Introduction: How to Make the Anglerfish From "Finding Nemo"

Picture of How to Make the Anglerfish From "Finding Nemo"
"Down here, don't be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of the light."
- National Geographic: Weird Killer of the Deep.

In Finding Nemo, as they try to find P. Sherman's diving mask, Dory and Marlin are lured into a dark trench by an anglerfish's mesmerizing lights and are chased down by the creature. In real life, this hangry deep sea anglerfish lives in the world's most inhospitable habitat: the bottom of the sea. Their best feature, only included in the female version of the fish, is an extension of the dorsal spine that comes out of the head like a fishing pole that is topped off with a very hypnotizing bioluminescent orb. This light is often positioned strategically in front of the anglerfish's mouth to make catching prey extremely convenient.

In pursuit of recreating this freakishly awesome deep sea creature, we have built a larger-than-life sized and moving model, fit with everything from the enticing lights, to the razor sharp teeth, to the super-creepy everything else.

Good luck!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

To get started with this project, you will need the following items:

- 12 LED's of any color

- 1 Servo Motor

- 2 9V Battery

- Arduino

- Breadboard

- Foam Boards

- PolyStyrene

- Paint

Additionally, you will need to following tools to complete the project:

- Xacto Knives

- Wire Cutters

- Computer

- Soldering Iron

- Hot Glue Gun

Step 2: Drawing the Fish

Picture of Drawing the Fish

First, you will need to make an appropriate sketch of the fish. You may use google in order to find the picture and make it of a suitable height, length and width. After deciding on what the dimensions of the fish are going to be, you may then start the process of making the fish. For this step, get the foam board and a writing utensil, and start drawing the fish based on your measurements.

Step 3: Cutting It Out

Picture of Cutting It Out

Next, we will start the process of cutting out the fully drawn fish made in Step 2. After the drawing is completely drawn out, grab an exacto knife and slowly cut out the drawn fish on the foam boarder (Note: Make sure you cut all the way through as there are many layers to the foam board).

Step 4: Second Cutting

Picture of Second Cutting

After this is done, repeat Steps 2 and 3 and do this for another fish, so that you get 2 copies of the fishes.

Step 5: Breadboard Time

Picture of Breadboard Time

For this step, you need to get a breadboard, multiple wires, arduino, servo motors, and LED lights. Upon receiving all the necessary items, you can start to assemble a basic circuit for the LEDs, to make sure they are fully operational. In preparation for this step, you may use different online applications to help make an example circuit, in order for you to know where to go from there. This step is all preparation for the next step, which will be assembling the "example circuit".

Step 6: Programming Arduino

Picture of Programming Arduino

Using the example circuit made online from the last step, you may now start to assemble the circuit. After placing all the wires, LEDs, and motors down, you can then connect the arduino to the computer and to the breadboard. Use the following code for the arduino to make the LEDs flash and the servo motors move:

int led1 = 13; int led2 = 12; int led3 = 11; int led4 = 10; int led5 = 9;

Servo servo1; Servo servo2;

int pos = 0;

int ledState = LOW; // ledState used to set the LED

// Generally, you should use "unsigned long" for variables that hold time // The value will quickly become too large for an int to store unsigned long previousMillis = 0; // will store last time LED was updated

// constants won't change : const long interval = 1000;

void setup() {

servo1.attach(3); servo2.attach(5);

pinMode(led1, OUTPUT); pinMode(led2, OUTPUT); pinMode(led3, OUTPUT); pinMode(led4, OUTPUT); pinMode(led5, OUTPUT); // put your setup code here, to run once:


void loop() { unsigned long currentMillis = millis(); if (currentMillis - previousMillis >= interval) { // save the last time you blinked the LED previousMillis = currentMillis;

// if the LED is off turn it on and vice-versa: if (ledState == LOW) { ledState = HIGH; } else { ledState = LOW; }

// set the LED with the ledState of the variable: digitalWrite(led1,ledState); digitalWrite(led2,ledState); digitalWrite(led3,ledState); digitalWrite(led4,ledState); digitalWrite(led5,ledState); }

for (pos = 0; pos <= 180; pos += 1) { // goes from 0 degrees to 180 degrees // in steps of 1 degree servo1.write(pos);// go to position in variable 'pos' delay(15); // waits 15ms for the servo to reach the position } for (pos = 180; pos >= 0; pos -= 1) { // goes from 180 degrees to 0 degrees servo1.write(pos); // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos' delay(15); // waits 15ms for the servo to reach the position } for (pos = 0; pos <= 180; pos += 1) { // goes from 0 degrees to 180 degrees // in steps of 1 degree servo2.write(pos);//ion in variable 'pos' delay(15); // waits 15ms for the servo to reach the position } for (pos = 180; pos >= 0; pos -= 1) { // goes from 180 degrees to 0 degrees servo2.write(pos);//tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos' delay(15); // waits 15ms for the servo to reach the position }


At this point, the breadboard should be finished.

Step 7: Creating the Tail

Picture of Creating the Tail

The tail is constructed the same way as the main fish body except that the polystyrene is not hollowed out.

  1. Cut out 2 identical shapes of your choice. We used an arrow shape for the tail.
  2. Carve the polystyrene using a scroll saw into the same shape in order to join the 2 shapes and give the tail depth. It's best if the depth is similar to that of the fish.
  3. Cut a small circular shape at the tip of the tail for the servo motor that will be added later.

Step 8: Giving Your Fish Depth

Picture of Giving Your Fish Depth

Similar to the tail process, carve polystyrene using a scroll saw to add depth to one of the fish shapes. After cutting the polystyrene out, hollow it so that a 2-inch wide border in the shape of the fish is left.

Once the shape is complete, hot glue it to one of the foam board fishes. This is also the side that the Arduino will be connected later in the project.

Step 9: Integrating the Circuit

Picture of Integrating the Circuit

Integrating the circuit is the most challenging part of the project, starting out you can use one battery we decided to use two for the sake of space management. for this step you will need a Soldering iron, Solder, LED's, Solid wire, 100ohm Resistors, 1 or 2 batteries, your servo motor, your Programmed ardunio, and 1 or 2 battery connectors. start by soldering individual 100 ohm resistors to 6 LED's cathode's. you use individual resistors for each because no LED can take precedence over another and draw more power. next is to connect a solid wire to the Anode of each LED and then to solder individual solid wires to the recently connected 100 OHM Resistors. at this point you're LED's should look the same as picture two depicts them. Continuing you now connect the Anode wires of the LED's to the Anode wire of the Battery Connector. the same goes for the Cathode Of the LED's, you solder the solid wires to the Cathode of the Battery Connector. once you have attached the desired amount of LED's you should have something similar to picture three, varying by the amount of LED's attached. you may now integrate the lights into the top of the fish wherever your heart desires. we used a screwdriver to open the holes so the LED's may slide through the top and then used hot glue so they would stay in place. the next task is integrating the Ardunio and the flashing lights. we used three LED's that would flash you may use as many as you like as long as it stays in the restraints of the code. to start the process create the LED circuit the exact same way as the previous ones changing one key element, that is you must connect theses flashing LED's at their anodes to each other. you now connect the bundle of Anodes to another solid wire, and run that wire into the Ground(GND) pin on the lower side of the Ardunio. the Cathodes of the LED's now find an individual spot on the upper side of the ardunio in any pin saying 2-13. Alright bear with me were almost done. this is integrating the ardunio. for those of you with one battery take two solid wires connect one to the cathode of the battery connector and one to the Anode. Connect the Cathode Wire to the Vin connector pin on the lower part of the ardunio, and the Anode wire in any slot on the top ranging from 2-13. onto the servo motor, as you can see in picture four, you remove the original tail cut out so you can fit the motor and attach the new tail. there are three wire connectors attached to a servo motor, our motor had brown,red,and orange as the color scheme. place a short wire in each of these connectors, place the wire attached to brown in the GND pin above 13 on the upper side of the Ardunio. connect the red connectors wire into the 5V pin on the lower side of the ardunio, and finally the orange connector wire into any slot labeled 2-13. you can install the ardunio and batteries wherever is best for your. the bulb that is seen in picture five is the same as all the other stationary lights except twisted together with a longer strip of solid wire.

Step 10: Final Touches

Picture of Final Touches

After fully integrating the wires into the inside of the fish, start making sure everything is organized properly. In other words, makes sure that nothing looks sloppy or unfinished. Once everything is double checked, find the second half that we cut out and painted in the earlier steps, and hot glue it onto the opposing side. Again, check for any errors and fine tune the rest of the project.

Step 11: The Final Product

At the end of completing all the step, you get the product as shown above.

Step 12: Reflection

During this project, we learned many new skills and ideas regarding electronics. The main thing we liked most about the project was the use of the arduino when it came to the LEDs and the servo motor. We found it interesting how we could program an arduino to make our LEDs blink on and off at random times, and make our servo motors move periodically. One thing that we would definitely change would be overall shape/material of our design. We noticed too late that the idea we had initially had for making the body of the fish was too arduous and took too much time, so we needed to change to a more aesthetically unappealing idea. Next time, we would want to integrate another servo motor. We were starting to run out of time, so we decided to take out the second servo motor and keep only one instead.


Swansong (author)2017-05-02

That looks great :) Creepy and fun!

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