Introduction: Solar Bug Borer

About: Renewable energy education is our mission! REcharge Labs provides curriculum, workshops, and hands-on experiment kits for educators and their students.

The idea behind the Solar Bug Borer, is that we constantly take inspiration from nature to create innovative and functional designs. It may be innovative to us, but nature has been honing the details for billions of years. This 'bug" can bore its way through material, and when needed scoop the debris out of its way. This is a very basic design from a bio-minded girl learning circuits. Her computer engineering brother would be proud.

Basic Materials:

Sturdy Cork Board

2 Small Solar Panels

2 Small Hobby Motors

1 Small piece of a Pool Noodle

4 Pipe Cleaners

1 Wooden Dowel Rod

1 Small Cardboard Tube

1 Hotel Corkscrew

2 Wine Corks

Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks


2 plastic wheel adapters

1 Plastic Spoon

Metal Washers (to use as weight balance)

Step 1: Cut the Cork Board

This thick piece of cork board is about 6 inches by 3 inches. Cut in half long ways.

Cut one long pieces in half on the short end.

Glue the two short pieces on top of each other, and to the back half of the long piece.

Step 2:

Using one pipe cleaner, tie the first motor to the front of the long cork board, underneath the cork board.

Step 3: Cut the Pool Noodle Into Wheels

Take a small section of foam pool noodle and slice four 1/2 inch to inch circular sections. Using a small dowel, gently poke a hole in the center of the circle for each piece. Attach one red plastic wheel adapter to each of the white turning pieces on the motor. Stick one red foam piece on each adapter. These will be your front wheels.

Step 4: Metal Borer

Slice a half inch piece of cork off of one wine cork. Poke a SMALL hole on the cut end. On the clean end hot glue the plastic end of the corkscrew to cork. Stick the corkscrew cork to the metal protrusion of the motor.

Step 5: Back Wheels

Cut a one inch piece of cardboard tube. Cut about a 3 inch piece of the wooden dowel. Glue the cardboard tube to the bottom of the back of the cork board. Slide the dowel through the cardboard piece. Take the remaining two foam wheels and attach to either end of the dowel. These are you back wheels.

Step 6: Motor 2

Attach the second motor to the top front of the cork board using another pipe cleaner. Cut the end of the spoon off. Glue the spoon to the second cork. Attach a second cork to the moving metal piece of the motor.

Step 7: Cardboard Sides

Cut small pieces of cardboard. Glue at a slight angle to to the sides of the cork board.

Step 8: Connect Solar Panels

Connect the smaller solar panel to the second motor. Connect the larger solar panel to the first motor. (Red to black, black to red).

Step 9: Balance and Finishing Touches.

Add additional weight to the back of the bug with metal washers to keep the front end from dipping. Add another pipe cleaner to the front as antennae. Add funky tape to the outside as decoration.