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How to Build a Hopping BattleBot With Your Kids

They won't destroy each other, but these easy-to-build hopping robots are a blast.

BattleBots is back on TV. And with it comes all the bolt-busting, spark-spewing, bot-versus-bot action. If you’re like us, you’re stoked. Because watching two robots smash into each other is pretty damn fun. Beyond the visceral thrills, however, these killer robots are great examples of the possibilities and excitement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

To celebrate the show’s Science Channel update with another entry in our “Maker Dads” series, which will be airing during the show. This week, Shannon LaNier and his daughter Madison show you how to build a simple hopping, battling robot.

What You’ll Need

  • 1.5 inches of PVC pipe
  • A popsicle stick
  • A 9V battery
  • A wired snap for a 9V battery
  • A 3-6 V double shaft gear motor under 40 RPM
  • Electrical tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Hacksaw
  • Ruler
  • Pencil or Sharpie

How to Build It

  1. Tape the wires of the battery snap to the motor post.
  2. Hot glue the 9V battery to the top of the motor.
  3. Connect the snap to the 9V battery to make sure the motor works.
  4. Cut PVC into three half-inch sections with the hacksaw.
  5. Cut straight across the circle 1/3 of the way from one side.
  6. Put stripes of hot glue on the outside of the PVC.
  7. Break off two 1.5-inch pieces of the popsicle tick.
  8. Glue the popsicle ticks to the motor shaft.
  9. Glue two of the PVC pieces to the popsicle sticks.
  10. Glue the third PVC piece to the front of the motor (side opposite the motor shaft.

Once you’ve made a couple of robots, simply connect the batteries and let the battle commence. 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.