This is a fun and unique project that I began initially building shortly after the release of my Electronic LEGO Star Wars DL-44 Blaster Pistol -- which of course means this particular project was built using my acquired knowledge of the blaster, as well as it uses a very similar functionality. The bulk of the project is a miniature 3D pixelated version of an iconic Invincibility Star (or Starman) from the Super Mario Bros. series, but inside is a miniature circuit board containing a few components to make the eyes blink and to play music. Like my DL-44 Blaster, this project also requires an Arduino as well as a working knowledge of how to program microcontrollers. The electronics portion to this is much, much easier and streamlined versus the DL-44 Blaster, as the microcontroller used is an ATtiny85 to play tone melodies, rather than an entire ATmega328 for blasting PWM sound files. Once all is completed, when you push a small tactile button located on the rear of the Starman's head, the Mario invincibility music plays for a few seconds (via tones, not WAVs nor MP3s), while the two eyes blink in synchronization.
In this tutorial, I'll provide instructions how to build four different styles: Glowing Yellow, Ice Blue, Gold, and Rainbow -- the special rainbow Starman has its own unique code for playing the Mario "Coin Heaven" music from Super Mario Bros. 3, and instead of the eyes blinking in one color like the other three stars, the rainbow one uses color-changing LEDs which cycle through multiple colors. This is optional, and like all of my projects, you're absolutely free to deviate and change the colors and change the Arduino code if you'd like.
Please note before attempting this project:
The instructional guide for this section was generated with LEGO Digital Designer, which is a free program developed by LEGO Group for making virtual blueprints of original creations. Like in all of my other projects, the pieces acquired here were from a variety of sources, but mainly individually online through BrickLink.com -- essentially, it's an online "candy store" of LEGO pieces, where you choose parts based on type, color, or year in a catalog.
Download your chosen Starman model from the links below, and view the HTML guide with parts lists in the following links: Glowing Yellow (white, orange, and yellow with yellow eyes), Ice Blue (blue, light blue, and transparent light blue with blue eyes), Gold (orange, orange-yellow, and yellow with orange eyes), and Rainbow (various colors with transparent clear eyes that blink flashing colors). As mentioned previously, the first three Starmen play the invincibility music in sync with the eyes flashing, whilst the fourth one plays the "Coin Heaven" music with multicolor eyes. Regardless of the model, the basic construction is exactly the same for each -- with the exception of the last remaining steps where you add the top layer of plates, tiles, and eye colors. Again, you're also free to deviate from my design and build a star based on your own color schemes, like a green star, a solid pink one, or even a black star with spooky red eyes. In the various links above (which correspond to the various models), you'll see the step-by-step guides in HTML with a parts list as the last step. Regardless, the individual LDD files are contained in attachments in this step.
As I also point out in each of my LEGO Tutorials, LDD tends to produce the steps in random order and ends up having parts appear before other parts are intended to be added. Using your best judgement as a LEGO builder, always ensure your model is built securely and use your own design savvy to locate where the pieces should go.
The bulk of the project is made from black plates and bricks, to form the star pattern. The innards are of course hollow, which securely house the electrical parts. Towards the end of the building steps, you'll begin placing plates and tiles on the front of the star, according to your model's color design. Be sure to use the Technic plate in the direct center as specified: these holes are necessary for sound output. The final steps of the project contain the panel for keeping the tactile button in place: for some reason, LDD doesn't allow this particular irregular method of inserting Technic pins in the backs of bricks, hence the button panel appears as a separate component which should be added later (see the steps with the electronics).