by littleBits

Published on April 28, 2014

Be a NASA engineer by building this robotic space arm.

A grappler is on the end of the ISS Robot Arm and is used to grab onto objects in space – like astronauts! Pick up space objects at home by controlling the DC motor mechanism with a remote control and the remote trigger.

See pages 28-29 in the Space Kit booklet for more info.

How To Make It


Create the circuit shown in the image gallery.


Cut the bottom off of 2 plastic cups.


Cut three pieces of string the same length. Tape them to the inside of one cup.


Place the other cup over the cup with strings. Feed the strings up through the top of both cups. Tape them to the outside of the outer cup.


Trace wide end of cup on cardboard and cut out circle.


Cut the end off a craft stick and stick into motorMate.


Tape cardboard circle to inner cup and stick the craft stick in the hole.


Put the circuit on a ruler and use rubberbands to hold in place.


Place motorMate onto D-shaft of the motor.


Secure the outer cup to the ruler using wooden skewers and tape.


Use a household remote to control your grappler. This is similar to the arm that grabs onto moving vehicles in space!

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