Itty Bitty Vibrobot




This is a quick, easy project to build a tiny vibrating robot, a vibrobot. Vibrobots dance around typically by having an off-balance motor make them jiggle.

This one uses a vibrating motor from an old cell phone, a 3V watch battery, and a paper clip. A little soldering, some hot glue, and you've got a vibrobot!

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Here's what you'll need:
1. A watch battery (I used a 3V, but you can probably use whatever you find)
2. A motor from an old cell phone
3. A big paper clip
4. Soldering iron, solder, flux (optional)
5. Hot glue gun
6. Electrical tape
7. Sharpie or other dark marker

Optional but helpful:
8. Metal file
9. Rubbing alcohol
10. Needlenose pliers for the bending

Step 2: Make the Legs - Part 1

Ok, since the whole bot will be vibrating like crazy, I wanted to make the legs out of one continuous piece of wire -- it should be less likely to fall apart. The paper clip was the perfect size and thickness. Here's how to make four legs out of a paper clip:

First, straighten out the clip, then mark out six equal parts. On mine, marking every 1 1/16" worked out fine.

An important note about bending the paper clip -- go slowly! Take a few seconds to make each bend, or it could snap. Also, for the angles that are greater than 90, make them rounded, so there's not so much stress at one point. It took me three tries to finish the legs. (See the last photo.)

Now, bend a 90 degree angle at the first mark.

At the second mark, bend it back completely.

Step 3: Make the Legs - Part 2

At the third mark, make another 90, but this time angle it away from the end you started at. Now you're working in 3 dimensions. Both pictures below are the same step, from different angles.

Step 4: Make the Legs - Part 3

At the fourth mark, make a 180, so the wire goes back the way it came.

At the fifth mark, make a 90, angling it away from the other two adjacent legs. After this step, you should be able to set the legs down, and have four points of contact. If not all four points touch, gently bend them until they do.

Step 5: Attach the Motor to the Battery

My motor was still sticky on one side, so I just stuck it to the top of the battery. I think it's double sided tape, which you could use if you need to, or maybe hot glue it.

Scuff up the bottom of the battery a little, I think it should help the solder and hot glue adhere. I used a file to mar the surface. Make sure you clean it afterwards with a little alcohol. I believe acetone will work better than rubbing alcohol, but use whatever you have around.

Your motor should have two wires coming out of it. Solder one wire to the bottom of the battery. I had trouble getting the solder to stick, so I reinforced it with a little electrical tape (which you can't see in the pictures).

Step 6: Attach the Legs to the Body

Now for the hot gluing. You should do all these steps quickly, before the glue has a chance to cool. (Note: I didn't really do the hot gluing on the surface in the pictures -- I did it on a counter top with parchment paper underneath. The glue doesn't stick to the parchment paper, so the bot doesn't get stuck down, and it also makes for easy cleanup.)

First put a fairly thin layer of glue over the entire bottom surface of the battery.

Now stick the legs on, keeping the three points of contact away from the soldered wire. Once you're happy with the placement of the legs, put a generous amount of glue over the points of contact. Don't be stingy!

I used a small piece of aluminum and line level to keep the plane of the feet parallel to the plane of the body. This is completely unnecessary -- you can just stick the legs on and they will be fine.

Wait for it to cool -- I stuck mine in the freezer for a couple of minutes to hurry the process along.

Step 7: All Done!

Once he's cooled, he's ready to go. To turn him on, just use a small piece of electrical tape to attach the free wire to the top of the battery. Put him down, and watch him dance!

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    37 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Too bad this is technically not a real robot.  A robot must respond to stimuli. However, vibrobots are always fun anyway.  Good instructable!

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Actually when you bump it thats a stimuli and when you bump them they go the other way don't they?

    Sergant Tinkers

    10 years ago on Step 1

    You could also use a vibrating motor from a cheap vibrating motor from walmart.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    can you user a pager motor instead of using vibrating motor that looks like a watch battery...??


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Lmfao. Outback Steakhouse might be a more appropriate target. I have actually seen a cockroach there!

    Lt. Duct Tape

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I found a way to remotely activate it and put it on my teacher's chair this morning!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i just made one, its awesome!!! I'm taking it to school tommrow

    If you have trouble soldering to a battery or other smooth surface than a drop of soldering acid on it will rough up the surface enough that it stichs better that solder to solder.

    1 reply

    an easier way to do it is use a file or sand paper (lots cheaper also). the only reason i use these 2 is cause no where i no sells solder acid