Introduction: Arduino Based Hula Dancer

This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement
of the Makecourse at the University of South Florida

About This Project: Hey everyone! I'm sure you've heard of the dashboard hula dancers that are a staple in any 16-wheeler decor. As wonderfully iconic as they are, I thought they were running on some dilapidated non-electronic technology so here is an instructable on how to build your own Arduino-based hula dancer that you can take anywhere and party with!

The design of this is based entirely around 3D printing and an arduino pack that you can order here.

Step 1: Developing the 3D Model

Autodesk Inventor Professional 2015 was the software used to model the parts in this project.

If you aren't familiar with how to use autodesk but would like to model your own parts, autodesk offers free interactive tutorials that you can access here

You can also follow along with the Make Course here at the University of South Florida by going to and watching the videos under "Lesson Plan".

Luckily for you, I have all the parts already modeled. Download the assembly and dependents in the .rar file I have uploaded. Hulashake.iam is the file you want to open, all the other files are the dependents that the assembly references

Step 2: Print the Models!

Take the 3d models I have provided or any ones you have created to your nearest 3D printing facility and have them printed!

Step 3: Create the Circuit

*If you have fritzing you can open the .fzz file attached for a better look at the circuit

As you can see from the picture, this is the circuit I have set up for the hula dancer. The mic and servo both have three wires, commonly referred to as "SVG" which stands for signal, voltage, and ground. These are attached to the signal pins, 5V power pin, and ground pin on the arduino respectively. The only difference between the servo and the mic however is that the servo requires a '''''PWM''''' pin, which stands for ''pulse-width modulation'' and denoted by the ~ as seen on pin3 where it is attached. The mic works with analog signals, so it needs to be attached to one of the analog pins. I used A0.

Its important to wire this up before attempting to assemble anything to be able to diagnose any problems. It isn't uncommon for wires bridges to be faulty. That being said, none of this would work without the code, so lets begin looking at that!

Step 4: Coding the Arduino

Let me start out by saying that you don't need to understand C++ to code an Arduino or complete this project.

The code that I have here for you to download is heavily commented so that you can change it to suit your needs if you are comfortable. Roll over the picture to better understand what is happening in the code.

Step 5: Finalizing the Parts

Acetone can be used to smooth out the abs plastic if you aren't happy with the resolution of your print.

Here is a wonderful article by Hackaday that explains how to put a wonderful smooth finish on your parts.

Once that is done, I used a 1/2 inch drill bit to drill a cable hole the top of the electronics box and in the backside of the box. The first hole was to bring the cable from the support stand into the box where the arduino is. The second is to allow the microphone to sit outside the box but keep the PCB and wires internal. Each hole that was drilled was widened with a sand bit on a dremel for the best possible fit of the microphone and the servo cable.

I used hot glue to secure the components inside and a combination of silicone and hot glue to attach the skirt to the servo arm and the support stand to the top lid of the electronics box.

Watch the video above for a more in depth look at the project fully and put yours together.

CONGRATS. Assuming that you've already troubleshooted the project and everything works you now have a fully party-ready hula dancer. Have fun and get jiggy wit it.


peppypickle made it! (author)2014-12-10

so awesome! thanks for including the fritzing diagram - great Instructable!

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