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Thursday, December 3, 2020
Home Education Make Scribblebots

Make Scribblebots

STEAM Fair 2020 Activity

Thanks to Chesapeake Arts Center

A ScribbleBot is a fun little robot that colors on its own!

What you need:

  • Plastic Cup
  • Marker (x3)
  • AA Battery
  • Battery Holder
  • DC Motor
  • Metal Washer
  • Tape
  • Googly Eyes (optional)
  • Washi Tape (optional)


How to build a ScribbleBot

  1. Attach washer to motor

    Wrap a piece of tape around your motor shaft like a flag, and sandwich a metal washer between two layers to attach a weight to the motor. This off-center weight will create the vibration for our Scribblebot!

  2. Thread wires

    Take the black and red wires from your battery holder and thread them through the terminals on your motor (the small flaps that look like ears)

  3. Attach wires to terminals

    Tuck in the wires or twist them around the terminals to make sure they stay secure. You want the wire to stay touching the terminals, even when your robot starts buzzing around!

  4. Place motor on cup

    Place your motor on top of the cup with the shaft hanging over the edge so the tape and washer can spin freely.

  5. Attach motor with tape

    Tape the motor and battery holder to the top of your cup. Make sure you use enough tape to keep things strong, but leave room for your battery and the spinning washer.

  6. Attach Markers

    Tape the markers to the outside of your cup like a 3-legged stool. Make sure each marker is even and the caps are all below the rim of the cup so they can easily be uncapped.

  7. Decorate ScribbleBot

    Now decorate with googly eyes and washi tape to give your Scribblebot some personality! (optional)

  8. Add the battery

    Make sure nothing is blocking the rotation of your flag. Then add in the battery with the negative side facing the spring, and watch your Scribblebot come to life!

How does it work?

Your Scribblebot uses a vibrating or offset motor to move around in erratic ways. The motor in your bot makes the weighted washer arm spin, which then makes the bot move.


Compare the different patterns your robots draw! Experiment with different designs. Consider changing the markers out for chalk or crayons, or adding an extra washer (extra weight) to your flag. What happens?

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