An LED robot is a super fun toy to make. With the help of an adult, kids can create their own. They’ll think it’s the coolest thing!
Make Your Own LED Robot Toy
Safety Note: This robot toy has small parts (including coin batteries) that are harmful if swallowed and may pose a choking hazard. Adult supervision is required. This toy is not recommended for young children. Use your discretion. You know your child best.
The idea for an LED robot cam from Aiden’s desire to make a robot out of a cardboard tube. (See more of our cardboard tube creations here.) He wanted to make the robot glow in the dark. Several coats of glow in the dark paint made that possible. I thought it would be cool to give the robot light-up eyes and Aiden agreed.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Cardboard tube
- Paint (we used glow in the dark)
- Paint brush
- 2 LEDs
- 2 CR2032 coin batteries
- Scissors, utility knife, and or screw driver (to make eye holes)
- Hexbug robot (or you can make your own brush bot)
Paint your cardboard tube and let it dry. It took several coats of glow in the dark paint to completely cover the cardboard.
Use a utility knife or scissors to make 2 eye holes. I used a screw driver to make the eye holes the correct size for our LEDs.
Connect an LED to a coin battery. The longer side of the LED is the positive side. Place the longer side against the positive side of the battery. Wrap some tape around the connections to hold the LED in place.
Sidenote: Normally when connecting an LED to a battery, you need a resistor. Otherwise the LED will draw too much current and burn out. The coin batteries do not produce enough current to destroy the LED. However, the batteries would probably last longer if we used a resistor.
What happens if you connect the LED to the battery backwards? Nothing. The circuit is not complete so the current will not flow.
Add the LEDs (along with their batteries) to the cardboard tube.
Our robot glows in the dark. Charge the paint by placing under direct light. I used a black light to help with the photography.
To make the robot move, we placed the cardboard tube on top of a hexbug. The length of the hexbug matched perfectly with our tubes.
Watch the video of our LED robot in action.
Nothing special. Just a little movement to spark an interest in designing even cooler robots. When you are done playing, remove the tape from the batteries and take the LEDs off.
More Designs by Aiden
- Make a hexbug track with cardboard tubes.
- Invent a bouncy ball machine.
- Make a rubber band powered car.
What will you build next?
This post was originally published on April 15, 2015.