Introduction: The Funbot - Basic Motorised Extensible Robot

Hello everyone.

Today I'm going to show you how to build the FunBot - a super easy motorised robot that can hang around, draw patterns, spin around and turn into a wheel-bot. It is extensible with parts, relays and even micro-controllers but this little beauty can be made in an afternoon or hour and runs of standard objects.

You'll need:

Either a 9V Battery or 2xAA Batteries. It is best that the nine volt battery is in a snap and the AAs a holder but it doesn't matter.

Two small electric motors of any rpm and torque. They don't have to be the same - best not to be, really!

Optional - Breadboard or connection hub. You'll have the batteries +&- on different rows and you'll plug the +&- of the motors in the corresponding side.

A small amount of cardboard at least 1/10 inch thick (in other words no that thick at all).

A sticky note and pen, or just a pen.

Before we start, make sure all your components have two wires on them. If you are using 2 naked AAs then tape them together and wire them parallel.


Step 1: Step 1: the Base

For most applications it is practical to have a base. This was originally meant to be a prototype for Hoverboard. Cut out a clean piece 5" squared. In the centre, both opposite each other on the sides cut out two small holes for the motors. Make them big enough so that they will tightly fit in there.

Tape or glue on the battery pack and breadboard, but leave the motors off.

Take out your sticky notes and write the FunBot logo on, or your own.

Step 2: Wiring

Stick your motors in the hole. Fasten if need be with tape.

Take out your breadboard or connector device. You'll have to port it from breadboard if you want to use something else.

At the start of one row connect your battery's +.

At the start of another connect your battery's -.

Now connect one wire from each motor to the plus row and one from each motor to the minus row.

You should have the shaft of each motor touching the ground now.

Step 3: Tricks

Now that you've built the FunBot, we'll start with the spinning round in circle trick.

Flick a switch (if your holder doesn't have one put one in the breadboard circuit or just tape the wires together and pull apart as needed) and watch it spin round. If it doesn't, merge one or both of the motors slightly on an angle or push one slightly higher than the other.

The second 'trick' is to make it run into walls. Simply place it near a wall and watch it die. Leaving it there for a bit, still on might make it move back and continue on its wall-bumping adventure.

More tricks follow!!

Step 4: Fun With a Piece of String.

Next job for your FunBot is a piece of string. Place a piece of string under the FunBot then switch it on. After your motors start making a weird noise turn it off. You should have a coil of string on one or both of the motors shafts.

Try this with some flexible wire. It will make a coil. Your robot can be very helpful with your endeavours in radio coils!

Step 5: FunBot Cleaner

You saw how the FunBot picked up some string. You can use your FunBot as a cleaner!!!

1. Make two small wide paper cones.

2. Push them onto the motor shafts and make sure they won't come off.

3. Coat the inside of the cones with sticky, slow drying adhesive or Blue Tack.

4. Once activated, your Funbot will patrol the room and suck up any dust. Any string will cop it, but other than that, don't use the bot in an environment with solids bigger than a 1x1 LEGO Brick.

NOTE: This doesn't actually suck it up - it traps it in there then the moving air pushes it onto the cone.

You will need to replace the cone after an half hour of FunBot Cleaning.

Step 6: Bouncing Ball FunBot

You will need 2 or 4 ping pong balls.

Adhere the two balls to the motor shafts. Add an optional two at the front and back to allow full coverage.

Once the device is switched on it will jitter around and bounce.

Use this mode on terrains where plain shafts will not work, such as wood/tile/lino/grass/ground.

Step 7: Extendabilities

You've made your FunBot and crafted many useful modes!

What if you changed the base design? Added wheels? A crayon to mark the trail it went on? Microcontroller support?

Or you could use a PIR with a relay to turn it on or off? Then if you were burgled your FunBot on wheels would run up towards them and knock them over with its metal metre-high bumper. And you could connect a buzzer to your relay.

A DPDT switch could control speed and you could add in a Bluetooth Module? I will show you how to do all these things in a series of later tutorials.

Till next time

Maker out!!