Introduction: Scary Bots and Super Creeps - Vibrobots With Connectors, Wire and Cable Ties

Make funny, scary, silly vibrating bot creatures with little more than connectors, cable ties and electrical wire. The bots in the pictures and video are just examples of what you can make. Your imagination is the limit. Thanks to the versatility of connectors, cable binders and electrical wire, the possibilities are virtually endless:

No video? Have a look at it here...

Here's a video of the creatures filmed at 300 frames per second. Looks pretty dramatic on occasion :-)


Making vibro-creatures is most certainly a nice project to with kids of 6 years and up, since the tools, materials and skills needed are very basic. So, a really low-treshold-high-impact project for kids of all ages. I hope you like it. If you make a vibro-creature yourself, please post a pic of it in the comments :-)

Update Sept. 1st 2013: The scary vibrobots are now named Bibberbeest. And, I made a brain for them, so you can switch on a Bibberbeest with a standard remote control! I did a lot of workshops with kids, making Bibberbeests. Here's an impression:


Tools needed:
  • Small screwdriver
  • Multitool, or:
    • Needlenose pliers
    • Cutting pliers
  • Wire stripper
  • Knife or firm sciccors

Materials:
  • Connectors (8 to 18 stubs for a creature?)
  • 20-60 cm electrical wire (the kind used in the electrical wiring in houses, with a solid core)
  • 2-12 cable binders, different sizes and colors
  • Double sided foam tape
  • An electric motor that runs on 1,5 Volt DC. I used these, from Farnell. Motors are expensive if you buy them by piece, so if you have to order just one, try to harvest one from discarded toys instead.
  • 1,5 V AA battery
  • AA battery holder

Costs:
Around €3,50 per beast if you have to buy a motor. Harvest a motor from junk toys and save €2,-

Time needed:
I make a bot creature in around 15 minutes. I didn't do this with kids yet, my guess is they'll need 45 minutes or so...

Tips for making the bots:
  • I fixed the battery holder onto the connectors with foam tape. That works well and makes the batteryholder removable.
  • The black electrical wire fits through the connector when the screws are "turned up" completely. So, there's no real need to strip the wire.
  • The previous makes it possible to wind the wire through a strip of connectors as a spiral. I did this with the creature in picture 5.
  • The inside of a connector-stub comes in handy to make a "tail" on the motor shaft.
  • To remove the inside of a connector, turn the screws loose and remove them. You can push out the connectors' inside-part easily.
Tips for tuning:
The creatures' movements are pretty unpredictable. You'll have to tweak and experiment to make the bots move the way you like. Experiment with just about any property of the creature you made:
  • The length of your creatures "legs"
  • The form and length of the motor's tail
  • The added weight to the motor's tail (inside of connectors, a complete connector stub, etc.)
  • The location of the battery and the motor: By replacing the battery or the motor, you change the distribution of weight. This has a profound impact on the way the creature moves
The new Lego: connectors, wire and cable ties
This is my third project that heavily relies on connectors, tieraps and wires as a "construction toy" (have a look at Blinky the LED pet and the Blinky Dragonfly). Wire, connecors and tie-raps are pretty generic and obtainable everywhere. The versatility of this stuff really amazes me! So this won't be my last connector-wire-tie based project :-)

Enjoy building Beasts.

Make a creature yourself and earn a 3 month Pro Membership!
I'll reward the first three posts that include a picture.


Comments

author
yoh-there (author)2015-03-14

I van build quite a few of these, guaranteed success with the kids! The hardest part to source are the motors, so here are few tips. If you have patience and can wait a few weeks, ebay is your friend, especially ebay.com.au. I just got these (the links will probably not work in a few weeks as the offer expires)

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/301202968684 5 euro's for 5 high performance motors. Dirt cheap, and they run fine on 1.5V too. Also you can try finding cheap hand fans and scavenge the motor. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/301202968684 which will set you back about 1.50 euro's.

It's also a great place for battery holders, usually 10 single AA or AAA for under a euro.

The rest I would recommend to source at your local DIY store. The cheap Chinese terminal blocks are too soft, too small, and their screws too dodgy to work well for kids. Not worth the difference in price, if any, IMHO.

author
vishalapr (author)2013-06-10

Easy to make and can be lots of fun to play with :D gonna try make some as soon as exams are over "_"

author
haagamble (author)2013-06-05

I want to order the parts for this but I can't figure out what those connectors are. Is there another name for them? What are they used for? Thanks.

author
ynze (author)haagamble2013-06-05

I think they're called 16 Amp connectors, or terminal blocks. They're used for instance to connect lamp holders to electric wire. In The Netherlands, where I live, they're very common. Every hardware shop sells them for around €1,- for a 12-stud strip.

Hope this helps...

author
ynze (author)ynze2013-06-05

Here's a link to Farnell. They sell them for a crazy amount of money, but it might be useful for you to figure out what you need.

author
haagamble (author)ynze2013-06-05

Thank you so much. That is a huge help!

author
simplebotics (author)2013-03-27

Awesome! I have an instructable like this!

author
Dave A (author)2013-02-24

Hoi Ynze, Yesterday I made a nice Bristtlebot with my kids. My daughter calls him Frups. We used your instructions at slimme-handen.nl. After making it I just realized it was your site, haha. These are nice to, will be next project, and I might even make them with my class. Thanx! (And I pass the 3 months pro-membership to the next maker, I have enough pending pro memberships :-P)

borstelbot.JPG
author
ynze (author)Dave A2013-02-24

:-) Cool! I like what you did with the switch! And Frups is a GREAT name!

I made a scary-bot with a switch yesterday, i'll post a picture shortly.
And it would be great if you can do this with your class! Will you post some pics then, please please please?

author
Dave A (author)ynze2013-02-24

Off course I will, if I´ll get to some botbuilding. I´ve bought a 3D printer for the arts and crafts classes so that could make a nice combination, I think..

author
ynze (author)Dave A2013-02-24

See the pics for Shakybot with a LED-tail and a switch. X'cuse me so much for the trashy pictures (made with my phone and horrible light :-)).

Hey, the combo with a 3D printer sounds promising! Maybe we should brainstorm on that one a bit more...

Scary-bot-red-LED-2.jpgScary-bot-red-LED-1.jpgScary-bot-red-LED-3.jpg
author
emilyvanleemput (author)ynze2013-03-01

MMM, he looks familiar

author
Dave A (author)ynze2013-02-24

All right, these look very nice!

(Ik neem binnenkort wel even contact met je op Ynze, lijkt me leuk een en ander eens uit te wisselen over mogelijkheden in de klas maar ook van Instructables i.h.a).

author
emilyvanleemput (author)2013-02-14

Love them !

author
ynze (author)emilyvanleemput2013-02-14

You didn't see this one coming, did you ;-)

author
emilyvanleemput (author)ynze2013-02-14

I sure didn't!

author
ynze (author)emilyvanleemput2013-02-25

I made a second video (in slow motion). Your creature is in it :-p

author
t800 (author)2013-02-18

:-) What is the name of the bot at 0:20 ? Kenny? :-)

author
ynze (author)t8002013-02-18

Lol! From now on, he's called Kenny :-D. I was thinking to name them, so if you have more ideas...

author
t800 (author)ynze2013-02-18

:-) I have one more name for now: 0:47 Homer, because he heads straight for the edge of the cliff!! :-D Well done, they're cute little things! :-)

author
ynze (author)t8002013-02-25

I added a second video. Watch how Kenny kills himself at 300 frames per second :-) It looks pretty dramatic...

author
vincent7520 (author)2013-02-17

Only one question : do you need a vote ?
If so, where do I vote ????…

author
ynze (author)vincent75202013-02-17

Nope, no vote needed :-) Just make a connector-based vibro-creature and post a pic...

author
vincent7520 (author)ynze2013-02-17

You're taking me by surprise !…
As soon as I have inspiration in order not to make a pale copy of your invention I'll post one !… :-))

author
ynze (author)vincent75202013-02-17

Just start tinkering with the connectors and wire. You'll think of something while you're building it...

author
zubinshah (author)2013-02-16

Interesting! Will try one soon :)

author
techbitar (author)2013-02-15

Nice!

author
invisiblelight386 (author)2013-02-15

Here's mine! Three tooth brushes and a motor.

148487_181097161903904_7828844_n.jpg
author
ynze (author)invisiblelight3862013-02-15

Cool! Thanks for the post! It's a bristlebot gone crazy without a connector-wire skeleton. 3 months pro are on their way...

author
HicksCustomFurniture (author)2013-02-15

Love it! Will make a great activity for a youth group I run.

author
Tomdf (author)2013-02-15

I just about fell over laughing at :34 seconds, that video is hilarious!
+10 awesome points for the title

author
ynze (author)Tomdf2013-02-15

+10 points to you for a great comment. Thanks!

author
ynze (author)ynze2013-02-15

PS: I should credit David Bowie for the title here :-)

author
GorillazMiko (author)2013-02-14

Awesome!

author
ynze (author)GorillazMiko2013-02-14

Thanks! Make a few and flood the Instructable office with vibrobeasts :-)

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