Introduction: Electro Rock Wall

Picture of Electro Rock Wall

This is a tutorial on how to build a Simon Says game type rock climbing wall. You will receive instruction on how to build the physical wall, set up the circuitry, and have a look at the code for the game on Makey Makey it's created for.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

You will need


  • WOOD, a bunch of it. at least 8x8 feet of it
  • at least four 2X4's
  • hammer and some nails
  • an electric saw
  • a drill
  • a box of screws
  • around twenty 3 inch lag screws
  • fifty 2 inch wood screws
  • at least eight colors of spray paint
  • 15+ rock climbing holds
  • a piece of cardboard
  • plastic cup
  • Makey Make kit
  • conductive paint
  • conductive tape (I actually recommend wire instead of tape)

Step 2: Get Your Wood

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Go and get all your wood! I didn't want to buy a whole bunch of wood for this project so I asked around and ended up getting some for free from an uncle who just built a house and had some left over. I would definitely recommend looking for scrap wood before going out and buying a bunch because the cost can really add up. The down side of this was I had a mash of different shapes and would have to bolt them all together which I'll show you how to do in another step. Once you have all your wood lay it out on the ground and create a square shape as best you can. I wanted my wall to be 8ft by 8ft that way the user would have to stretch to go in either direction. You can customize yours to be taller or wider depending on the type of challenge you want to create or even just if your wood fits better that way. If you plan on putting slabs of wood together like I've done you will want to have some extra 2X4's around to cut up and help shape it later. Make sure that wherever you line up two pieces of wood together you label them to make sure you know where each piece of wood fits together in case they get moved. I wrote in sharpie which piece went on top and bottom and then labeled each panel that lined up the same number as the panel it was touching.

Step 3: Cut Your Wood to a Square

Picture of Cut Your Wood to a Square

Once we had our wood laid out we needed to cut off pieces that stuck out so the shape would be a perfect square. We took a ruler and drew with sharpie where we needed to cut to make a square and then took an electric saw and cut along that line. Save the wood you cut off because you might need it to fill in holes of places your wood doesn't line up perfectly.

Step 4: Fill in the Holes

Picture of Fill in the Holes

As well as spots of wood that stick out of your perfect square you may have some spaces you need to add some wood. In my wall we had a spot that needed four 2X4's to be drilled together and placed in the crack. If you have an empty spot measure it and find the wood you need to fill it. We measured the length of wood we needed to fill the space and cut them to that size. We then drilled each 2X4 together individually and stuck them in place. To keep that block of wood from moving we drilled them to the bigger pieces of wood they were put next to.

Step 5: Secure All Pieces

Picture of Secure All Pieces

Once you have your perfect shape you need to attach all of the pieces to each other. I used around 12 lag screws to secure my whole wall. I got these from Lowe's and it only cost me about $5.00. Drill in a lag screw about every foot in a place that a piece connects. This should easily create a strong bond that keeps them all together.

Step 6: Create a Front

Picture of Create a Front

Once you've shaped and completely connected your wood into one square piece you might want to consider adding a big piece of wood onto the front to make your wall a little stronger before you add the holds. This also helps the cosmetic appearance a little because you won't be seeing the lines from all the pieces you just connected. Flip your square over to the opposite side you connected all your pieces on so the flat side is facing up. Lay your piece of wood on top of this. I had to use two pieces because again I was just using whatever wood I could find. Screw in a screw about every foot around the border of the square to attach your board to your main square. I had some wood that hung over the edge so we used the electric saw to cut off all the excess just like we did before.

Step 7: Stand It Up

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Take your wall off the ground and lean it up against a real wall to attach the base 2X4's. Lay a 2X4 up against the bottom side of the wall like in the first picture. Use the screws to attach this 2X4 to the wall. Then cut up a two smaller 2X4's to create a triangle. you will need to lean them up against the wall and the floor to draw a line on the wood where they will angled against these spots. Cut the corners where you drew your lines. Your 2X4 should now fit flat against the wall and floor. Use more of the lag bolts you used before to drill these pieces into the wall and the longer 2x4 already screwed to the side of the wall. After you have done this to both sides your wall should stand and support weight all on it's own. Me and my dad are not engineers and i'm sure there are much better and more reliable ways to make the wall free standing so feel free to look into some and try your own thing.

Step 8: Add Your Holds

Picture of Add Your Holds

I bought 15 holds on Ebay for $25.00. You could definitely fit more holds on an 8X8 wall, but I had a budget and having less holds actually added a difficulty to playing the game that I liked. I used 2 inch wood screws to attach my holds, but different hold require different screws so make sure you look into the kind you buy and know what you need. I separated my hand and foot holds and then screwed them on the wall one hold at a time. I would put one on and then test it and see where it felt like I needed the next one. I was sure to fill in most gaps while still placing them each far enough apart to make it as challenging as I could. You can get creative on this part and put the holds wherever you like them!

Step 9: Painting

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Now for the fun part! First you'll need to buy some conductive paint. I used this BARE conductive paint that costs $24.00 on Amazon for mine. This paint didn't work the best for my holds and actually ended up rubbing onto climbers hands some of the time so I would recommend you try out and read reviews on some other kind. If you don't want to mess with the conductive paint at all you can just let the conductive tape (which i'll show how to place on the wall in the next step) go onto the holds to be touched. If you do use the paint make sure you create to spots of paint that do not touch. This is because one is ground and one is positive. You also need to make sure the climber can easily be touching both of these spots when the grab the hold. Next you should create a circle template to help you keep your spray paint from getting everywhere. For my template I just cut a circle out of cardboard. You also need a different color of spray paint for every hand hold you decide to use. The game I programmed had 8 hand holds so I needed 8 colors. Place your circle template around your hold and then put a plastic cup over your hold to keep the paint from covering it. Spray it so it's dark enough to see around each of your hand holds.

Step 10: Connecting the Wall to the Makey Makey

Picture of Connecting the Wall to the Makey Makey

This part is tricky. I used conductive tape and would not recommend it at all. I don't think the connection is very strong after a certain distance and I think you would be much better off running wire to each of the holds. What you need to do is attach a wire to one of the painted spots on a hold and then run it up and over the wall. I let my tape then hang over the back which was a mistake, many pieces ended up touching and messing up the game. So what I would suggest is running wire over the wall taping it along the back and then into the coordinating spot you have programmed that color into Makey Makey. This way you can see where everything connects easily and what goes where. I think it would also be a really good idea to label each wire with the key it's suppose to connect to on the Makey Makey as well as the color of hold it should connect to. Anyways one wire on each hold should run to the Makey Makey key it coordinates with and one should run to ground. It doesn't matter which is ground and which is the positive as long as each hold has both.

Step 11: Circuitry Blueprint

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Here's a little diagram of how you should be connecting your conductive tape (or wire) to the holds and the Makey Makey.

Step 12: Climb Away!

Picture of Climb Away!

Connect your Makey Makey to a computer and find my Bouldering Game, "Bouldering Game, By Shaelee Johnson", on scratch and climb away! Or create your own game! If your computer has issues freezing the game try a more powerful one. We had two laptops freeze up during the game before we connected it to a Mac and it ran smoothly.

Step 13: Code and Credit

Picture of Code and Credit

Follow this link and click "see inside" to see notes on the code for my Makey Makey Scratch "Electro Rockwall Bouldering Game". https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/130033338/

The game is all mine except for the numbering assignment code which I remixed off a code called Unique Number Per Sprite by user drmcw

Comments

tomatoskins (author)2016-12-13

Such a fun idea!

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Bio: ​My name is Shaelee Johnson. I'm 19 years old and I live in Logan, Utah. I'm currently an interior design student at Utah ... More »
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