HOWTO make a vibrobot

Over at StreetTech, Gareth Branwyn posted directions to build fun vibrobots, small solar-powered robots that shimmy and shake their way through the world thanks to a vibrating motor cannibalized from an old pager. The plans come from Zach Debord, a master of miniature robots who Gareth profiled in the current issue (Vol. 8) of MAKE. (Link to PDF of the article.) From Gareth's guide:
 Storypics Vibrobot Partcallout The key to Vibrobot movement is a motor (or motors) that employs an unbalanced weight. Pager and other motors used to create vibration alerts in consumer electronics use this technique. As the motor shaft spins, the weight on the shaft, being off-kilter, makes the motor, and therefore the entire pager, vibrate. Hook such a motor up to a little robo-critter with four fixed legs, and when the motor fires and the weight starts spinning, the bot will skitter across the floor. That's all there is to it. Since the legs don't need to be articulated or driven, there are few mechanical challenges in building a Vibrobot. The power circuit is very simple too. The simplicity of the mechanics and electronics frees you up to put more effort into making the bots look incredibly cool.

Previously on BB:
• HOWTO make a twin-engine solar rolling robot Link
• HOWTO: Build a Robot from a Coat Hanger Link
• New: "Beginners Guide to Building Robots" book Link
• DIY rodent-powered nightlight Link


  1. Finkbuilt has a cool lower-tech version suitable for younger kids:

    I used it to teach “inventing” to my Daughter’s Kindergarten class. I gave them the basic idea and let them experiment with the placement of the motor, the weight etc. For example, one of the kids suspended the motor with tape inside the cup.

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