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This is the latest robot project my 1st grade daughter and I have been working on. I incorporated magnets into this robot in order to give her creative ways to design her robots. Plus, what kid doesn’t like playing with magnets? 

We used a small tin, different sized magnets, different kinds of hardware (nuts, bolts), pipe cleaners, paper clips, felt circles, vibrating motor, 3v cell coin battery, toothbrush heads and a small rolling wheel.

Following are a few different designs we created. The possibilities are endless.

DIY Tin Robots

My daughter loved making her tin bot. Think of it as the Mr. Potato Head of bots. Kids can use their imagination to place magnets where they want them and use different hardware, pipe cleaners, paper clips for the eyes, arms, nose, mouth, etc. It was fun to show her how these other parts became magnetized themselves when coming into contact with a magnet. She had fun hanging all types of small metal parts off the arm bolts which became magnetized from being in contact with the circle magnets they were attached to.

This tin robot also has a small vibrating motor attached to the bottom connected to a 3V cell coin battery in order to make the robot move around. Following is a picture of how this is wired up.

tin robot motor

The aluminum tape has the red wire sticking to it and the blue wire is stuck to the bottom of the battery which is stuck to the tin with double sided tape. When you want to turn the motor on, simply stick the aluminum to the top of the battery making sure the exposed metal wire touches the battery.

You can modify how the robot moves by placing the toothbrush heads in different positions and also placing the motor in different positions. Following are 3 different videos showcasing different placements and how the robots movement differs with each design.

This bot has no spin wheel but 3 toothbrush heads with the motor out the front. This design causes the robot to spin in circles.

This bot has a small wheel on front and 2 toothbrush heads on back. This design keeps the robot more steady but it is a little slower moving.

This tin robot has toothbrush heads in front for the feet and the small wheel in the back. This design causes the robot to move straight but it moves even slower.

If you created your own tin robot share it below in a comment. Either post the link to your YouTube video or to your Pinterest pin.