Introduction: Bubblesteen Bubble Machine

Picture of Bubblesteen Bubble Machine

Is it a 3D Spherical Atmosphere Encapsulated Phosphorous Printer?   YES!

Is it a CNC Anti Gravity transparent Orb Machine!   YES!

Its The Bubblesteen Bubble Machine! The spherical miracle that kids and cats have been waiting for. It comes complete with robotic edge detection( when a bubble hits an edge it pops, thus the edge has been detected).

Turn up the sound and watch Lester the cat battle it out with the Bubblesteen!

* No animals were harmed during testing.

This project came about after playing around with pan and tilt using servos. Most of the pan and tilt senereos I saw involved using webcams or some type of camera, which pan and tilt is perfect for. There are some good instructables and how-to's on the web for this very thing.

I may not have an available camera, but I did have some bubble mix :)

Step 1: Things You Will Need

Picture of Things You Will Need
This list is mostly for the electronic and mechanical stuff. How you create your own Bubblesteen will depend on your creativity and what you have laying around.

I will also include small tips on the materials I used and things to be careful of
  1. 1. Arduino Duemilanove  $30.00
  2. 1 motor shield  $19.50 ( * It is made to fit the Duemilanove
  3. 2 micro servos- I used Hextronik HXT 500 $3.50 each (
  4. 1 DC toy motor- something between 3v and 12v - easy to find, motor shield docs will help you decide if what you may already have will work.
  5. 1 thing of bubble mix. - find at CVS or a dollar store. Some work better than others
These things I used, but are not critical. This is where your own creativity will need to come to play.
  1.  1 roll of perferated metal tape- any hardware store
  2.  nuts and bolts of various sizes - thread count not critical :)
  3.  diamond plate- local scrap yard
  4.  aluminum channel- local scrap yard 
  5.  1 threaded rod hanger/ plate
  6.  earthquake putty or museum wax
  7.  5 minute epoxy
  8.  1/4" acrylic sheet- about 6" x 6" worth
  9.   acrylic adhesive
The tools you need will once again depend on what you build yours out of.

Step 2: Dealing With the Micro Controller

I am going to assume that you have some experience with the Arduino. If not, you can check out either the web or this site for starting with arduino.

 I will say that Ladyada's site is great for tutorials and buying arduino related stuff. In fact, you should refer to her site about using  the Adafruit motor shield anyway.

The instructions on using the motor shield will tell you where to hook in the servo and DC motor, so I will not go into those details.

The code I used is posted below. 

It is not the most elegant and for the most part hobbled together, but it works. Make sure you have the library for the motor shield

Step 3: Putting It Together

Picture of Putting It Together

I had some diamond plate at the shop, so this became the platform.

Tip # 1 - The reason the arduino will be mounted below the platform is so it won't get wet.  I am pretty positive a wet microcontroller doesn't work very well. Stuff will spash around!

Step 4: Arduino & Motor Shield Platform

Picture of Arduino & Motor Shield Platform

These are just photos showing the construction of the microcontroller platform. I decided to have an on-off  switch and a power jack.

Step 5:

Picture of

Tip # 2 - I used museum wax to hold the servos together. It is fairly strong, but removable in case you need the servos for something else.


Step 6: Additional Photos

Picture of Additional Photos

That is about it. Here are some additional photos.


FeribH (author)2017-09-27

How about 1 fan blowing 24/7, and another "fan" blowing a slow speed.

Attach 1 bubbble soap device on each moving part of the slow blowing fan.

Then add a bowl of soap, so the slow fan is 1/3 covered in soap.

Now let the slow fan rotate, and the fast fan blow at the slow fan. so the slow fan can focus on reloading with soap, and the fast fan just blows!

belliedroot (author)FeribH2017-09-27

Not a bad idea! If you build one, let me know; I would love to see it.

When I made this, I wasn't trying to be efficient... In fact, I kinda wanted it to be sort of absurd-cartoon-factory-conveyor-belt like. :)

FeribH (author)belliedroot2017-09-27

i don't realy have the time & tools for it.
But i wold love to see someone else making it ;)

littlealves (author)2016-02-27

My wife also did it

jeykumar123 (author)2015-02-12

i made that machine in my home .....can you through

jeykumar123 (author)2015-02-12

rch (author)2014-04-27

Lawrence Welk would have loved this!

stumitch (author)2014-03-31

Thats great! Thanks for such a great 'ible.

belliedroot (author)stumitch2014-03-31

Thank you!

pfred2 (author)2011-10-08

What is not to love about yet another frivolous use of a microcontroller? That is my problem with them, I've never found a valid use for one yet. I'm still hoping that someday I will...

belliedroot (author)pfred22011-10-09

Frivolous! ... ok, it probably is. But frivolous sometimes keeps it fun when learning and experimenting.

If I was using microcontrollers while developing a complex anti-locking braking system for Ford (which i'm not), I probably would not make an instructable about it.

pfred2 (author)belliedroot2011-10-09

Probably? You mean you've some doubt? You cause me wonder as to why you wouldn't share a more worthwhile project. We're worlds apart.

bears0 (author)pfred22012-04-03

Why share a companies research? that is how they stay on top. Honda cant tell Ford and Chevrolet how they program their traction control systems because they will just copy them. car companies want something fresh that no one else has. they may tell you the features, but they wont tell you how they designed them.

pfred2 (author)bears02012-04-03

Non sequitur?

thorn (author)2011-09-20

Second video refuses to play. "This video contains content from SME, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

belliedroot (author)thorn2011-09-20

Yes, I know. It is another case of Sony being d**ks. The soundtrack was the Rocky theme song. You can see and hear the video from my Youtube channel scroll down a bit. However it is blocked in about 1000 countries, but still plays in the USA and Antartica, but just in the part where the sun don't shine.

mischka (author)2011-06-29

Cool, I am loving that machine!

DanDiego (author)2010-05-09

It would be fun to build a simpler version of this using one of those drinking birds that dips its beak in water. The bubble wand would be fastened to the bird's head to dip into the bubble solution, and the fan could be triggered by a mechanical switch or light beam. 

micobanff (author)2010-05-07

 That is hilarious and awesome! I would love to try this with a multiple hole bubble stick. If there is a way to slow the fan down, I think it would increase the number of bubbles in each go. 

Great job, and love the diamond plate idea.

yoyology (author)2010-05-01

There's a few good recipes for making your own bubble solution (along with lots of other bubble lore) at The Bubblesphere.

belliedroot (author)yoyology2010-05-01

Great tip. The dollar store stuff was really weak. The better the bubbles, the better the party.

Mr.NHRA (author)belliedroot2010-05-06

 Maybe its just me, but i thought bubbles were made by adding dish soap to tap water until you could blow bubbles with it. :) great instructable!

mikeythev (author)2010-05-06

 I think I'm in love...

Edgrs (author)2010-05-06

 It's sooo sweet and funny

karossii (author)2010-04-30

It would seem to be more efficient (and less messy) if the bubble wand only dipped down and lifted, without the need to rotate...

belliedroot (author)karossii2010-04-30

Yes, it would. But if you are going to make a silly, over-the-top, expensive, bubble blowing machine, might as well add some extra movement.

There's no laser!  How can you expect to have a silly, over-the-top, expensive machine without LAZORS?!!?  ;-)

You are absolutely right! I was hoping no one would notice that the laser was missing. I will have to have a talk with the guys in the research and development dept, they have been slacking lately.

heathbar64 (author)belliedroot2010-05-06

this just confirms once again my theory that the more ridiculous and useless an item is, the more fun it is to design and build. The laser would be cool if you could actually illuminate the bubbles with it. 

mjcwr14 (author)belliedroot2010-05-06

 Make sure its only set to stun

kelseymh (author)belliedroot2010-05-01

No better answer could exist.  Bravo!

zascecs (author)karossii2010-05-01

 I had the same thought...

Ninzerbean (author)2010-05-06


dlfynrdr (author)2010-05-03

Dude, you have WAY WAY too much time on your hands!!  (I love it by the way)

dlfynrdr (author)dlfynrdr2010-05-03

One other thing, did you use that "catnip bubbles" to make that video?  If you'rre not familliar with the stuff, they sell it on amazon.

belliedroot (author)dlfynrdr2010-05-03

Bubble doping, I thought that was banned by The International Olympic Bubble Commitee.

bulsatar (author)2010-05-01

The fan may be rotating too fast and blowing the bubble solution out of the surface tension balance.  Might want to regulate the amps for about half  and you should get more bubbles  :)

zanderjones (author)2010-05-01

 That is beautiful, a true work of art.  I can see this sitting quite happily in the Tate Modern.

XOIIO (author)2010-04-30

LOL the second video is epic!

nickodemus (author)2010-04-30

This is great! And very entertaining also, I'm sure it would make a great center piece for a table. Nice work, keep it up!

kcls (author)2010-04-30

Very cool! I like the second video :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a glass sculptor with a shop and gallery located in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. Besides being a dad and running my business ... More »
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