Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

bug 1

by sssidney, published

bug 1 by sssidney Feb 20, 2012
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bug 1 by sssidney is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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My first pass on making a printable bristlebot bug thing.


I'll add more pics, instructions, parts list etc. soon.
I obviously also plan to make it look a little better than a box on legs! :)

Update 3/2/12 - changed the tools used to make this from lightwave modeler to openscad. This is my 1st attempt at using openscad.

MHSS1104 - APEM Slide Switches Microminiature
DCM-382 - VIBRATING MINI-MOTOR - from here:

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this version I changed the tools used to make this from lightwave modeler to openscad. This is my 1st attempt at using openscad.

The 2nd version I made is kind of a hack to see if splitting the top and printing them on their sides would make the legs stronger. It worked. I
’m going to make the top again from scratch this weekend because I don’t like how the split affected the rest of the part. I’m also going to beef up the pegs/holes used to fit the pieces together. Oh yeah I’ll finally get the switches I’ve ordered by this weekend so I’ll actually wire u
p a working bug! Then I’ll see if battery support is needed.

What keeps the battery in?

The battery slot is sized to be a tight fit. The plastic flexs enough to allow you to push the battery in. If vibration causes the battery to fall out then I'll add support to the bottom to keep the battery from falling out.

It looks like the electronics housing part (motor, battery, and wires) can just be glued onto onto the end of a cut-off toothbrush. Having a plastic housing sure would beat the tape and hot glue I use now.

I think the problem with putting everything on top of a cut-off tooth brush is that it becomes very top heavy and falls over easily. Lowering the weight makes it much more stable. The other choice is to make it wider. I didn't do this because the kids have a track these bugs run on and it's pretty narrow.

Awesome. I've been working on a printable vibrobot design off-and-on for a while but never came up with anything I was happy with.

Printing it in 2 pieces opens up a lot of possibilities.

I uploaded a 2nd version which splits the top in half so it can be printed with the bristles horizontal as suggested.

I haven't had a chance to print this version yet. I will tonight.

Thanks for the help and suggestions.

Anybody now of a cheap battery source for the size of battery these take? I think LM44 or something similiar. I'm going broke trying to keep these powered for my kids. A design with a rechargeable capacitor would be nice. Anybody?

One place I have found with these button cells cheap is actually the Dollar store. Specifically the Dollar Tree stores carry these batteries in packs of 6 or 8 for a dollar. If you want to buy in large quantities they sell them by the case on http://dollartree.comdollartree.com. 72 blister packs to the case.

Quick search on Ebay shows 100xLR44 for 4.95 + free shipping from USA (among others)

Thanks mkellnerl. I should've checked ebay first. I just bought 100 for $5 off ebay.

You get these 5F standby caps (3.3v) which should do fine, even if it only keeps the bot spinning for a minute or so. "Recharging" would be as simple as touching the bot to a charging station, something as simple as two "D" cells in series.

My guess is the kid's energy will run out first...


This is about R60 ($8) for a around 5F (you can go up to 150F for substantially more dosh...)

Do the bristles break easy? It seems like if you cut it lengthwise and printed each half on its side then you could print the bristles the strong way.

The bristles are a bit fragile. Printing on its side is an interesting idea. How would it make it stronger?

If you print it so that the bristles are horizontal, then they can be printed by a continuous stream of plastic for the length of the bristles. If you print it so that the bristles are vertical, then they are printed by a series of small plastic circles, stacked up, which is probably not as strong due to all of the 'joins'.

If I had to guess, splitting the 'bug' in half so that the left and right side bristles lie flat on the platform would be stronger than the way you've got them aligned.

I pulled the motor out of an Oral-B Pulsar toothbrush. I was leading a cub scout meeting teaching the cubs how to make bristlebots based on this:


afterward I thought this would be much cooler if it had a 3d printed body...

Neat! What motor did you use? I just ordered a iphone vibration motor (tiny and only
€1,20) at ebay to tinker arround...

Pager motors work well. Find an electronics recycling place near you and they are likely to have them for cheap.