The Adorable Metal-Finding Robot!

We already posted about our craft date, and Caitlin already wrote about her amazing DIY camera. What did I work on (while not helping herย in the how-is-anyone-supposed-to-do-this-with-two-hands moments)?

Well…

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“BEHOLD! THE METAL-DETECTOR-ROBOT-INATOR!” We may have been watching way too many old Phineas & Ferb episodes recently.

Caitlin gave this to me quite a while ago, but I had never taken the time to sit down and work on it, so our craft date was the perfect opportunity. The little robot kit is basically a rolling metal detector – you can make it roll forwards and backwards with a simple two-way switch on a wired remote control.

The build of this kit was very simple and straightforward – definitely geared to a young audience.

That’s no bad thing, though – partly because it freed time to help with the camera when needed, and partly because it meant I could admire some of the finer details that would probably be lost on some younger builders.

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Gears!

It would have been pretty easy to have the motor mounted in line with the wheels, and a simple 1-to-1 gear to make the little robot move forwards and backwards. This setup with the worm gear, though, gives the builder more to do, lets people see what a worm gear is and how it works, and keeps the shape of the final package very tidy.

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Stopper in, wired and ready.

Probably wisely, the setup for taking power from the battery/remote controller to the motor is really foolproof and avoids live wires being exposed.

The cord for the remote is long enough that you don’t have to crawl along beside it – it would also be easy to splice a longer wire still if you wanted to use the robot for practical purposes, or to have lots of wire leftover if you had the electrical chops to add an onboard battery and wireless control.

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The googly eyes aren’t required, but definitely add a lot of personality.

The final robot is a cute little thing, and you could conceivably use it as an alternative to one of those workshop magnet sticks if you’re worried about dropping something metallic – either because it would be adversely affected by magnets, or just for fun.

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Is that METAL? Let’s go find out!

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It’s got a place on the shelf next to the projects for our next building date now!

 

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