Making an Insect Robot

Who doesn’t want to make one? Let’s get right to it. You will need the following:

  1. A vibrating motor, one that is commonly used in cell phones. Where I live, they cost about Rs. 55 and are available in SP Road, as are all the rest of the components.
  2. A CR-2032 battery (and it’s corresponding holder). If that’s not available, try with a LR-44 battery. Or whatever else the shopkeeper gives you — he knows the best. Costs about Rs. 10.
  3. A switch.
  4. 6 resistors, of any value. We only need to use them for the insect’s legs.
  5. Some bits of electrical wire to make the connections. Old jumper wires will work just fine too.
  6. A perfboard — that’t the thing with lots of holes.
  7. Soldering iron and some solder. A third hand would be nice but it’s totally optional so long as you prop up the perfboard to solder the bits.
  8. A cutter (to slice the casing off the wires, cut the wires, etc)

But when you go to your electronics store buy atleast enough material to make 5 insect robots. Trust me, you will need the practice. And if you get all of them right at the first shot, imagine how awesome an army of insect robots can be.

Parts Overview

Take a look at the components, starting with the vibration motor.

It’s the uneven weight on the top that makes the motor vibrate when current flows through it (RED wire is positive).

Here’s CR-2032 battery (and the smaller LR-44 battery, any one will do)

And here it is now snug in its holder. The holder has two pins sticking out at the bottom.

Last, and perhaps the least interesting, resistors and the switch.

Each pair is switch. This long strip has many. Just snap them off as you need them.
Strip of resistors.
A jumper wire.

Start making the Insect Robot

The picture below shows the circuit we want to make in order to make the insect robot.

Lets start with the battery first. Place the battery in the holder and then fix the whole thing onto the perfboard.

Solder the backside. Now the battery is firmly positioned on the perfboard.

Now connect the positive end of the battery to the positive end of the motor. To do so, stick the RED wire through the hole…

…and then solder the two points on the back side.

Connect the other end of the motor to the switch. Again, the wires go inside the holes, and the soldering is done underneath.

Finally, connect the other end of the switch to the battery (negative terminal). For this, I used a long jumper wire, but of course, you can use a smaller strip of wire. (I liked the yellow loop because it gave the insect some “character”)

That’s it. The circuit is complete. Now just solder on the resistors which give the insect some legs to walk on.

Here is top view of the final circuit, with four legs soldered on. Six recommended.

Push the switch in and watch the insect robot go!

Find a kid (or three). Boundless curiosity will follow.

My first insect robot ended having a brain haemorrhage with all that beating on the perfboard. I took the insect back to the operating table, made some structural changes to the wiring of the motor, and after that things got much more stable. I’m sure your effort will have you innovating your own “fixes” along the way.

Good luck and hope you have a lot of fun making this critter!

PS: This post is based on this excellent YouTube video. But the author goes a bit too fast because he’s likely an expert in circuit making and soldering. I made this so the steps could be more clear to a novice maker like myself.