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The Solar WobbleBot is a great little project for kids and other beginners. I love that it can be made entirely from recycled parts, and requires no soldering.

I do this project with teens (ages 12 and up) in my enrichment programs at schools and libraries, where it's always a big hit. It usually takes about an hour to make.

The Solar WobbleBot is one of the projects from my first book of robot activities, Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future from Nomad Press, for ages 9-12.

I also have a "Souped Up" version -- which uses a Miller Solar Engine to store energy, letting it work in low light -- in my book Making Simple Robots from Maker Media, publishers of MAKE: magazine.

Here's how to make the no-solder Solar WobbleBot:

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

  • pencil with an eraser
  • 1.5 volt, low-inertia/low-speed DC motor with wires attached (or take one out of an old Walkman or DVD player)
  • solar panel (can be recycled from a solar garden light)
  • wire strippers
  • electrical tape
  • scissors
  • recycled CD or DVD
  • hot glue gun or glue dots
  • recycled clear dome from drink cup
<p>Hah, fun little bot!</p>
<p>awesome its so cool : D</p>
<p>This is cool!</p><p>Does the shaft have to be in the exact center of the cd?</p><p>Check us out at catsscienceclub.com and check out the wind turbines we used a dvd motor for.</p>
<p>Given that its mode of transportation is wobbling, there's plenty of room for play. :)</p><p>And nice turbine. I've done that project as well, but the structure itself wasn't as elaborate.</p>

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Bio: I write books of hands-on projects for kids and adults that combine science, tech, history, and art! My titles include Musical Inventions, Edible Inventions, Paper ... More »
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