Wheels in STEAM Set fall off DC Motor spindles

LittleBits is going down a storm at the school where I teach. Student enthusiasm and levels of engagement are very high. Lately though our ability to make some of the prescripted projects e.g. The Drawing machine and the Vehicle are undermined by the fact that the majority of our wheels do not fit snugly on to the DC motor spindles anymore and drop of. This is a great shame because those devices are student favorites. I am worried about the durability of littleBit parts particularly given that they are expensive. I simply do not have the budget to keep replacing parts. Is any one else having a problem with durability and in particular the wheels?*

Hi @JonathanW, we’re so sorry to hear about this! Please reach out to support@littlebits.cc, so we can help you out.

Ok, thank you, I’ll do that.

We have had this a lot this year as well as some of the power bits just falling apart. My middle schoolers are wondering why something so wonderful isn’t made more durable when it is marketed to children.

Hi Patricia,

I’m so sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your Power Bits!

We’re always looking to improve, so we appreciate your feedback.

Please reach out to us at support@littlebits.cc so we can troubleshoot and get you some working bits.

Best,
Quinn

I think we need to spend a lot more time teaching students how to care for the bits. I think they tend to pull them apart too aggressively. One of my teachers was in charge of giving the students the bits they needed. It kept the students from rummaging through them too much.

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This is a problem I heard about from a teacher at my daughters school too. We went in for a open house night event and I had volunteered to run a table showing off the STEAM tools, like LittleBits, that we use at home. The teacher said the school had several sets of the Starter and Synth kits and would bring them so we’d have more for folks to play with. When I got there the sets were in complete disarray and many of the bits looked rough. The teacher explained they were having a hard time managing it and that kids were pretty rough on the bits. I agree with @msbrooks, teachers probably need more help/guidance and tips and tricks on how to manage and care for bits in the classroom. I know LittleBits has great kits with storage boxes and also sells them as an accessory, but that might not fit every school’s budget. For storage I recommend checking your local Harbor Freight, https://www.harborfreight.com, if you have one. They have low cost storage containers and toolboxes and I’ve used many of those for LEGOs and small electronics parts.

For this issue specifically have you tried using something like PlastiDip, maybe their Liquid Tape product to coat the motor spindles and make them just a hair thicker and a bit more grippy? https://plastidip.com/our-products/liquid-tape/ (I have never tried, but seems like it may work). Maybe also a very thin wrap with something like Surgu, https://sugru.com (just not sure if you could get this thin enough).

I agree. The motor/wheel combination is a student favorite and the soft plastic does not cope with even slightly inaccurate insertions of the D shafts. The plastic is carved and deformed by the shaft and … just drops off after only 5 or 6 assemblies.

Try to buy spare wheels and you find none in the stores. Littlebits support are helpful and will hopefully make some available but really they should be listed in the shop. You can buy the tethered motors but not the wheels.

Has anyone come up with a better wheel?

Hi @bront, I’m sorry to hear your wheels have suffered some damage. Please reach out to us at support@littlebits.com and we can help you out.