Introduction: Glass Computers Based on Arduino Uno

Picture of Glass Computers Based on Arduino Uno

To my masters graduate project ("Gowing Computers, Connecting Bodies, Cutting the Cord") from Konstfack College of Arts Crafts and Design (ceramics and glass/CRAFT) I made 3 glass computers based on the specifications of Arduino Uno. The breadboard is the glass sculptures with copperwire inside and connected to eachother the form the circuit. The Project is about the relation between body-computer-human or cyborg and therefore the shapes of the sulptures are inspired by organs. This instructable is published to follow the conditions of copyleft and is focused on how I made the computers with one of them as the example. If you want to know more about my project, the programming of the computers or my art and craft practice in general please visit my website, download my paper from DiVA or contact e through e-mail.



-glass hotshop
-diamond sheers
-many punty rods
-coldworking workshop or gas flame
-TIG-welding equipment
-soldering Equipment
-solder with led
-wire stripper
-glass drill or tunsten electrode, oxygen torch and screwdriver/handdrill to make holes in the hollow piece that the chip is put in.

-copper wire, length depending on how big parts you make
-Cable, lengt depending on how long distance you want between your parts
-small copperparts to use as pins
-crocodile clips (optional)

Here you can buy all electric components
in one pack:

or else buy:

-two 10 uf electrolytic capacitors
-two 10 uf tantalum capacitors
-one 7805 voltage regulator (5v)
-one LM1117T-3.3 voltage regulator(3.3v)
-one green LED
-one red LED
-two 150 ohm resistors
-one 10k resistor
-one 0.1 uf capacitor (ceramic disk)
-two 22 pf capacitors (ceramic disk)
-one 16 MHz crystal oscillator
-one momentary push button switch
-one female wall wart power jack
-one ATmega328 with bootloader
-one 28 pin DIP IC socket
-one sparkfun FTDI basic breakout board

Step 1: Soldered Copper Wires

Picture of Soldered Copper Wires

okay first a quick overview on what you need to do and when. I will not help you through each step. If you do not know how to coldwork glass or weld for example you have to look at Another instructable too.

weld copperwires
get a Picture in your head over how the wires should be placed in each part
make glass parts
coldwork glass parts, including drilling holes in the hollow part that has the chip inside if you didn't hot drill earlier
paint glass parts
solder Components to glassparts, when you do make sure to remove oxide or paint from the wires
solder copper parts to the Cables that should be your pins and mark them with numbers.
connect Everything together with cable and crocoldile clips (or solder cables)

to program your project connect the sparkfunk FTDI basic breakout
or program your chip in a normal arduino and then carefully move it.

first we are going to weld the copperwires. Use TIG-welding and make sure you weld good connections to make sure the joint doesn't break or creates reststance later on in the circuit. Look at the picture for reference on how a safe welding joint looks in this specific project.

You will need single, double and tripple wires look at the pictures to see how they look.

depending on how you want to wire with the cables outside the glass sculputures you can off course make different connections , but based on how I made it you will need to make:

15 single (not welded, just cut)
5 double
3 tripple

it is easy to destroy one and fail with some so I recommed you to make some extra of each.

Step 2: The 5V, GND and 3,3V Coppe Wires

Picture of The 5V, GND and 3,3V Coppe Wires

depending on how many 5V pins, gnd-pins and 3v-pins you want on your finished "arduino" you can make more arms on these. in this project I made only one 3Vpin so the copperwire soldering for 3V is just a normal tripple but if you want more 3V-pins you can make it look more like the others shown in the other picture. 5V has more arms since the chip and different components and parts needs to be connected to 5V. With this many arms there will still be only one or two GND-pin/5V-pin.

You can Think of this part the two long lines on an experiment breadboard that usually is used for + and -

if you make a DIY-arduino on it you use that both as your GNS/5V-pins and as connectionspot for the connections "inside the arduino"

all copperwires marked with black - or red + in the following pictures later on in this istructable is supposed to be connected to one of these arms.

Step 3: Glass Making

Picture of Glass Making

this is the basics on how you make the glass parts.

You have to plan each part before you start and place the copperwires on the metal table.
Be prepared with tools before you start. The glass cools down quick. The smaller parts you make, the harder to make the copper wire to stick to the glass.

Think in layers and which copperwires that sould or can't be close to eachother depending on what components you are going to solder to them later. Do not solder anything Before you have annealed the glass.
I airbrushpainted my glass parts with glass paint. If you want to do that do not solder anything before the paint is fired and so on. coldwork or torch the marks from when you knock the part of the punty rod

Make sure no copper wires touch eachother inside the glass parts. It is a good idea to meassure resistans with an voltmeter to se if any wires are broken or connected to Another wire it shouldn't be connected to.

pour glass on the wires, make sure the ends of the wires doesn't get covered.
make a puntie and put the parts together. Reheat quick before continuing after the puntie.
DO NOT reheat in the glory hole, it gets to hot and the copper wires outside the glass melts.
If you do, beware of the flame. I suggest you reheat in the gathering hole instead, works fine for me.

while sitting on the bench it s easy to apply more glass with diamond shear to cover wires that got to little glass on them.

Apply more glass and use the tweezers to sculpt your desired shape.

Step 4: Power Up

Picture of Power Up

Lets start to Power up. if you want to be abe to Power up your computer with a DCadapter you need to make this and make it convert the voltage to 5V since the arduino runs on 5V. How many arms you make on the + and - side is depending on how many 5v pins and GND pins you want on your "Arduino" to connect your Projects to,
but minimum Connections is 9 and 10 to be able to connect the chip and other parts.
The part with many copper "arms" is like the + - side on a experiment breadboard on a normal DIY-arduino.

make sure the electrolytic capacitors have the long leg on the + side and the short leg on the - side
make sure all ends of copper wire sticks out so you can solder to them or connect crocodile clips.
(make sure no ends of the copperwire gets covered in glass.)
make sure the 7805 voltage regulators wires is placed close enough in the glass to solder to but not touching eachother

Step 5: Power LED

Picture of Power LED

to make sure the Power is on it is good to make a Power-LED
connect + and - to one on the arms on the part you made in step 4
Make sure the LED has the long leg to + and the short to -

use much solder when you solder to the copperwires

Step 6: Atmega Chip

Picture of Atmega Chip

Since the Atmega chip has so many small legs I couldn't solder it to copper wires and decided to use a breadboard and hide it inside a blown hollow scculpture. solder the chip holder to the breadboard so you can take out and replace the chip if you solder anything wrong or if you want to program it with Another arduino instead of using the SparkFun FT232 breakout board to program your glass computer.

use a knife to take away copper on the marked place to disconnect the two sides of the chip.

solder wires to all legs.

when you put in the chip in the holder make sure it it placed in the right direction otherwise it might burn.
the Purple dot in picture 3 marks out the dot on the chip to place it in the right direction.

Step 7: Built in LED Digital Pin 13

Picture of Built in LED Digital Pin 13

Most Arduino boards already have an LED attached to pin 13 on the board itself so let's put one on digital pin 13 which is leg 19 on the chip. connect the other copperwire to - side on the +/- glass part from step 4

Step 8: Crystal

Picture of Crystal

chip leg 7-10 should be connected like this

Step 9: Reset Button and SparkFun FT232 Breakout Board

Picture of Reset Button and SparkFun FT232 Breakout Board

make the part with resetbutton and if you want to be able to Power your "arduino"-computer through connecting your laptop to the SparkFun FT232 breakout board or if you want to program it by using the SparkFun FT232 breakout board you should connect it here too.

The connections on the sparkfun breakout basics is:

DTR/STR - to the resetbutton-part as shown in Picture
RX - to digital pin 1 / leg 3 on the atmega chip
GND - to - side in the +/- glass part

Step 10: Digital and Analouge Pins

Picture of Digital and Analouge Pins

The marked legs on the chip can be digital and analouge pins. The chip is inside the hollow glass sculpture and the wires comes out from drilled holes.

(if you don't use SparkFun FT232 breakout board you can also use digital pin 0 and digital pin 1)

I soldered copper bits to each of the Cables (triangle for digital and round for analouge) and hammered in numbers like "D2" or "A0" to them, and then I can connect things to my pins with crocodile clips.

Step 11: Extras

Picture of Extras

If you want more parts to your computer (for pure aestetics) you can choose to make a glass part for this Connection to instead of connect straight from the chips wire to the + - part you made in step 4.

Offcourse you can also put together many parts (like for example the led on pin13 and the power led) to one part instead of two separate if you instead of more parts want less.

the 3V-part is also not needed if you do not need 3V for your future projects you want to connect to the glass computer, but it is a nice extra to add. In my example you will only get one 3V-pin but you can easily get more if you want if you weld more copper arms to it.


Ultra-Indigo (author)2016-06-03

Awesome, thank you for making this! It is lovely!

piperjon (author)2016-06-01

That is insanely beautiful! Form meets function in such a unique manner, just lovely!

seamster (author)2016-06-01

These are really cool looking! I've never seen anything quite like these. Thanks for taking the time to share! :)