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How to Build a Battling Toothbrush Robot With Your Kids

In honor of BattleBots return to the air, here are some instructions for building a miniature fighting robot with your kids.

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 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 bots 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 air, 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, for instance, Maker Dad Michael Perina, who owns a small 3D-printing shop in Staten Island, and his son Keaton explain how to piece together a pair of toothbrush robots that move via vibrations to bump and battle.

All you need to assemble the tiny battling bots are a pair of flat-bristle toothbrushes, some circle stickers, a vibrating disk motor, three-volt coin battery, popsicle sticks, and googly eyes. No, they won’t fare well against any of BattleBot’s professional killing machines, but they’re a blast to build. Check out the video below and be sure to keep an eye out for more Fatherly videos during next week’s episode of BattleBots, which airs tonight at 8:30.