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Robot Card Kit

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to make a blinking-eye robot and a beating-heart robot by drawing a ‘graphical’ circuit!

 

Becky Pilditch

Author

2012/03/22

Date Posted

Robot Card Kit
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In this tutorial we’ll show you how to make a blinking-eye robot and a beating-heart robot using Electric Paint Pens to draw a ‘graphical’ circuit! When a flashing LED and battery are added the card comes to life and twinkles! You’ll also learn about making circuits in series and parallel and how you can turn any drawing into a circuit so that you can make your own creations!

Download a PDF of the robot template here:
Robot Template (430 KB)

The template file is printed on one piece of A4 card. It can also be printed on US Letter – make sure you select ‘fit to printable area’ when printing on US Letter.

 

Troubleshooting

If your greeting card doesn’t blink don’t fret – there are a few things you can check:
• Is your Electric Paint circuit broken or too thin? – paint over it thicker, mend breaks.
• Does your Electric Paint circuit actually make contact with the components? – add a blob at the base of the components to secure.
• Is your LED or battery the wrong way round? Ensure the long leg of either is in the positive hole (see picture on front of Instructions).
• Are your LED or battery short-circuiting? – take care to prevent Electric Paint from connecting between the legs! Take out the components and scrape the paint in between away or start again with another card template.
• Is the switch completely closing the circuit? – you may have to reposition it or paint a larger square of paint.

 

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Materials

To begin you will need:

Electric Paint Pen (or jar if you are using a brush)

A4 or US letter card

Glue stick

Cutting mat or corrugated card

Craft knife (optional)
Metal ruler (optional)
3 x Flashing LEDs in various colours
1 x Rainbow LED (optional, available in kit)

3 x 3V Coin Cell Battery with pins

Step 1

Cut Out

Print out the template and cut the central cut line to separate the robots, using scissors or a craft knife and metal rule. (This step has already been done if you are using our kit). Cut off the strip at the top and bottom of the robot - keep these safe, we will use this later to create a paper switch.

Fold the robot in half as shown to create the fold line and unfold again.

Step 2

Make Pinhole

Put a cutting mat or piece of cardboard under the template. Push the pin through the pinholes either side of the heart or eyes as shown. Take care not to prick yourself!

Step 3

Insert LED

Have a look at the circuit diagram and key above your robot - this shows you where your components go on the robot graphic. Notice that LEDs have one long leg and one short leg - the long leg is positive and the short leg is negative. LEDs are polarised which means that electricity will only flow through them in one direction so it is important that you put them into the circuit in the right direction. The little symbols with the '+' and '-' in the circuit diagram show you which way round to place them.

Insert an LED in the gap in the robot circuit (ensuring the right way round), where indicated in the circuit diagram, as shown. Push the long leg in the positive hole and the short leg in the negative hole.

Splay out legs behind.

Using a Bare Paint Pen put a nice blob of Bare Paint either side of the LED/s at the bottom of the legs to stick them to the card.

For the blinking robot you will need to insert two LEDs for the eyes.

Step 4

Insert Batteries

Batteries are also polarised. The batteries we are using have a longer leg (starting on the top) and a short leg (underneath). Splay out the legs so the battery will sit flat on the paper and place it in the gap indicated in the circuit diagram as shown, ensuring the longer leg is on the side of the '+' symbol and the shorted leg is on the side of the '-' symbol.

Put a nice blob of Bare Paint on both legs to stick them to the card

Step 5

Glue switch to card

Retrieve one of the strips you cut off earlier and cut off a piece about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Fold in half and glue one half, as shown. Position and stick on circuit as shown so that the un-glued flap can close the circuit as shown.

Fold the flap back on itself and paint the underside up to the edges, using an Electric Paint Pen. Leave until completely dry. This will take about ten minutes - a warm spot will help.

Step 6

Test circuit!

When completely dry close the switch to test - the LEDs should start to blink!
(If not, don't fret, try our troubleshooter below)