I had a request from a Year 6 Classroom Teacher who wanted some EdTech activities incorporating art as a subject area. They have been focusing on origins and history of art and this opportunity could be a perfect blend-in for learning tech in art.
The teacher requested to have some ‘take away’ component in the workshop, which they could then show their families what they have been doing in class. The Wigglebot or Drawbot sounded like a easy choice here, as its cheap to build and you get some amazing results with the drawings. That combined with some Augmented Reality using QuiverVision’s app and some colouring sheets sounded like a great 2 hour combo.
As it was Year 6 students and given the time ( Two 50 min blocks split by a morning tea break), I had the choice of either getting students to build the circuits themselves or solder circuits before hand to save time. I did go with pre soldering circuits ! 🙁
The concept of the wigglebot is simple. Colorpens fixed to a paper cup, attached with a motor and batteries which creates vibrations, makes erratic movements causing some cool designs on paper.
AAA batteries and battery pack
Slide Switch ( not essential but useful)
Materials like old coke bottles, cardboard etc. for propellor
If you are like me, I salvage hobby motors from old toys. They are usually 3V DC motors in RC Cars. Battery packs cost me 80 cents each. Motor is less than a dollar if you bulk buy from Ali / Banggood.
Reasons for choosing AAA over AA is simple. It provides the same output 3V but is lighter.
Adding a slide switch just makes things interesting, as most of the original drawbot / wigglebot designs don’t incorporate it. I do like to add a slide switch because you can conserve energy rather than let the battery run down or keep taking batteries out of the pack. I do the same with the bristlebots as well.
Circuit design is easy:
Battery pack goes into the motor via the switch. Make a cut in the black (negative) wire of battery pack. Solder free end of black wire into the side terminal of the switch. Solder the remaining piece of the cable, one end to the middle terminal of the switch, and the other end to one terminal of the motor. The red cable from the battery pack gets soldered to the other terminal.
Since its a DC motor, it doesn’t matter which terminal you solder red and black.
Tape up some color pens to the cup. Design a propeller for the motor. Now that’s where the creative aspect comes into play. Prop designs will determine the speed (and direction) with which the cup moves around. Kids love to experiment with different materials and so do provide a range.
Warning: Plastic prop can hurt as the DC motor does spin fairly quick so be watchful or eliminate that risk by keeping only cardboard.
Bluetack the motor and battery pack to the cup. Battery pack could go on the inside while the motor sits on top with propellor facing outside.
Get the best designed Wigglebot some prizes and get all wigglebots drawing together on a big piece of paper to create your own classroom art!