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:
- Like all of my Instructables, this is not an easy nor cheap project to build. Although the LEGO and electronic portions are both significantly easier than the DL-44 Blaster, this isn't a project to be done by amateurs with little skill. Each Starman model contains roughly 300 LEGO pieces: some have slightly more or less depending on the particular color model. For instance, the rainbow version's outer tiles use a completely different pattern than the other three, thus has a little bit more than 300 pieces. On average, I can't really give an estimation for the price, since I bought most of my electronics parts in large batches at once. Many of the pieces can be bought for less than $1 US from various online sources, and you'll probably spend about $10-15 worth of LEGO pieces, give or take.
- The electronics skill required is novice-to-intermediate, but nonetheless requires the ability to solder and identify components (e.g. adhering to proper LED polarity, using proper resistors, using sufficient battery power).
- Programming the sound chip requires a working Arduino board. I use an Uno, but from what I've gathered, the Mega and other models can be substituted.
- Touching one of these stars will not grant you temporary invulnerable powers. Believe me, I tested it and jumped off a tall building and died. ᴸᵘᶜᵏᶦᶫʸ ᴵ ʰᵃᵈ ᵃ ¹⁻ᵁᴾ ᵐᵘˢʰʳᵒᵒᵐ⋅