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How to Build a Battling Doodle Bot With Your Kids

The only thing more fun than building and battling these bots is seeing the doodles they make.

There’s something satisfying about watching two homemade robots beat the bolts out of one another, isn’t there? That’s why we’re excited that BattleBots has made its way back to television. The Science Channel and Discovery update of the beloved bot-on-bot slugfest retains what was so great about the original: mayhem. Various teams’ radio-controlled creations — from sharpened, wedge-shaped creations that ram opponents to miniature tanks armed with spinning blades — face off against one another in three-minute, boxing-style matches to determine robotic dominance. The battles take place in a cage. Pop-up blades and traps add to the action. Should one of the robots not be utterly destroyed, judges determine the winner. It’s a ton of fun.

While we’re stoked the show is back on The Science Channel, we’re even more excited that a few of Fatherly’s “Maker Dads” videos will appear during each episode, teaching parents how to create their own (less dangerous) robots with their kids. During this week’s episode, Maker Dad Shannon LaNier and his daughter Madison show you how to build a Doodle Bot with your kids.

What’s a Doodle Bot, you ask? Well, it’s an easy to assemble robot that’s made of a motor, paper cups, pens, and a good deal of googly-eyes. The final creation spins and struts on a table while also leaving behind drawings that display its movements. Here’s how to built this creative bot.

What You’ll Need to Build a Doodle Bot

  • A 9V battery
  • A wired snap for a 9V battery
  • A 12-ounce paper cup
  • A 3-9 V electric motor with a 2.3 mm shaft diameter
  • 4 thin markers (you choose the colors)
  • A roll of duct tape
  • 2 rolls of colored duct tape
  • A pencil
  • A box cutter or craft knife (like an X-Acto)
  • 2 popsicle sticks
  • Googly eyes
  • Super glue

How to Build a Doodle Bot

  1. Place the motor on top of the inverted cup and trace an outline of the base with the pencil.
  2. Use the box cutter or craft knife to cut a hole in the base of the cup that is slightly smaller than the motor.
  3. Connect the wired snap to the motor post.
  4. Glue the 9V battery to the side of the cup.
  5. Tape 4 markers tip side down to the sides of the cup. Make sure they’re even so your Doodle Bot isn’t lopsided.
  6. Insert the motor into the hole, then tape the top and bottom of the motor so it is halfway in the cup.
  7. Attach a few inches of duct tape to the drive shaft of the motor.
  8. Glue on googly eyes and use popsicle sticks to make arms and/or a tongue (optional but highly recommended).
  9. Uncap the markers and connect the battery lead to the battery.
  10. Place the robot marker tip side down on a piece of paper and turn on the motor to  start battling and drawing!

Check out the video above for a demonstration, and look out for more Fatherly videos during Battlebots, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery and Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Science Channel.