Blinkybugs are small, eletro-mechanical insects that respond to stimulus such as movement, vibration, and air currents by blinking their LED eyes. They're incredibly simple, yet have a certain lifelike quality.
I've been making variations of these for a while now, and showing others how to make them at museums, fairs, workshops, etc. It isn't rocket science, but there's some tricky soldering involved, and they usually take a person at least an hour to put together for the first time.
I wanted to come up with a solder-free version for the workshop I was organizing for the http://www.makerfaire.com/ 2007 Maker Faire], which took place May 19 + 20 in San Mateo, CA. So after a bit of experimenting, I came up with this simpler design.
Step 1: Tools and Parts
- Glue gun + glue sticks
- Rotary tool w/ metal cutting blade (a hacksaw or similar may work)
- Safety goggles
- Metal file
- Measuring tape or yardstick
- Wire cutters
- Needle-nose pliers (2 pairs would be nice)
- Permanent marker
- Scotch tape
- .009" guitar string
- Coin-cell battery
- 5mm LEDs (2 per bug)
- Pipe clieaners (aka "chenille sticks")... assorted colors.
- Coin cell battery... 3V 2032 type.
- Thin copper tubing: 1/16 x .014
LEDs can be found anywhere on the webernet, and are actually fairly cheap at Radio Shack if (and only if) you buy the variety pack. One can obtain the coin-cell batteries at your local drug store, and they are also available widely online, such as at DigiKey. You should be able to get "singles" of the guitar strings at any music shop. The pipe cleaners can be found at tobacco shops and arts + crafts suppliers.