•  Battery Cube
•  Motor Cube
•  Short Wire (2)
•  4 x 8 LEGO Plate
•  12-stud LEGO
•  Full Connector (4)
•  3/4 Connector
•  40-tooth gear
•  Paper
•  Manilla folder
•  Cardboard piece
•  Pencil with eraser
•  Ruler
•  Scissors
•  X-acto knife
•  Hot glue gun
•  Toothpicks
•  Bowl or mug


Audrey Fehlhaber


A modernized take on an early cinematic marvel — the automated zoetrope!


1  Gather your Cubes, building bricks, and other materials.

2  Connect the Battery Cube to the Motor Cube using two short wires snapped onto the conductive terminals of each Cube. Position the Motor Cube so that the shaft is pointing directly upwards and the bottom of the brick is facing the Battery Cube; the terminals of the Motor Cube should be resting on the table.

3  Place a ¾ connector in the middle of the bottom of the Motor Cube, in the row closest to the table.

4  Attach a 12-stud beam to that ¾ connector, centering the beam. Attach it and the Battery Cube to a 4x8 plate.

5  Lay an 8.5 x 11 sheet of printer paper lengthwise on the table. Leaving 1/4" at the bottom, draw a line all the way across the length of the paper. Starting from the left, leave 1" and then draw two marks 1/4" apart. Repeat this process all the way across the page. Measure 1/4" up from this line, and continue with the 1/4" sections 1" apart. Connect the marks so that vertical bars 1/2" wide and 2" tall are drawn. Draw a line 1" from the top of the bars; this will be the top of the side of the Zoetrope. Leave 1/2" and repeat the entire process above the original construction.

6  Cut apart the two sections and cut out and discard the 1" strip in between the two portions. Use a craft knife to cut out the 1/2" x 2" rectangles.

7  Using one half of the manila folder, draw two 1" thick rectangles across the entire length of the folder. Cut these out with scissors or the craft knife.

8  Using the hot glue gun, glue together the two sections of printer paper so that they are slightly overlapped, and the windows line up. Then line the top 1" portion with the 1" strips cut from the manila folder. Glue down the strips and trim the edges as necessary. These will add rigidity and stability to the thin paper.

9   Glue a toothpick vertically In between each of the windows to give the paper structure.

10  On a piece of cardboard, trace a large circle with a bowl or mug.

11  Cut out the circle, and put glue on a part of its edge. Wrap the paper around, making sure that the 1/2" section is at the bottom and the 1" section with the manilla folder strips is at the top. Slowly add more glue and wrap the paper all the way around the circle. Wrap the excess around as well, lining up the windows so that there is no obstruction.

12  With some of the scrap from the printer paper, make a small cylinder to glue in the center of the circle.

13  Glue down the cylinder, and four or more bricks spaced evenly around the circle. Make their movements distinctly different so that the change is easily visible.

14  Place four full connectors into a 40-tooth gear forming a rectangle (two connectors on two opposite sides of the gear).

15  Glue down the four connectors to the bottom of the cardboard circle, centering it.

16  Attach the middle of the gear to the shaft of the Motor Cube. Turn the Battery Cube on and make your Zoetrope go!