Big $3 Solderless Bristlebot

About: I used to teach middle school science, but now I run my own online educational science website. I spend my days designing new projects for students and Makers to put together.

Toothbrush sized bristle bots are for kids. Lets take these bots one size bigger and see if we can get them to clean our floors.

Only $3 and takes all of five minutes. Completely solderless to boot.

For a smaller bristlebot kit thats great for adults and kids, visit You'll have a little bristlebot running around your place in no time.

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Step 1: What You Need

Most everything you need can be bought from the local Dollar Store, Radio Shack, or you probably have it in your house right now.

We also sell Bristlebot kits on the Brown Dog Gadgets website.

Dollar Store Items
$1. A Cheap Electric Toothbrush. We're stealing it's motor.
$1. A cheap scrub brush. Try to get one with little to no rubber grips on it.

Radio Shack
AA Battery Holder. With attached leads.
$0.50 A little switch. Optional really.

Around the house
Copper Wire. Steal from other stuff if you can, you only need a tiny bit.
Hot (melt) Glue Gun
Wire Strippers (Optional)
AA Batteries.

Step 2: Solder If You Want...

So my battery holder didn't have attached wires, so I added some with solder. Again, you don't need to solder anything if you don't want to. Just buy a battery holder with wires.

Step 3: Switches Me On

Oh cheap little switch, how nice you are.

Hook up your positive wire to the middle of the switch. Be sure to wrap that wire around there nice and tight!

Then wrap another wire around one of the other legs.

Seriously though, you only need like 2 inches of wire for this entire project.

Step 4: Motor Mouth

Hook up the wire from the switch to the motor.

Hook up the negative wire from the battery.

Don't worry about positive and negative when it comes to two tabs on the motor. In this case it doesn't matter one bit.

Make sure you wrap the wire around!

Now... give it a test....

Step 5: Glue Me Tight

Hot glue the battery pack, switch, and motor on.

Try putting the motor out front first. Rip it off and move it around if your bot starts going in circle.

You're finished. Gee, that was easy.

Step 6: Bending Softly

One thing you might want to try doing is bending the bristles back for a bit to give your bot a forward slant. This helps it move in a straight direction, as opposed just trying to spin left or right.

The easiest way to bristlebot up your life is by building a toothbrush bristlebot, something that's fun for kids of all ages.

But a kit for such a bot can be found over at Everything you need and no soldering involved.

Step 7: What Now Brown Cow?

Well seeing how easy that was....

If you're feeling extra creative why not try adding a solar panel to it and some LED lights?

Which I may have just done....

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    17 Discussions


    12 days ago

    Great idea, I plan on doing this with my cub scout den soon. With the motor, did the toothbrush have 1 or two batteirs? The ones I picked up had 1 AA battery but I think having two would be a little better. My concern is the motor burning out. Anyway to tell how much VDC these motors can handle?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    What is a "switch"? It says they're 50 cents at Radio Shack.I searched their website and got many hits, but none looked like what i need.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    and i wanna make a bigger 1 Joshua Zimmerman so can u give me some instructions on a bigger 1 or is is just double everything please help

    1 reply

    Yeah, just make everything bigger. It works. Look around youtube, some people have made ones that you can ride.

    Building them larger is much more fun interesting, in my opinion, the building them small. Plus you can always use it to clean your floor.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    cool bristlebot, im gonna make this one too! the only one i have made was from a small toothbrush head and a pager motor! thanks :) !

    1 reply

    The motor I pulled out of the dollar store electric toothbrush was surprisingly powerful. I keep forgetting to go and pick up another one.

    Post a photo of your finished bot here! I'd love to see.