Bristle Bots

Your Challenge: Can you build a bristle bot and make it move?


bristle bot


1 motor with two wires (1-volt to 3-volt motor) You can buy this at an electronics store or remove a motor from a broken electronic device that buzzes or vibrates

1 button cell battery (1-volt to 3-volt)

1 toothbrush with bristles set at an angle

Pliers/ Wire Cutters

Rubber Bands


Wire Stripper

Googley Eyes (Optional)


Here’s How:

1.) Cut off the toothbrush head using pliers or wire cutters. Cut the handle close to the bristles.

2.) Strip the end of the motor’s wires (You want about half an inch of the metal wire to show). Tape one wire to the top of the battery and the other wire to the bottom. (The motor should spin. If you don’t want it to spin while you are building it, remove one wire.)

3.) Fasten the motor to the top of the toothbrush head. Use a rubber band to hold it in place. Fasten the battery firmly to the top of the toothbrush using a rubber band.

4.) Make sure both wires are connected to the top and bottom of the battery.

Hint: If your bristle bot is spinning or not going straight, try shifting the weight of the motor and the battery. The position of the motor and battery affect how the bristles touch the surface.


Take It Further:

Bot Bowling: Use pipecleaners to create an arena for your bot. Set up light-weight objects for your Bot to knock over. Keep count of how many objects your Bot hit!



How It Works:

The current running from the battery to the motor causes the toothbrush head to vibrate up and down. When the wire are connected correctly, you create a closed circuit. The vibrations cause the bot to move.When the bristles of the toothbrush are tilted, the Bot scoots forward in that direction.


Related Careers:

Robotics Engineer

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