Here’s a fun and easy action game: the Spin ’N Spill Balancing Bot. Stack the gears onto the tippy balancing robot — but be careful! If you cause him to drop or spill, you lose!

This game is easy to make, especially if you have access to a laser cutter. 1/8″ MDF is a good material to use: light and strong (and cheap!), and easy to get the balancing right.

Cut Parts

Look here for some useful files. There’s an Adobe Illustrator file with vector art for the laser cutter tool path and also bitmap art for engraving the Makey bot design. If you have access to a Glowforge laser cutter and some of their Proofgrade brand medium Draftboard MDF, jump right to the .svg file and you’re ready to go (Figure ). If not, you may have to adjust the dimensions of the slots and tabs to match your laser cutter’s kerf (the amount of material burned away). Also, you may need to adjust for the actual thickness of your chosen material.


With all the parts cut out, assemble them by matching the lettered slots and tabs. See the assembly sketch (Figure ) for help. At the bottom of the bot is a sliding compartment, which holds up to 9 quarters as a counter weight. Hold the coins in place while sliding in the smaller part, trapping them all together. Test your bot by balancing it over the edge of a table. You can add or remove coins to adjust the tippiness.


Spin the spinner; you’ll get 1, 2, 3, or SKIP. Place that number of gears onto the bot’s hands without touching him or impeding his swing and sway. Be careful: If anything falls off, you’re out! Placed all your gears OK? Then the next player goes. Keep spinning and stacking until somebody spills — oops, they’re out! Play again until only one player remains: the winner!