ModiBots: Animation Part 3

Posted by Nate Eckerson on

In the pre-ModiBot world, there was a line of plastic figures called Stikfas. Some animators drilled holes into the figure's foot, and inserted a small rare-earth magnet, which allowed the figure to stick to any magnetic surface. You can do the same thing with a ModiBot!

The magnets used in this project can be purchased on Amazon, eBay or elsewhere.


  • ModiBot
  • 2 x 3/16" dia x 1/16" rare earth magnets


  • Drill & 3/16" drill bit
  • Vise
  • Pliers, or hammer & metal punch / bolt

Once you have assembled the needed tools and materials, start by securing one of the ModiBot feet in your vise.

Using the 3/16" bit, drill out the ModiBot foot hole. Your goal is to make the hole slightly wider than the diameter of the magnet, so the magnet fits in the hole snugly without falling out. Run the drill in and out of the hole a few times to shave off a tiny bit of extra plastic — but not too much!

After drilling the hole, remove the foot from the vise. Take one of the magnets and insert it into the bottom of the foot. Again, it should fit snugly, and go in with some resistance.

You can tap it in with a metal punch and hammer, or use a pair of pliers. If it is difficult to make the magnet fit, enlarge the hole with the drill again.

Repeat for the second foot, and you are done!

The surface used for this animation test was a magnetic whiteboard. You can also use cookie trays, and other flat metal surfaces.

Verdict — Magnetic feet are the fastest way to animate, but the least stable of the three methods I have shown in these posts. The feet tend to move slightly when manipulating the figure into new positions. However, it's a great improvement over no attachment at all!

Read Part 1

Read Part 2