Step 1: Before We Begin
- 1 large Foam Core (for the building bases)
- 1 large artboard
- 10 LEDs various colors (one for each building so get as many as you want)
- 10 330 -ohm resistors (or as many LEDs as you get as you use one for each)
- 20 small Neodymium magnets (i reccomend these: https://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=B441)
- 1 roll of copper tape (you will not use all of it)
-double sided tape
- hot glue gun or glue dots
- Sheets of tracing paper or vellum (for the buildings)
- 2 metallic sheets 26' guage or thinnner (you can even remove one from one of those little fridge magnet boards)
- Soldering iron
-Scissors or exacto knife
- 2 9v batteries
-2 9v battery connectors
(if you dont know how to solder yet check out this tutorial https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-solder/)
kids of all ages should learn to solder and work responsibly, the earlier the better
all of these materials are available at your local art store or staples and radio shack, but i would recommend buying some of the electronics parts with special attention to the magnets online as the price differences are remarkable.
Step 2: The Base
While the dimensions of your base can be whatever you want this example is constructed around one that is 8.5" x 11" (or basic letter paper size).
You want to place the sheet of metal in between two of art board, gluing it firmly in place. This allows the magnets in the buildings to easily attach and hold to the base, while also insulating it from the current that will be going through the copper tape. As you all may know the metal sheet is highly conductive so not doing this would render our project rather ineffective.
Step 3: Power Lines
Begin by running the lines in pairs (one for positive and one for negative current) across the base. Remember to leave a little bit of each hanging over the edges for we are going to connect them on the back. I left 3/4 inch of space in between each line (this will be important for where we place the magnets in our buildings).
For this example this will give us 4 rows of places to put your buildings.
Step 4: Connecting Our Roads
The easiest way to do this is to connect the lines in a simple C shape, to which we will later attach the lines of our battery connectors.
VERY IMPORTANT that the lines do not touch each other, as you can see i placed a piece of electrical tape where one line crosses over the other, this will insulate the positive from the negative current.
Then placing the battery in the center of the base line up your positive (red) power line and your negative (black) power line to each of the copper tape roads.
Step 5: Soldering Points
At this point you are also going to want to solder the battery connector wires to their respective positions on the copper tape.
This will effectively power that half of the board!
Step 6: Repeat for Other Side
This step finishes of our board so we can now begin to make our buildings!
Step 7: Building Base
Take you LED and bend its legs out flat, remember electricity can only flow one way through an LED so making note of the positive side is important (this is the long leg or anode, the short leg is known as a cathode), i find it best to mark this right on the base so as not to forget.
Step 8: Resistors
For a bit of background, we are including a resistor because the LEDs (5mm) in this case are not meant to be connected directly to a 9v battery, this would cause them to burn out almost instantly (one flash and a pop and a dead LED is all you will be left with). So a resistor is used (330-ohm) in this case to lower the current that is passed to the LED.
Clip the resistors legs as well and place it on the positive side of the LED, using again a glue dot or hot glue dab.
Step 9: Magnets
These magnets are what will allow the current to pass from the board up to the led (they will be connected with copper tape in the next step) as well as what allow the buildings to stick to the base, making them much sturdier and you wont have to worry about simple movements knocking the lights off.
Step 10: Connecting the Lights
Step 11: Solder Connections and TEST
Once you connect these you can test our you light by simply placing it on your base (remember which line is positive and negative) and it should light up. One good thing about the LED is that if you hook it up backwards (or place it backwards) nothing will happen (no frying) so if it doesn't light up you just have to spin it around!
Step 12: Build Up the Walls
You ar going to have 4 sides and a lid for your building, so in this case working off a 1 1/2 inch base, we will have 4 squares of that equal length and a lid drawn above one of them.
Remember to account for flaps to make the lid and sides stick together better!
Step 13: Simple Box Complete!
To get what is featured below simple apply double side tape to the bottom edge of the cube, as well as the 3 flaps on the lid, and paste it around the base light that you created before!
Step 14: Modular Building
The way we make them modular (stackable) is by extending the power running through the light (both positive and negative lines) to the lid, and include a small piece of metal in the lid, allowing the magnets to create that same strong hold they have to the base.
so first cut out a square of metal the same size of your lid (depending on what thickness of metal you are using simple scissors may not be enough, luckly metal sheers are very easy to come by at any home depot, they look just like scissors just alot thicker).
Then using your double sided tape attach just one side to our light base.
Step 15: Extend the Lines
Leave a little bit as a flap for above which we will later extend.
Than you want to make another solder dot here to connect the two pieces of tape.
Step 16: Repeat
Step 17: Close the Lid and Build the Roof
Once your lid is closed and in place, bend these down in order to extend them.
You want to keep the same distance as before (3/4 inch) between the two strips so any of the buildings you make can easily attach!
One final step for good practice will be to solder the tape connections on top, this will provide us with a fool proof connection.
Step 18: Finished!
Even begin to make taller buildings, both by stacking and by designing longer frames with your tracing paper!!!
Hope you all enjoyed, and feel free to post your own customized creations!!!!