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Build These Awesome Wrestling Robots With Your Kids

Using some cardboard and a few electrical components, you and your kids can make robots that crawl along and wrestle with each other.

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, Shannon LaNier and his daughter Madison show you how to build an Inch Bot.

What, exactly, is an Inch Bot you ask? Made with parts provided by LittleBits, it’s an easy-to-build robot that crawls along and, if you have two of them, can engage in epic wrestling battles.

What You’ll Need to Build an Inch Bot

  • LittleBits Servo
  • LittleBits P4 Power
  • LittleBits Battery + Cable
  • 2 Bamboo skewers
  • 3 AA batteries
  • Paperclip
  • Cardboard
  • Marker
  • Circle stickers
  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Pliers
  • Gaffer tape or duct tape

How to Build an Inch Bot

  1. Cut out a 12-inch by 3-inch piece of cardboard and decorate as desired.
  2. Fold the strip in half so that the narrow ends touch (hamburger-style) to make the body. Fold two inches of the paper up on either end to create feet.
  3. Cut four skewers to the length of half of the body, about four inches. Use hot glue to attach them to the edges.
  4. Hot glue the 9V battery to the top of one of the legs. This will be the back leg.
  5. Cut a small window above the battery that allows for the mechanical arm to spin, about half an inch by two inches. Hot glue the servo next to the window so the arm goes through it.
  6. Insert a straightened paper clip through the end of the mechanical arm and, using pliers, twist its end so it is firmly attached to the arm. Poke the other end of the paper clip straight through the other side of the bot, bend it down and tape on the outside to secure it. The cardboard should be bent at slightly less than a right angle.
  7. Connect the littleBits P4 power to the servo and the battery snap to the battery and the P4.
  8. Hot glue some weight, like extra batteries, on top of the front leg. Tape the wires so they’re out of the way.
  9. Decorate some more! Try gluing an inflated balloon to the front of the bot and attaching some eyes to make a face.
  10. Put two bots on an elevated surface and turn them on each other. The first to fall off loses!

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.