aluminium can
Grathio (author)  zombiefire4 years ago
I've tried it with aluminum soda cans and it didn't really work well. It was too springy and weak to hold everything together properly. A better household option is a tin (steel) can lid.
Nice, 5 stars!
I just tried to make one, I took apart my tooth brush, and I don't thing it is quite a pager motor;-)
Would it work to attach a piece of metal a ZipZaps motor?
yes probably, as long as it was big enough and unbalanced enough to vibrate a bit and would fit in the design.
I made one!
It started out pretty much like yours, but with a Zip Zaps motor with a glue gun glue blob instead a pager motor, and I make the body out of thin cardboard, because of the anatomy of my motor. It just went in circles with the ordinary base, so it got stranger and stranger, I tried adding angled fins, which made it a lot better, but it still turned more than I wanted, so I elongated the neck and put on some legs, now it works GREAT! It zoom's forward tilted like crazy and turns occasional, and sometimes falls over;-). Unfortunately I only got photos of the last version. Its a hilarious little thing.
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Grathio (author)  frenzy4 years ago
Fantastic! Congratulations Geekmandude!
 cool! you should post a video on you tube of it running and post it here (you wouldn't have to edit it or anything because it would be on here and people here would know what its about) by the way COOL!
Yes I would like to, but I do not have a YouTube account.
It is fun to put it on my desk while I am doing a project - it will potter around for a while and then go racing off teetering back and forth:-)
 then make one. i have and its been quite helpful sharing videos i try not to show my face but it doesn't really mater. id love to se this robot  it sounds quite funny and enjoyable to watch.
I would get one, but I do not agree with YouTube's user agreement, so that makes it a bit tricky, and I wouldn't use it that much, other than times like this;-).
Also, I may have slightly misrepresented how fast it goes, it does not zoom compared to biking or running or walking or anything, but it is much faster then any other vibrobot  I have seen a video of (but I have not seen many, just a few on instructables and Make:).
Grathio (author)  circuitbreaker5 years ago
 It looks fantastic!  Thanks for posting the photos, it looks pretty hilarious just in the stills.

(Your Master of Drunken Robots patch is on its way!)
keeganlegg4 years ago
My drunken robot is the best
Very good job on this and the tutorial!  :D

I made one out of a .44 Magnum Brass (cut with a Dremel tool). I glued a small square of cardboard to the battery, and it allows for changing the battery in and out.

Here's a picture:

Grathio (author)  cooperkevin955 years ago
 Too bad the picture didn't come through, it sounds awesome!
lol those are awsome
kcls5 years ago
Oh noes! Amaerican Science and Surplus doesnt have those motors listed anymore!
Grathio (author)  kcls5 years ago
 Boy, they sure are!

Looking around this one appears to be the identical model that I used and it's a pretty reasonable price.

pbecker835 years ago
Dreistein5 years ago
 were do u get old pagers or cell phones
Here is a good way to get them free: I got about 20 this way a few weeks ago, many of which worked just fine! My brother (FR33K) even got a working SIM card!
deblhunt5 years ago
like hogdog9, I don't know where to get the motor. I want to try this! Where do you get the motors?
Colonel885 years ago
Who's the designated driver lol?
kcls5 years ago
I ordered the motor that you said to use and it had a small blue plastic thing around it, and i see yours dont have that. did yours come with the blue thing, and if it did, how did you remove it?
Grathio (author)  kcls5 years ago
Good point. Sometimes those motors come with a little blue rubber collar on them. They're not really attached to the motor (no glue or anything) and they're flexible so you can just pull, slide, or pry them off. Just be careful not to damage the the metal leads and pull it off the "front". (ie: The end with the offset weight.)
kcls Grathio5 years ago
Yeah, i kind of figured that out on my own, literally minutes after. thanks anyway though. I apperently bent the metal leads a few to many times and one broke, but luckly we were able to solder a wire on to it. Phew!
Grathio (author)  kcls5 years ago
Glad you were able to recover from it! Those leads are definitely the weak point of those specific motors. Of the 15 or so that I've worked with I've had a lead break off of at least two.
kcls5 years ago
For the metal can you cut out a soda can and flatten it out, or would that be to light?
Grathio (author)  kcls5 years ago
An aluminum soda can is probably going to be too light and springy to work well. If you want to use something from around the house I would try a soup can lid or possibly an Altoids (mint) tin.
kcls Grathio5 years ago
ok. what about a steel can (the ones that canned vegetables come in) maybe?
Grathio (author)  kcls5 years ago
I think that would probably work. I haven't eaten canned veggies in a long time but I suspect it's a bit thicker than what I used in the project. I'd try to use the top or bottom of the can to get the flattest surface to start with. The problem is that the robot is so small that thick material is hard to work with at that scale, and any imperfections tend to amplify when it's small.
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