Constellation Projector

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Posted in Technology3D-Printing

Introduction: Constellation Projector

Want to teach your littles about stargazing? Teach kids constellation recognition and astronomy, 3D printing and simple electronics with this star projector.

Great starter project for 3D printing. Simple shapes and cutaways make this ideal for teaching kids how to print useful items on the printer (not that toys aren't cool.) Kids will need a little supervision on this one as there's electricity involved, albeit, low voltage.

Step 1: Building the Projector Box

Step 2: Building the Switch

Step 3: Switch Contacts

Step 4: Build the Constellation Cover

This is the tricky part of this tutorial but stick with me here. You need to find an image of a constellation that you want to make a cover for and pass it through an SVG convertor. There are numerous sites that will convert files in this way for you. I prefer Convertio. Once you have converted your file to the proper format, import it into your scene with the import function. When you have it imported you need to resize it according to the cover. Start placing "hole" cylinders about 2x2x20 and place them over the larger stars in the field so the light will shine through them. You can then delete the imported picture from your frame. Add some text for the constellation name and select "Hole" on it. Press Ctrl+A to select everything in the scene and flip all the objects 180 degrees so it will print upside down.

Step 5: Assembling the Parts

Glue the switch into the hole we made in the main box.

Step 6: Finishing Up the Project

When choosing a light source, a smaller bright bulb is generally best as this projects a tiny, bright, crisp point on the ceiling. The larger the bulb, the larger the point it will project.

Wiring the project is SUPER simple. Bring in the two wires from your power source through the small round hole we made in the projector box. Break one wire (doesn't matter which) and route it through the switch and then to the light source.

And you're all done! Enjoy teaching your kids about how to identify different constellations. A couple of teaching ideas: Maybe explain a few constellations that you can only see at certain times of the year. Also, learn a couple of different ones that you can't see from the Northern/Southern hemisphere. A quick bit of research will reveal several suggestions on this point. Hope you all enjoy your star gazing and keep on making!

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    4 Comments

    does it project onto the ceiling well?

    Great project! Do you have more photos or videos of the projection?

    2 replies

    I don't have any videos but I could take a few more photos for you if you'd like. What in particular did you want to see?

    Yes, that would be really cool if you can upload few more pictures on your instructable :)

    For example, you could take a picture of the whole device, with the light switched ON, and that would be a great thumbnail picture! The current thumbnail just shows a small part of the device and without the light.

    I think this is a great project, but the instructable would be even better with few more pictures ;) Keep it up!