Robotic Art: Make a Scribble Bot!

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This experiment is a really fun one, and there are so many ways to change it up!

Scribble Bots utilizes a small motor to draw on a large piece of paper with markers. It’s a fun lesson on robotics while allowing your child to be as creative as they’d like to be with the markers.

Let’s have some fun and make beautiful designs with a Scribble Bot!

How to make the Robotic Art Scribble Bot technology experiment

Supplies you will need

For this experiment, you will need the following:

I bought this inexpensive pack from Amazon that included the motor and battery holderOpens in a new tab. already in it, along with other pieces that I used in several technology experiments!

Before you start

Instructions

Here is how to do this experiment with your child:

Step 1: Tape markers to plastic cup

The first step is to tape the markers you choose to the body of the robot.

I chose to line up the blue wavy marking on the marker with the edge of the cup so I knew all of the markers were lined up with each other.

Taping the first marker to the cup, lining up the marking on the marker with the edge of the cup
All of the markers on the cup

Step 2: Decorate your Scribble Bot (optional)

This step is optional, but makes it so much more fun!

I chose to use some googly eyes, a pom-pom, and two bendy straws that were cut.

You can also just draw on a face with a Sharpie, use pipe cleaners for the arms, or anything else you want. Get creative!

Decorated Scribble Bot

Step 3: Add a weight to help vibrate motor

Next up, add a weight to the motor to help with the movement. If we don’t add a weight, the smooth motor will not move the cup and allow it to draw.

I chose to use a cut piece of a hot glue stick and a binder clip on top of it. I added the binder clip after experimenting, because the glue stick did not produce the results I wanted.

Placing a binder clip on top of the glue stick

Step 4: Hot glue battery pack and motor to cup

Now we’re going to attach the battery pack and the motor to the top of our Scribble Bot.

I used hot glue to attach everything because it’s easy to take it back off and reuse the components.

Use some hot glue on the back of the battery pack, making sure you don’t get hot glue into the holes.

Also put a drop of hot glue on the back of the motor, making sure you steer clear of any holes.

Adding hot glue on the solid pieces of the battery pack
Adding hot glue to the solid portion on the back of the motor
Completed Scribble Bot with electrical components on the top

Step 4: Let the artwork begin!

It’s best to have a large piece of paper (or several pieces of printer paper taped together), since your Scribble Bot’s drawing may be unpredictable. I also decided to use washable markers, which definitely came in handy when I had to clean up.

When you’re ready, move the switch on the battery pack (or place batteries in the battery pack if yours doesn’t have a switch) and let your Scribble Bot begin making artwork!

Placing a large piece of paper down
Flipping the battery pack switch so the motor starts up
Releasing the Scribble Bot on the paper

The technology and engineering behind the Robotic Art Scribble Bot experiment

This experiment teaches:

  • Introduction to basic robotics
  • Introduction to engineering concepts
  • Artistic expression

How it works

Making a simple Scribble Bot involves attaching markers to a body that has a motor and power source attached to it.

When we power the motor with batteries, the motor begins to spin and makes the cup move. The small weight we place on the motor allows the cup to vibrate and make fun patterns and unique designs.

It’s a fusion of mechanics, electronics, and creativity, offering an engaging way to explore basic robotics principles while producing art.

Introduction to basic robotics

This experiment is a fun way to introduce kids to some of the fundamental concepts of robotics, like understanding how motors and circuits work together to create movement.

When we attach the battery pack to the motor, we are creating a circuit. Building a Scribble Bot is a fun way to show a very simple circuit and play with the individual components to learn how it works.

Introduction to engineering concepts

The Scribble Bot experiment introduces kids to basic engineering concepts such as design, prototyping, and optimization.

We can use this experiment to take a look at the bot’s performance (are the markers all drawing on the paper? Is it moving in the way we want it to?) and make improvements.

Artistic expression

While learning about mechanics and electronics, kids can also explore artistic expression. We can see how simple movements can result in unique patterns on the paper, encouraging them to see art in unexpected places.

This cross-disciplinary approach builds creativity and helps kids look for how different subjects are connected.

More technology experiments to try out with your child

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