Good Vibrations

A circuit of a motor and battery taped onto a piece of cardboard
A scrubbing brush with googly eyes and motor moves across a table

What do a mobile phone and an unbalanced washing machine have in a common? They vibrate.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been tinkering with one of the most pervasive activities in The Shed: vibrating robots (or vibrobots).

A simple circuit can be made from a battery or two, a couple of wires, and a motor. Once the circuit is complete, the motor should spin. This spinning rotational motion can be turned into vibrations by unbalancing the motor, adding some weight to the end. Wine corks work well; glue sticks from hot glue guns work even better. The motor should jump around like an unbalanced washing machine. Adjusting the position of the weight can change how it moves.

The motor (and the rest of the circuit) can be attached to something to make that something move: a scrubbing brush, a paper cup, a piece of cardboard. The vibrations tend to make things move erratically. The path can be traced by attaching the pen and letting it draw where it goes.

This is the simplest verision of a vibrobot, but the possibilities are near endless. Include a switch to turn it on and off. Add some lights to see it move it the dark. Create a few vibrobots and see how they interact.

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