Monday, 24 March 2014


A while back, I saw a cool little robot project by Jérôme Demers. I first encountered the Beetlebot on the Instructables website. The Beetlebot is a very simple (and cheap) design requiring only a handful of accessible electronics components (2 motors, 2 lever switches a battery clip and some wire).

I won’t bore you with a description of the build since his page (and several others including the Make! site) have done this. It would also appear that Jérôme’s design has made it into a couple of “Science Education” pages, tutorials, demos etcetera.

I present, however, my build of the Beetlebot …

Picture 22

Where Jérôme uses some shrink wire cover to act as the “wheels” of his Beetlebot, I’ve simply used two more wooden beads hot-glued to the shafts of the to motors.

I’ve been collecting the bits and pieces for this bot for a while (I had some of the parts, but I needed to buy a motor, a battery clip and some spade connectors) and I finally got around to building the project.

While I was soldering, I found it difficult to solder in the connecting wires. My old eyes are not what they used to be … I was using my reading glasses and a magnifying glass to be able to see the connections well enough.

Picture 23

I used solid core wire for the connections rather than multi-strand so that the wire “behaved” better while I was soldering … plus I had some leftover pieces from my last project.

Picture 24

The spade connectors had to be cut down so that the antennae didn’t interfere with each other too much when they activated. I simply used my side-cutters and then soldered the straightened paperclip into the socket before crimping.

Picture 25

The build went very well and I didn’t have very much rework to do. The only real hassle was when I was hot-gluing the trundle-wheel paperclip to the battery clip. It didn’t want to work all that well, so I am supporting the glue with some electrical tape. I also used both hot glue and electrical tape to hold the motors onto the brass strip.

Also, the hot glue blob for the passenger side antenna was a bit excessive and interfered with the operation of the antenna … so I did a little scalpel work.

Picture 26

Balance is important with the Beetlebot. Make sure that you follow Jérôme’s instructions about placement of the motors … if they are too far back, the Beetlebot will face-plant a lot.

The antennae come off very easily, the first time I let my Beetlebot free, it scuttled straight under my lounge chair and left one of it’s antennae under there.

All up, this build cost me about $12AUD and I bought all of the electronic components from eBay. The beads came from Spotlight and the paperclips came from my office.

The project took me about 1 ½ hours to complete … maybe I’ll make a carapace for my Beetlebot, but then again, I quite like the way it looks now. I wonder if I can get away with not giving this toy to my darling daughter?

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