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PicassoBot the drawing junkbot

Taken from the blog:


Assembly Instructions for the PicassoBot

  •  Using the template provided, cut out a BASEPLATE for your JunkBot. Place the template on the thick card, and cut out using a craft knife. Be careful not to cut anything that is under the card. Depending on the type of card, you made need to make 2 BASEPLATE’s and stick them together to increase the strength.
  • If you wish, can now decorate your baseplate, but remember that the holes need to be accessible after decorations!
  • Now you need to make the legs. Take 3 of your straws, and place then together, lengthways to make a thicker leg. The end of the straws should look like a triangle. Next, extend the straws to their fullest possible length, and bend the ridged part to make a 45degree angle. Once you have done this, secure the straws together using a strip of tape at the top of the straws.
  • Now, look at the other end of the straws, the one that is not secured. This is where the pen must be inserted, and therefore the inside half of each od the straws needs to be removed. Using either scissors or a craft knife, remove the inside half of the straws for the bottom 8 cm of the straws.
  • Insert the pen into the cut ends of the straws and secure with tape. Add tape to the legs where needed to hold them together. Then wrap a piece of tape around the ridged end of the straw, to keep the angle a 45 degrees. (see picture).
  • Repeat steps 3-5 with the other 6 straws, so you have 3 legs. Once you have done this, the legs can be decorated, but remember the end of the straws both need to be free to draw or be added to the baseplate.
  • Insert each of the legs (The ends without pens) into the triangular shaped holes on the baseplate, secure them tightly with tape. 
  • You not need to add the supports between the legs to hold them in position. Take a straw, and secure it horizontally between two of the legs. Repeat this until there are supports between each of the legs, Add as many as you feel necessary.
  • Take the motor, and add the propeller or weight to the sprog. Then, attach the battery pack to the motor using the wires given. Insert the batteries and make sure it works. Disconnect the battery and motor, the Insert the motor into the the star shaped area on the baseplate. If it is loose, secure with tape.
  • Add the battery pack to the baseplate, it goes where the dotted lines are. Secure with tape. Your PicassoBot is now ready to go! When ready, reconnect the battery pack to the motor. This will make your Junkbot vibrate and begin to draw patterns.  
Things to consider

How can you make different patterns using you PicassoBot? Experiment with modifications.
How can you make your JunkBot more stable or more unstable?
What happens if you use more legs on your JunkBot?

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Do it yourself: 'Radio' Controlled Micro:Bit Junkbot

In an earlier post, I showed how you could build a Micro:Bit controlled Junkbot. In this post I want to show a modification to it, to use one Micro:Bit to control the junkbot controlled by another Micro:Bit. A nice feature of the Micro:Bit using micropython, is it can send and receive simple messages via radio - so here is my take on it.

The first problem is the Python editor available on does not seem to work with the radio API. One solution to this is to change to the mu editor.

Two pieces of code are needed.

Sending Code for the 'remote' control:
Essentially it is set up to send two messages, via the built-in radio module, spinl or spinr depending on which button is pressed.

import radio
from microbit import button_a, button_b


while True:
   if button_a.is_pressed():
   if button_b.is_pressed():


Junkbot Code
This takes an adapted form of the previous Junkbot code to work by; on r…