Crawlerbots Took Over My Classroom!

Closeup view of my crawlerbot Inchworm made from a DVD drive.

Closeup view of my crawlerbot Inchworm.

Mention the word “bot” and you’ll get a large crowd of kids gathering around you. This was the case in my elementary school computer lab. The kids were so interested in robots, they practically beat down the door with requests for after school classes focused on building robots. They’d stop me in the hallway to ask if I had sign-up flyers ready to handout. Luckily, my school site tech kept me supplied with out dated technology from our surrounding schools. So, I had a large supply of DVD drives waiting for transformation. I searched YouTube and came across this fabulous project from #GrandadIsAnOldMan.

I studied the video and prototyped a similar version for the kids. I elected to solder the students’ wires to their switches, giving them a reliable connection.  With almost 30 kids taking the class, this resulted in several long nights in the classroom–something similar to Santa’s workshop, but with one exhausted elf.

numerous crawlerbots on a desktop

A parking lot of crawlerbots.

vhs tape

Students loved ripping tape from the VHS reels to get the cogged wheels.

9V battery snap connectors split in half

9V battery snap connectors split in half.

I used Radio Shack’s SPDT Mini Toggle Switch #275-0635. I wanted the wiring to be easy for the kids, so I decided to use 9V battery snap connectors, cutting open the vinyl cap and then cutting the postive and negative connectors apart. I also added a tiny alligator clip to help with on/off.

I jazzed up the front of the bot by applying a section of decorative duct tape to the plastic section from the soda bottle. Behind the plastic, toward the bottom, I glued a popsicle stick horizontally, thinking it would make the lower section more rigid and might help the bot move more efficiently.

Here’s a video of my bot in action.

[1. I learned this the hard way: make sure you extend the dvd’s tray forward before hot gluing the batteries in place; otherwise, the glue will flow down through the holes below, cementing both parts together. You will then have to drill out the excess glue to separate the parts.]

#GrandadIsAnOldMan #Crawlerbot #Robots

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