Scribbling machines are motorized contraptions that move in unusual ways and leave a mark to trace their paths. They are made from simple materials and set in motion by a vibrating offset motor causing them to bounce, spin, bump and move in interesting ways.
Step 1: Materials
Collect these things:
Note: You can find motors in all sorts of mechanical toys and common household objects; we encourage you to salvage one instead of buying it!
Some other helpful materials:
Clothespins; Popsicle sticks; wood skewer sticks; pipe cleaners; wire; nuts, washers, or other small weights; wire stripper; scissors; small screwdriver; googly eyes.
Step 2: Build your contraption
Note: an offset weight means it is not centered on the axle of the motor. Notice how the weights in the photos stick out more on one side than the other? You can experiment with how much off-center you place the weight and see what different results you get.
TIP: Make sure there is enough clearance for your offset motor to spin.
Experiment with different designs
How could you make it go really slow and smooth? Fast and jumpy? Make big and small circles? Try using a wire or pipe cleaner to hang a marker away from the body.
Step 3: Take it further
Here are some ideas to keep playing with Scribbling Machines!
Trace-making materials: Experiment with using different materials such as paint and paintbrushes, chalk, or pencils to trace the patterns your scribbling machine makes. With chalk you can even scribble on the sidewalk!
Natural materials: Collect items like sticks, leaves, bark, and pods from a park or your backyard. Add them to your machine and set it scribbling outside to see how the natural materials leave different pathways in sand or dirt.
Incorporating switches: Experiment with making a switch to make it easer to turn your scribbling machine on and off. Try using a combination of clothespins, tinfoil, paperclips, brads, craft foam, or other materials.