STEAMhome: Scribblebots


Make your own robot that scribbles!

A scribblebot is a robot that has pens, pencils, or markers attached to it that help it to scribble on paper. They're super fun to make and don't require a lot of pieces. In just an hour you will have made your very own scribblebot.

What you will need:

  • Hobby motor (1.5 to 3V in size)
  • Alligator clip wires
  • Weight (to offset the motor we recommend large binder clips, erasers, clay, or hot-melt glue stick)
  • Attachments (Thick rubber bands, Masking tape)
  • Recyclable containers (yogurt cups, strawberry boxes, plastic cups, etc)
  • Washable markers
  • Batteries (double AA, triple AA, lithium batteries)
  • Decorative elements (googley eyes, pipe cleaners, LEDS with lithium batteries)
  • Butcher paper or poster board to draw on!

How to Make Your Scribblebot

Design, test, refine, and retest for this kind of project. Follow these steps to get your bot to start scribbling:

  1. Connect motor to battery
  2. Experiment with ways to offset motor
  3. Attach your offset motor to it
  4. Attach one or more markers
  5. Test out scribble bot on some paper

Some Questions to Ask

  • What can I do to make the pattern more or less uniform?
  • What happens when I reverse the wires on the motor?
  • Can I produce a drawing that is not circular?
  • Can I produce solid versus dotted lines?
  • What kind of design makes the machine travel farther/shorter?

Helpful Resources

About STEAMhome

STEAMhome is a blog series sharing science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) projects with families and caregivers to make at home with children. For more STEAM program ideas and resources, check out the Maker[Space]Ship's Learning Launchpad for Caregivers.

Add new comment

Comments are expected to follow the basic rules of civility and be relevant to the topic being commented upon. Comments will be reviewed prior to posting. Blog comments represent the views of the person commenting, not necessarily those of San José Public Library. For more information see SJPL's Comment Guidelines.