B.I.O. Bug Gearmotor dissection
B.I.O. Bugs are each equipped with two surprisingly high-quality motors (for a toy, at any rate). Knowing how they're put together equips us to tweak them for our own ends. Let's bust one open and see what's inside...

-Eric Seale January, 2002

This page is devoted to the dissection of some B.I.O. Bug gear motors -- fairly high-quality, and eminently hackable (with a bit of work, you can rework the motor, or disable its clutch). But enough with the preliminaries, let's open something up...

Right-angle BIO Bug motorImage

Here is our first patient, lying on 1mm / line graph paper, ready to be opened up. It's a rear gear motor for a Red B.I.O. Bug (Predator). This gear motor has a right-angle output (w.r.t. the motor shaft) with a 1:143 reduction gear train. Performance information on this little beastie is here.

Opening the gear motor just requires removal of two screws, and a bit of prying. Note that the motor itself (i.e., the metal part) is glued in place in the gearmotor casing. Once you have the casing open, it's easy to break the glue and pop the motor free (but more on that later).

Motor, explodedImage

Here's our patient opened up (I've left the gears together in half the shell for clarity). It's a simple gearbox -- all but the last gear, which contains a mechanical clutch internally.

Gears on the half-shellImage

Here's a closeup of the gears, still captive in one half of the gear motor shell (gears on the half-shell...).

The final gearImage

Here's a closeup of the final gear with internal clutch.

Output gear, disassembledImage

In this image, I've taken the final gear apart. In the zoomed version, you can see the "nubs" both on the outside of the gear "shell", and on the bow-shaped arches of the central hub. Note that there's a bit of grease in here; if you want to "lock" the clutch in this gear, you just need to disassemble it, clean out the grease, reassemble and put in enough epoxy to immobilize the "arches".

Offset motorImage

Meanwhile, here's our second patient -- the front gear motor for a Blue B.I.O. Bug (Stomper). This has an offset in-line output with a 1:177 reduction gear train. Performance information on this guy is here.

Offset motor, explodedImage

Here you see the motor opened up. The guts look much like those for any B.I.O. Bug gear motor -- only the input stage and gear ratios differ.

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