Introduction: How to Build Your Modular Vibrating Robot

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Electronics + LEGO + sugru

Modular Vibrating Robot !

Since a couple of years I have been playing with the wonderful HEXBUG, but I started to get frustrated by the
- Shape and size : That I wasn't able to change.
- Power : the HEXBUGS are great but not very powerful little robots, I was interested in power application
- Modularity : I love modularity and the capacity of changing / tweaking things.
I was looking for a way to make something like HEXBUG, but modular and extendable...

Sugru is great for that : 
- It maintains the small elements as I solder them
- It sticks to everything (pretty much) Electronics + LEGO, easy. 
- Keeps my circuit / cables tidy and short-circuit proof. 
- Great at connecting vibrating elements (my motor provides 6G, that's many more times more vibration than the HEXBUG)
- Makes my tiny robot super strong
- If I am not happy with the robot, I can cut sugru and recycle the parts. 

This instructables was made at TechShop SF for by Cesar Harada

So, Let's get started !!!

Step 1: Parts

Parts -- 
Total budget parts : 9.8 GBP | 9.65 USD  /  per vibrating block. You can get cheaper if you make a few of them :)

  • Soldering irons
  • Stripping pliers 
  • Pliers
  • Tissue paper to clean your fingers off sugru

Step 2: Switch

  1. Flip the coin cell holder on it's head with the "legs" -pins- up. 
  2. Prepare a little "ball" of sugru between your fingers. 
  3. Stick that little ball of sugru under the mini-switch. 
  4. place the switch on top of the cell so one leg of the switch touches one pin of the coin cell holder. 
  5. Solder one switch pin to one of the coin holder. It is easy with sugru, it holds the switch in place as you solder it :)

Step 3: Motor

Position the component
  1. Strip the wires of the motor
  2. Prepare a little ball of sugru between your fingers
  3. place the ball of sugru on the bottom of the motor
  4. Place the motor on the coin cell holder, next to the micro-switch. 

  1. Solder the red (+) of the wire to the switch middle leg if the other that is soldered in on one end (as you see on the picture). Alternatively, solder the (red) wire to either side leg if the one you've soldered before to the coin cell holder pin was the middle one. 
  2. Insert the coin cell battery. 
  3. turn the switch on and touch the free coin cell pin : it should vibrate - that is the test. If it doesn't work, turn the switch to the other position. Testing allows you to avoid soldering the wrong pins. Don't worry, you will not electrocute yourself, the power of the battery is very low and harmless. 
  4. Solder the remaining black wire to the coin cell pin. 
  5. You're all set for this step ! You can turn off your soldering iron and let it cool down :)

Step 4: Lego

And that's the magic bloc that will transform you vibrating robot into an ever extendable vibrating unit !
  1. Take a generous ball of sugru and attach it to the top (male side) of the brick. This way the female side of LEGO remains accessible. 
  2. Prepare a rather homogeneous coat of sugru and add a bit of extra in case you have to fill up large gaps. 
  3. Stick the lego foot covered in sugru on top of the motor and switch. make sure you have a good access to the switch still.  
  4. Adjust the position of the foot so it stays horizontal
  5. Clean up the extra sugru so it looks neat. 
  6. Clean your fingers with a paper towel :)
Before you attach any shoe under the newly built vibration unit, you will have to LET SUGRU CURE for a good 6 hours (from my experience. One cured, this little vibration unit should a solid block. 

Step 5: Shoes

Now you've got a vibrating unit with a lego foot : YOU CAN CREATE ANY VIRBATING ROBOT YOU WANT !!!!

Flick through the images and you will see many small Lego I made :
  • Single point sugru legs
  • needle legs
  • tripod
  • sugru arachnid (8 legs)
  • short and long metal wire legs
  • You can use the LEGO little wheels. 
and much more !!! No limits to your imagination.

The coolest thing is that you can now make a vibrating robot of any shape and size. Do it, undo it, start over again, expand.  You can add several vibrating blocs to existing projects you already have !

Step 6: Play !

You can now make a vibrating robot of any shape and size!
Do it, undo it, start over again, expand.  You can add several vibrating blocs on one machine, or even add vibration capability to LEGO projects you already have !
  • Make things move freely on a flat surface
  • Make a race : How can go faster from point A to B? Have multiple robots compete!
  • Guided missile ! Can you adjust the legs of you vibrobot and target something far? A bit like golf but with a vibrating robot!
  • Organise a parkour or race tracks with obstacles!
  • Oragnize vibrobot fights - like sumos - on an elevated platform. Who will stand last?
  • I attached some magnets to LEGO blocs and see if randomly moving robots could move around and even self-assemble...  What I mean : check this video of self assembling structures made of robots moving in random patterns :
  • You could even add the vibration function to facilitate self-assembling structures (credit to Skylar Tibbits)
  • And from our Russian friends, you can give yourself some acupuncture vibrating massage with these :)
YAY !!!

Lastly if you consider stop brushing your teeth, I highly recommend these little guys

Thanks for reading !!!