Preschoolers love artbots

Craft & Design
Preschoolers love artbots

I built a bunch of vibrating marker-legged artbots with the kids at my son’s preschool the other day, and it was great fun. We taped motors with an offset weight on their shafts to the top of some plastic cups, chose different colors of markers for the legs, and set them in motion creating beautiful artwork. I’ve never seen groups of five-year-olds so focused as they were during the artbot session.





20 thoughts on “Preschoolers love artbots

  1. rp71 says:

    Some part numbers for what you used would be great – sounds like a fun time ;)

    1. John Park says:

      I got open frame motors at All Electronics for $1.25 each, but they don’t seem to have those exact ones online. I had to solder copper wire to the shafts to make my offset weight for the eccentric motion (I put a nut at the end) but you’d be better off with something like this I think:
      or the beefier one:

      Add to that a batter holder. I used these:

      and then some double-stick foam tape, washable magic markers, and solo cups. Have fun!

      Also, I just found this link with lots of info about them (wish I’d found it a few days ago!)

      1. KentKB says:

        Nice one,
        Perhaps I may add this into MPD next year with the extra idea of “mining” the parts from Ewaste.

  2. Marc de Vinck says:

    Awesome John….I have to do with my kids.

  3. Chris Connors says:

    A super easy way to create the weight is to jam part of a hot melt glue stick onto it. Just set it so the glue stick is off center and it can work fine.

    1. John Park says:

      That’s a good idea Chris. I tried similar strategies with bits of cork, but they kept flinging off at high speeds!

  4. Nora says:

    These are AWESOME! Mo is still talking about how “cool” it was to see the green cup transform into a robot. His artbot artwork is proudly on display at home.

  5. Goli Mohammadi says:

    Super cool project, John!

  6. bwrich says:

    If you glue or attach the CAPS of the pens to the cups rather than the pen bodies, the caps can serve as the holders to the pens. If the pens are all the same type, you can mix and match the colors by swapping the pens out.

    1. John Park says:

      That a fantastic, clever idea. Thanks for sharing it.

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John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

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