Meet Bristlebot Charlie

Bristlebot an Easy project for kids

We had a snow day in our homeschool family. We didn’t take the day off from learning but we did play in the snow some which is unique for our area. I don’t remember having snow last winter at all.

We found time to do a fun electric project that we have wanted to do for some time now. Meet Bristlebot Charlie (pictured above).

Lets get started. Anyone from age 5 to 105 can do this safe, fun electrical project (with supervision of course).
Here are the ingredients for a rewarding Homeschool, Girl Scout or Boy Scout project:

The parts for a Bristlebot
The parts for a Bristlebot

The parts list is short. A toothbrush (new or old), a vibrating motor (available on Ebay or your local electronics supply store), a battery (we chose a watch battery), some glue dots and a pair of wire cutters is all you will need.

Carefully cut the brush part off the toothbrush handle. We used the wire cutters and it cut like butter. Just cut slow and steady while you hold the long side. We used a glue dot to hold the motor to the brush. Our motor had extra long wires on it and we didn’t want to cut the wires too short as we may use the motor in another project. The wires wrapped around the handle caused our Bristlebot to be unbalanced and tip over so we solved the problem by using 2 brush tops side by side. We attached the battery with a glue dot too. We used tape as a switch to hold the positive wire to the battery. This worked well but came undone sometimes due to the vibration. An idea that worked better was to attach a small magnet to the top of Charlie and that held the wire in place as well as giving him a sophisticated look.

Actions of the Bristlebot. Bristlebot Charlie is an unique creature. The brush moves all around on the table delighting the children. Depending on how the motor/battery are balanced Charlie moves in different ways. Sometimes he spins in a circle and sometimes he moves in a long curve. It is hard to predict where he will go next. Z-girl introduced him to the dog which made the the dog nervous as he didn’t know what to make of the vibrating bug toy.

Charlie the Bristlebot!!
Charlie the Bristlebot!!


The magnet helped keep the creature balanced and added weight. The magnet also made the top surface wider and allowed room for more decoration. Z-girl made a swirling picture for the top that produced an hypnotic effect.

She added some googly eyes that gave Charlie extra character. A pipe cleaner topped him off. The vibration caused the Googly eyes to google all around while the creature zipped this way and that making it extra comical.

A few ideas:

Try using a feather, some scrap paper, more googly eyes, glitter paint.

Try using an AAA or AA battery.

Try using a Bigger Brush and making a brushbot.

Use your imagination and have FUN!

A Homeschool Snow Day
A Homeschool Snow: Day Z-girl ZIPS down the hill

Please feel free to leave your comments and ideas.

Tech Dad