Giant BristleBot




About: I'm a full stack web developer focusing on security and privacy.

Bristlebots are some of the first robot people build. They are just SO EASY! Sitting around the instructables lab i got the idea, for the Giant BristleBot.

Warning, this device involves fast spinning objects and high torque motors. Letting it go for the first time is kinda scary. Watch your eyes.

Randofo gives this his seal of approval of awesome, so expect it to be in the next 62 projects to make with a dead push broom.

Below is a video of the death bringer. Thanks Matt for putting yourself in harms way.

Step 1: Supplies

You will need the following to complete this project:

1 push broom brush
1 6v lantern battery
1 large 12v motor (a machined shaft helps)
2 pipe clamps
1 piece of scrap acrylic or wood
1 on/off switch

Tools suggested:
Soldering Iron
Safety Glasses

Step 2: Attach the Acrylic Piece

First you want to attach the acrylic piece to the motor. Drill the acrylic near one side to unbalance the motor when it spins, making it vibrate.

I attached the acrylic with a regular nut on one side and an acorn nut on the other.

Once that it done turn it on to see if it vibrates enough, if it moves all around, then you did it right.

Step 3: Attach to Broomhead

Once the acrylic is secure, attach the motor to the broomhead with a pipe clamp.

Make sure the pipe clamp is nice and tight.

Step 4: Attach Battery and Wire Switch

Next on the other end of the broom attach the battery, again with a pipe clamp.

Then wire up the switch so you can access it easily, you don't want a bristlebot running around with no way to turn it off.

Step 5: Tape Up Counterweight

As a last minute safety precaution, i decided to tape up the fragile counterweight so if it does run into something and break, i won't have shards of acrylic everywhere.

Step 6: Test Ride

Once it's built and running its time to take it outside.

I let it run around the sidewalk, people gave me weird looks of course. it had a hard time going in a straight line and did fall down a lot.

Randy had a great idea of building a second one and attaching dremels to both of them. I questioned this being a good idea, his retort was "It'd Be AWESOME", can't argue with that.

Coming winter 2010 Bristlebot Battles on the Discovery Channel.

Please comment if you think this is an irresponsible use of tax payer dollars and/or feel i am putting children at risk for building such a device.



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    36 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Does it is dangerous?, i mean the spinning thing, btw looks amazing, thanks for sharing


    7 years ago on Step 5

    you don't need to do this step just turn it on...NEK MINNIT...THUNK!!!!!! now you cant see through your left eye


    8 years ago on Introduction

    maybe an idea to make it fall over less often; use a zip-tie (or equivalent) along the long side to widen up the bristles of the bot, so that it has a more stable stance. don't know what this will do with the complete "randomness" though, so it might not be perfect XD nice one though, i'm hoping for a car-sized one soon :P

    5 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    car sized bristle bot? we'll probably see it at burning man... no photos though, those guys are nazis about photo rights... you could probably still make it into an 'ible though...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    to solve the tipping over problem, you could take a reciprocating saw or other like cutting device, and cut the broom head in half lengthwise, giving you tow long thing bristly pieces. you could then take some light weight material like acrylic, and stick the two bristly strips on the bottom. this would make the whole thing a bit like a double-hulled catamaran, spreading the weight over a wider area while minimizing drag on the ground. Awesome idea by the way... i have a scheme brewing involving these bots.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job! I think a good addition might be an ultrasonic sensor so it can ping and find the dustpan-bot.
    Check out mine here, made with a horsehair shop brush and a $5. Walgreens personal (it's got lights in it) mas-sager.


    My thoughts would have been, if I still had a functional brain to think with, would have been... Two bristle heads with a small platform between them for the motor and battery. Of off balance acrylic blade as in the original, with the addition of a small propeller to provide forward motion and a cord attached to the tail to redirect it if needed. A slight tug one side or the other could change the direction, or a pull backwards would be a brake.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    if you had stiff enough bristles you could build two of these things and strap them on your feet, then you'd be like bristle blading, hehe or maybe attach them to the bottom of a skateboard deck that would be awesome !!!!! I just think it would be cool if someone built a rideable one.

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Lol ever try to stand on a broom? You'd need a whole ton of 'em. That would be cool, though.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I would love to make a bristleboard (like a skateboard but with bristles xD) but i would imagine you'd need a brush (or brushes) with very stiff bristles to take the weight of a person =/

    That video had me laughing out loud for real! XD All you need is a way to steer it, and it'll be even better. You could even hook several of them together to make a bristlebot train!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    what if you used two brushes (like a catamaran) and used an off balance fan blade with a remote control rudder

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Your two brushes idea could work pretty well, actually. No need for a fan blade/servos - you could just steer by varying the speed of each motor. It could even be built as a BEAM style phototrope.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I was thing two brushes one motor. the fan blade would give more directional control (pulling)