I probably don't have to tell you that chasing a laser pointer is something cats love to do. But there are many of us who either don't have enough time to play with our cats, or maybe we need a way to distract the cats while cooking, or say, typing on a laptop. This laser plays with your cat for you. This device consists of a 3d printed case holding 2 servos and a laser pointer, batteries, a switch, and a small micro-controller. The software that is uploaded cycles through 12 functions at random. I made the functions by playing with my cats with a laser pointer, and when they responded to something I would translate that to code.
If you don't have access to a 3d printer you can still build this using any small project enclosure, and any reasonable way of sticking the servos and laser together. My first prototype used velcro on servo horns and it worked fine it was just ugly. There are also a number of cheap pan tilt mechanisms available but be aware that if they mount differently it may change the way the patterns are projected.
Above is a video showing my cats playing with the CheetahBeam. There is also a way to calibrate the device to the size of your space! We don't want the laser pointing out the window onto the street below. You can roughly change the play area by pulling off either servo mount or laser mount and rotating the desired angle before pressing back on. If you are comfortable programming in arduino you can change a few lines of code to have even more control over the area the laser covers.
Lasers can cause eye injury. The laser used in this project is low powered but please use some common sense. Do not use in a room with reflective flooring (linoleum, polished hardwood etc.). Place the laser as high up as you can, use the hook to hang it if necessary. Discontinue use if your cat seems stressed or is just staring at the device. Do not use lithium AA batteries. I also don't recommend using for more than 15 minutes at a time. You may also add a piece of diffusion material or laser diffusion screen in front of laser module to be certain there is no risk of injury.
For this build you will need:
The 3D printed case, or your own enclosure. Case files are here. If you are printing the case yourself follow the instructions on thingiverse.
Adafruit pro trinket 5V - You need the pro, unfortunately the sketch is too large for the regular trinket. The code may work on other small arduino boards, but I haven't tested. Sketch size is 9600 bytes and it uses the servo library.
1 standard size servo (Radio Shack, Parallax, Hi-Tec, Futaba, etc.)
1 SG90 micro servo (Tower Pro, Turnigy, etc.)
KY 008 laser module
SPDT slide switch - Use this one for a perfect fit.
4 AA batteries - Rechargeables are fine.
2M of 26 AWG silicon wire
AA battery contacts or a small battery box to rip them out of - I used this one.
2 x 2mm and 4 x 2.5mm screws that should come with your servos but may not.
10mm rubber feet - optional.
Usb to micro usb DATA cable (be certain it is a data cable and not just charging)
Double sided mounting tape
If you are printing the case you will also need; needle nose pliers, xacto knife, and a small flat file.
In later steps you will also view the wiring diagram and download the program.