STEM Craft: DIY Drawing Robot

Give kids a fun introduction to robotics with this simple science project.

Looking for a fun science-fair-type project to make with your kids? Try this motorized draw bot that has markers for feet.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tools + Materials

  • disposable cup
  • (3) colored markers
  • heat-safe glue gun and glue sticks
  • electrical tape
  • AAA battery holder for two
  • (2) AAA batteries
  • 1.5-3 V DC motor
  • clothespin
  • popsicle stick
  • scissors
  • decorations for your bot such as: googly eyes, pom-poms and pipe cleaners

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Attach Markers to Cup

Glue three markers to the inside of the plastic cup. Make sure the markers are all glued at the same height otherwise your cup will be off balance. You’ll want to glue the markers so that they create a tripod and make it possible for the cup to stand on its own.

Attach Battery Holder

Use a strip of electrical tape long enough to be able to adhere the battery holder to the top of the cup. The tape will go over the holder, but underneath where the batteries will be installed.

Wire and Add the Motor

To make the robot ‘wiggle’ it uses a battery-operated motor, so the next step is to add the DC motor to the cup. Wrap the wire leads from the battery pack to the connections on the motor (heads up, these connections are very small) and pinch them closed. Use another strip of electrical tape to attach the motor to the side of the battery pack.

Add Decoration

Add decoration or make a face for your robot using pipe cleaners, pom-poms or googly eyes. Attach them using a heat-safe glue gun.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Install the Batteries

Install two AAA batteries into the battery holder to turn the robot on. The battery holder does not have an on/off switch so to turn it off, simply dislodge one of the batteries.

Add Some Weight

To teach kids a bit more about weight distribution, try adding a clothespin to the top of the motor. Let them experiment with how this changes the way the draw bot moves.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Remove the Marker Caps

Remove the marker caps from the markers and set your robot down on a surface that you can draw on (we covered our worksurface in butcher paper) and watch it go! It’s fun to see how the weight of the cup will cause the robot to spin and move in certain directions.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

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