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How to Build a Walker Robot With Your Kids

In honor of tonight's 'BattleBot' episode, our Maker Dad is here to show you how to build a simple walking robot out of some household supplies.

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 clobber-fest 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.  In this week’s installment Shannon LaNier and his daughter Madison show you how to build walking robots. These creations, which move about  require parts you likely have lying around the house (popsicle sticks, 9-volt batteries, googly eyes) and are able to be assembled in a short amount of time. The end result is a set of simple, googly-eyed paper cup ‘bots that strut and pirouette in manic patterns.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 double shaft gear motors
  • 2 9-volt batteries
  • 2 wired snaps for 9V batteries
  • Electric tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Straw
  • Paper cup
  • Googly Eyes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • streamer

How to Build It

  1. Use hot glue to attach the 9V batteries to the bottom of the motors, opposite the wired end. Make sure the battery connectors are facing forward and that the smaller (positive) connectors are on the left.
  2. Connect the right motor black lead to the left motor black lead. Then, connect left red wire to a battery snap black wire. Connect right motor red lead to the red wire on the other battery snap. Connect battery snaps together, black wire to red wire.
  3. Glue the inner motor shafts together. Put hot glue on the right inner motor shaft and and place the left inner motor shaft on top of it. Put some extra glue around the shafts to make sure they’re securely fastened together.
  4. Cut one two-inch and one one-inch piece of straw.
  5. Glue the straws together in a T-shape where the longer piece of straw is the horizontal part of the “T.”
  6. Glue the bottom of the “T” to the back of the right motor at a 45 degree angle in order to stabilize your robot.
  7. Wrap electrical tape around the motors to organize the wires, but don’t tape over the motor shafts.
  8. Cut the bottom out of a paper cup. Decorate it with googly eyes, pieces of streamer (for hair), and popsicle sticks (arms) as desired. Place it over the motors to serve at the outside of your robot.

Once you’ve made a couple of robots, simply connect the batteries and let them loose and watch them strut around. 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.