DISCOBOT: Dancing, Robot Style!




Introduction: DISCOBOT: Dancing, Robot Style!

It all started when I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and instantly fell in love with BB-8. I decided, right then and there, that I wanted to make a robot that people would fall in love with.

AND SO... DISCOBOT was born! DISCOBOT is a completely original robot, so feel free to tweak or improve the design! This adorable, easy to make robot boogies along to whatever music you put on while spinning its own little rainbow "disco ball"! It's movement was inspired by the disco, but if you think it looks different, name it differently! Be sure to share your names in the comments below. Most of all, have fun, and dance along with DISCOBOT, the cutest robotic dance partner you will ever see!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Parts

I made DISCOBOT out of the frame of an old toy train. The best strategy in robotics is to scavenge- I tore apart an old Xbox controller and used its motors to make tiny vibrobots, and used an old toy to make a little table top robot. All this was under a $5 budget!!!

So go to your local Goodwill (or whatever thrift store is nearest you) and look through the aisles. Anything motorized will do (and it is strangely fun to tear up old toys. However, screwdrivers are better than bare hands. I learned this the hard way.)

-2 DC (direct current) motors (optional) If you find anything better at a thrift store, use it! (ie: a gearbox that has two motor outputs) PLEASE NOTE that the 2nd motor is optional. You don't need it if you don't want to have the 'disco ball'!

-3 AAA batteries OR 2 AA batteries

-A battery holder with +/- leads

-2 wheels on an axle (easy to find on RC toys or cheap stuff at a thrift store)

-Stabilizers... anything strong will do! I chose some cheap, U-shaped metal supports with threads for a nut

-Duct tape of any color


-Index card


Step 2: Tools

-Soldering iron (and solder)

-Hot glue gun ( and glue)

Step 3: Experimentation

This is the hardest part of this project. I encourage you to try many different options, but you should end up with a gearbox that spins around on little wheels. To make it 'boogie' put different size wheels on the axle, giving it a cute little rhythm.

Also, experiment with how the stabilizers help by taping them to the gear box with duct tape. I put my stabilizers at a purposely uneven angle to give the robot a little more 'clunk'. This is shown in the photos above.

Step 4: Wiring

This is a very simple wiring system. First, take your batteries and put them into a battery holder. Then you must solder the + (red) wire to one of the leads on the switch. Take a stripped wire (loose) and solder to the other lead on the switch.

Now, solder the other side of the stripped wire onto one of your motor leads. Polarity shouldn't matter but be sure to test before soldering. Take the - wire from the battery holder and solder it onto the other lead. NOTE: if you have 2 motors but 1 set of leads, disregard the next step... Then, take another stripped wire and solder it between the 2 empty motor leads. A simple wiring chart is shown above.

Step 5: DUCT TAPE!!!!!!!

Of course, this is everyone's favorite part! ;)

Cover the whole thing with duct tape. Feel free to get obsessive about it. (However, make sure it holds together!)

If you have the 2nd motor for the disco ball, cut out a circle about 1 inch in diameter from the index card. Now, make a design on the circle. For best results, make sure there is no white showing. Then use the hot glue to secure the circle to the motor. When you turn on the motors, your robot should dance around and the colored circle will spin.

Step 6: Problem Solving

If your robot doesn't start, check the soldering joints. Re-solder if needed.

If re-soldering doesn't help, replace the batteries.

If one or more of the motors slows down or stops, make sure there are no obstacles or things blocking the motors. Also, peel off the hot glue if needed, since sometimes the weight of the glue blocks the motor. If this happens repetively, use tape instead of hot glue to attach the colored circle. Feel free to do some sketches or diagrams (see above).

Step 7: Optional Decor

I used the flip side of a button from an old game controller to make a face for DISCOBOT. It turned out very cute, so if you want to add a face, you can. Perhaps draw a smiley face on the duct tape? It's up to you.
Also, I took a label maker and printed out DISCOBOT on it. Again, these are all optional, but if you have the time to do it, I find it adds a lot to the personality of the robot.

Step 8: Enjoy!!!

Enjoy DISCOBOT!!! I found that it is really fun to mimic his moves. It's good exercise too! I have entered this Instructable into some contests, so please do DISCOBOT and I a favor, and please vote for us in the Full Spectrum Laser and Hack your day contests! Your support means a lot to us. Thank you so much and I sincerely hope you enjoy making DISCOBOT!!!

Hack Your Day Contest

Participated in the
Hack Your Day Contest

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Raspberry Pi Contest 2020

      Raspberry Pi Contest 2020
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest

    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I'd love to see a video too! Great instructable!


    4 years ago

    Its so cute in its ugliness:D Can you make a video of your discobot dancing?


    Reply 4 years ago

    I have one but I'm yet to post it... Thanks!