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Making your own bubble machine is a really easy and fun project. It can be made from almost anything, glued and screwed together with an end result which will keep kids (and adults!) amused for hours.

With basic electronics of just a fan and a motor, a bubble machine is also a really easy first electronics project. This one I threw together with spare minutes here and there across the period of a week. The longest part was waiting for the centrifugal fan to arrive from Amazon, the best part was making a lot of mess in the Instructables office before realising that the shower would be a better place to blow bubbles while testing.

My bubble machine was made to keep my friends' toddler amused. She loves bubbles but is at an age where blowing them herself is rather hit or miss (not to mention messy). She spent a VERY happy 15 minutes running through and around them in the street outside, afterwhich the adults stepped in to play with heating the bubbles to see if they'd go higher, or experimenting with different bubble mixes to see if any where noticably better.

Earn 3 months pro membership: Anyone who makes their own bubble machine and posts a photo in the comments will get a code for 3 months of pro membership from me.
 
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I'm making one but I don't have a laser cutter. I'm cutting the circles out of about 1mm thick sheet of plastic. The problem is I'm using a cutter and even the most careful cutting sometimes leaves miniscule sharp points. This doesnt let the bubble form.
Anyone got any ideas how to cut out perfect circles sans a laser cutter?

I made a bubble machine and purchased the 'old fashioned' bubble wands (the 'stick' with the round ring at the end - the kind that came one to a small bottle of bubble solution) and added them to my wheel.

That's a neat and simple but slightly expensive option.

If you were to use acrylic sheet or Plexiglas, a spade drill bit does a surprisingly good job of making holes. Sand the edges a bit, and you're good to go.

This comment is 2 years late, but it got my gears spinning... I tried the build then but failed because the material was too flimsy and circles imperfect. Maybe I'll give it another go...

You were using plastic, why didn't you use a lighter to carefully melt the sharp edges?

I did. They came out oddly shaped and slightly better at making bubbles but still not good enough.
Laser cutting is much more accessible and cheaper now than when I posted this comment. That is probably the best way to go about making this.

You're probably right. I know that is true for 3d printing. If you'd like to print some parts you should check out 3dhubs.com something similar for laser cutting might also exist. It would at least be way cheaper than having it made by a professional company.
cameraeyes7 months ago

I love the design. As simple as can be.
One question: do you have a problem, or foresee the problem with all-day use, with bubble solution dripping onto the servo or the shaft, and gumming everything up? Or causing a short? Offsetting the disc from the servo with a spacer might fix this, but have you seen the need?

Bowtie418 months ago

I'm wondering what effect making a nozzle from the fan outlet tapering to a round shape the same diameter as the holes and fitting close to the disc would make?I'm guessing it would be way more efficient.

CurtR8 months ago

Why not attach a fan/pinwheel blade to the soap wheel between the fan and soap wheel. That way you won't need a servo motor to turn the soap wheel.

chipnut8 months ago

Why not just spin it with the drill on very low speed? Spinning it by hand is just as effective. Mount the wheel on an axle attached to the basin. A Dremel or drill with a rubber tip can spin the wheel. or buy a servo with a wheel and drill the holes. https://www.servocity.com/html/precision_disk_wheels.html

mslee made it!1 year ago

Love this project!!! Made it two versions awhile ago and wanted to share them. Version 1.0 leaked a bunch so 2.0 was 3D printed. I also didn't have much luck with my fan blowing actual bubbles... I got a few different ones and they weren't strong enough or the angle wasn't right. But I actually preferred the foam cluster masses it developed. These were early prototypes for my MFA thesis work: http://biobubbles.tumblr.com/tagged/process ... such a great intro into making for fun :)

Version 2.0: 3D printed trough and bubble ring, then painted white and assembled with motor and used external fan.


Verison 1.0: Lasercut and assembled the red acrylic bubble ring and trough, with Ardunio controlled 360 servo motor, DC 12V fan and AC Adapter.


longbubbles.jpg
Lukaszkos1 year ago

and here is a movie-first tests:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIlqhNpUyng

Jayefuu (author)  Lukaszkos1 year ago
Brilliant! I wonder if you used a hair drier instead the heat would make the bubbles rise better rather than dropping to the floor.
Lukaszkos made it!1 year ago

Ty for this instructable made my own version.

IMG_20140214_113301.jpg
Jayefuu (author)  Lukaszkos1 year ago

Awesome! Nice build.

FlipFlop1 year ago
I cannot download the .dxf file provided by you? Can you please check and see what's wrong? Or can you upload it again maybe in a zip file?
Thank you very much
lheeyoung1 year ago
It is a good invention. pc cooler is the most I love it! Great idea!
You are a good person. Thank haejusyeoseo information sharing.
spark271 year ago
Very nice!
I want download a bubble ring dxf file but, it wasn't .
How can i download this file?
Would you send me a mail this file?
Partybot1 year ago
Great build. I especially like the use of batteries from the hand tools. Very clever use of existing materials any Maker would already have. Now to try and mod it to be travel friendly on a Halloween Costume without soaking me in soapy water. It should definitely add some X-Factor.
arzola12 years ago
Thank you, thank you, thankUthankUthankU
csherry2 years ago
could u plz list your sources for the materials you used..... i would love to make something like this with my nephew. thanks
agis682 years ago
pretty cool...amazing fun. thanks for sharing
rlarios2 years ago
Hi Jayefuu, nice idea. How did you come up with the idea?

By the way, thanks for the following.
Jayefuu (author)  rlarios2 years ago
If I remember rightly, when I stayed in San Francisco, Christy and Eric's daughter loved bubbles and kept asking us to blow them for her. So I made a machine to do it for us rather than go out and buy a machine.
rimar20003 years ago
That beautiful girl/child in step 8, is yours?
That one's mine. Thank you! :)
Jayefuu (author)  rimar20003 years ago
Afraid not! That's Eric and Christy's kid, Corvidae.

J
msaleiro3 years ago
Really cool project! :) I've been slowly helping my girlfriend doing something similar but it's not finished yet. Yours looks really clean and simple! Congrats!
This little girl is more present on internet than Lady Gaga!
alitia3 years ago
Has anyone seen the "bubble mobile" at Madison, Wisconsin's Willy St Fair?

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=3673067

The guy made it just for this one day every year, and does it just to make people happy.
We love the bubble guy!
swodzins3 years ago
What kind of laser cutter do you own?
Jayefuu (author)  swodzins3 years ago
This particular project was cut on an Epilog 75W laser cutter.
Very nice :-D
Loved it :-D
&
Thanks :-D
BytePilot3 years ago
I've made one passing similar using something out of my junk box.
A centrifugal fan driven bya motor with a back spindle to which a gearbox was attached.
Laser cut disk much the same as yours, but I extended the crinkle cut edges with engraved slots to hold even more bubble mix.

At 6volts It eats through 3.4 of a pot of bubble mixture in 10 minutes....
Nom nom nom...
IMAG0168.jpgIMAG0175.jpg
Jayefuu (author)  BytePilot3 years ago
Nice! How long did that take you, and when did you make it?
Oops, sorry, missed a bit. Made it about 2pm today.
Thank you. It works rather well...
Took about (thinx) an hour to prep DXF files, half an hour cutting and assembling, and another hour for glue to set.

Alas it's back in the workshop right at this moment, getting another round of epoxy resin. Wee Lad was so exited he dragged it off the table and cracked the box off the mounting.

I've attached the DXF files here, they may not be a lot of use to anyone else alas, since they were made to fit the junk fan I had available.

ilpug3 years ago
I like it! I really need to get some time on a laser cutter... I like how this is a finished design build. Most things like this on the site are a bit cobbled together, but this is fully realized! That said, it could also be easily reverse engineered with some pretty basic materials.
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