Introduction: Mini Wheel of Fortune!

Picture of Mini Wheel of Fortune!

Have you ever been stuck on a decision, or just bored? With this project, you don't have to be anymore. Based off the famous show created by Merv Griffin in 1975, this table top game is fun for everyone! By simply clicking and holding a button, you can watch the wheel spin in front of you, and stop one one of several options. You can even customize the wheel to be multiple games that can be played with friends!

The best part about this wheel is its button interactivity, in addition to how it's options can be customized with a simple marker. For example, options include a game board spinner, truth or dare, and of course, Wheel of Fortune. Other features on this project include an on/off switch, a stable wooden cabinet to hold electrical components, in addition to being a great project for beginners.

Step 1: Gathering Information

For our project, we decided that to make it the most interactive, we would have to make it similar to how an electronic toy would work. What this meant was a switch to turn everything on and off, in addition to a button for people to press in order to spin the wheel. Also, the design had to be made small, in order to seem like a toy. Finally, we designed the red LED's to flash relatively quickly, in order to grab peoples attention.

In order to learn how to do this, we needed research. First, we created a KWHL chart. On this chart, we managed exactly what we needed to learn, and reported our results. For example, we learned how to program an arduino uno, how the original wheel of fortune works, and even how much energy is needed by 6 LED's. We also learned craftsmanship skills for our materials. Here is the link for it: .

Step 2: The Plan

Picture of The Plan

After we figured out what we wanted to accomplish with our project, we then thought of a way to hide our circuits. We did this by designing a cabinet behind the wheel, where we could most effectively add our electronics. As for the button, we decided to put it on a pedestal, and to hide the wires for it under the floor. In the end, we only settled on 6 LED's, as there was not enough room for 8.

As for our schematic diagram, we had to figure out how to link all of the wires to one switch while also powering the arduino. As it turned out, we did not need any extra resistors, as the arduino acts as a resistor.

Step 3: Get Materials Ready

Picture of Get Materials Ready

For this project, you will need several materials. A basic list include:


  • 6 5mm LEDs (preferably red)
  • 1 DC Motor
  • 1 Arduino Uno
  • 2 9V batteries
  • 1 SPST (Single pole single throw switch)
  • 1 Push button switch
  • Wire
  • Soldering equipment

Outer display:

  • two 12*12*1/8 inch pieces of plywood
  • one piece of 12*12 inch of foam board
  • 3 feet of 1/4 inch balsa wood
  • Hot glue materials
  • wood glue materials
  • A ruler, compass and square
  • a drill with a 3/16 inch bit
  • 2 one inch hinges
  • colored construction paper
  • 2-3 inches of velcro
  • paint
  • band saw

Step 4: Mark Wood and Foamboard

Picture of Mark Wood and Foamboard

Using the wood boards, measure out (three) 7x6 bases and (two) 1 3/4 x 6 inch sides, and (one) 1 3/4 x 7 inch top. Next, get the compass and make a five inch diameter circle. For 90 degree angles, you should use a square. This will be helpful in the assembly stage.

Step 5: Cut It Out!

Picture of Cut It Out!

After you measure your pieces, cut them out. One good way to do this is by using a band saw with the fence accessory attached to create a perfect cut. After doing this, hold the pieces together to see if they fit correctly. Now would be a good time to label your pieces to not confuse them.

As for the Foam board, it is not as simple to cut out. For this, use an Exacto knif and a self healing mat. Delicately trace around the circle until the knife cuts through both sides. Be aware that this process takes a decent amount of time and patience to perform.

Step 6: On a Roll (making the Wheel)

Picture of On a Roll (making the Wheel)

In this step, get the construction paper. 2 colors are suggested, but you can use as many as you want. After getting colored paper, cut them into 5'' diameter semi circles. This makes it easier to cut. Next, take out a protractor and mark the circles to the amount that you want. For example, 1=360, 2=180, 3=120, 4=90, 5=72, and 6 are 60 degrees, which is what I did. You can calculate the angle by dividing 360 by the amount of equal sections that you want. After you get the angles measured, cut them out and glue them onto your circle. the sections should make a complete circle, with no gaps in them.

Step 7: Assembling the Parts

Picture of Assembling the Parts

After cutting out the parts, it is time to use the wood glue to assemble them. In this step avoid gluing the front onto the project, as this will become hinged later. Also note to glue the labeled pieces in a way that will not be seen when the project is complete.

Next, glue pieces of balsa wood 1/8 an inch away from the edge of the wood. This adds stability to the wood and allows it to dry square. Using this method, attach on the back, sides, and top . After the pieces are placed, shift them to be square with one another. Leave this to dry.

After doing this, you create a sign. This simple rectangle can be cut from the leftover wood of the project. This sign is to be glued onto the front of the cabinet, before the door. Do not glue the sign to the door. You should also then glue a piece of wood onto the back of the sign to help to brace it.

Step 8: Holes and Hinges

Picture of Holes and Hinges

In this step, you will be aligning the hinges and drilling holes into the side of the board. You will also be drilling 3 holes into the floor, and one hole into the button stand. You will also hot glue on the hinges.

For the holes, you must first take a 1/4'' drill bit and drill into the wall of the right side. This will act as the switch hole, so you must then make the hole to fit your switch. Do this by then taking an Xacto knife, and carving the hole out. after this is done, you then turn the project over, and drill more holes. Drill two holes under the cabinet, and the other under where you will place the button. Finally, drill a hole on the top of the pedestal, as a spot to put your button.

For the hinges, line them up in a way that will not interfere with the electronics, and then proceed to hot glue them at 90 degrees, for a perfect fit with the frame.

Step 9: Velcro It Shut

Picture of Velcro It Shut

For this step, get some Velcro and cut around 2 inches of it. Paste one side of it on the inside of the door. After this, get the other side and stick it onto the opposite velcro, and shut the door. This is done to see where to place the other velcro. You then place the other velcro by geting a wooden block and then gluing it to the side wall. After this, you can glue the other velcro to this wooden block.

Step 10: Sanding and Painting

Picture of Sanding and Painting

In this step, you need to prepare a bottle of black paint, a bottle of white paint and some sanding paper. First, you will need to check is there any protruding spot if there's one, use the sanding paper to smooth out the spot. After you make sure everything is smooth then you need to mix the black paint and white paint in a 6:4 ratio, then paint it over the wheel of fortune.

Step 11: Integrating the Electronics

Picture of Integrating the Electronics

This is by far the most difficult part of our project, due to the complexity of it. This step includes many complicated components and soldering steps.

First, place the LED's into the 6 holes previously drilled. After this is done, spread the wires flat onto the board so that they do not touch. To confirm that they do not touch, place hot glue to fill the holes.

Next, figure out which end of the LED is positive and which is negative. The negative component is always shorter than its counterpart, the positive end. Next, place wire and solder all of the negatives and all of the positives together. After this is complete, solder on an additional wire to attach the string of lights to the rest of the project. Make sure that this wire is soldered on very firmly, as it tends to lose connection as the door swings open and shut. This is due to it bending.

After you soldered, it is time to test the LED's. To do this, take your 9 volt battery and connect it to a resistor, and then connect the wires to the strand of lights. It would be wise to use a resistor, or else you may find yourself taking time after school to re-do each light one by one for an hour or so. If your LED's do not turn on, do not panic, unless if you forgot your resistor. If they do not turn on, try switching the wires, so that the charge flows through the circuit in an opposite direction. This is the case due to LED's being a Light Emitting Diode. This means that electricity only flows though it in one direction.

Next, Attach the Arduino to the LED's. Do this by plugging in the wire from the battery into the Vin hole, one wire into the 12 hole, and one into the 13 hole. To complete this circuit, then solder another wire to the battery from anywhere in the chain of LED's. All that remains is to solder the wire from the arduino and the wire from the battery to your switch.

For your next component, you will implement the button that activates the motor. To do this, get the button and solder wires to it. Next, fish these wires through the the pedestal and the floor. Finally pull the wires into the cabinet to be integrated into the circuit. Add one of these wires to the motor, and the other one to another battery holder. Using the other wire from the motor, and the other wire from the battery holder, solder them to the (now)main power switch.

If done correctly, this should result in the correct circuit. If something does not turn on, check to see if it was soldered correctly.

Step 12: Final Steps

Picture of Final Steps

After implementing the entire circuit, add the wheel to the motor. This can be done by adding tape around the spinning component, and then gluing the wheel onto that. Also, glue on a piece of foam board to the bottom of the project. This has two purposes. First, it hides the wiring for the button. Second, it will not cause you to scratch the surface underneath it.

Next, take a sharpie and add on numbers to the wheel, in addition to the name of the game on the sign.

Finally, take a toothpick and hot glue it onto a small piece of wood 1/4'' thick. Glue this onto the door to create a way to tell what the wheel stopped on.

Also know to add your names on the back of the sign.

Step 13: Video of It in Action

Click on the file to play the video.

Step 14: Reflection

One thing that I liked about this project was how interactive it was, which was only enhanced by it's simplicity. What this means is that it was unlike most of the projects. Unlike most projects, where you turned them on and just had people look at them, I made it my goal to create a project that is only complete when people are touching it and playing with it. I also designed it to be a great exhibit to interest people in electronics, if it were ever implemented into a school fair of some kind.

However, one thing that I did not like about this project was how the wire that connects the LED's to the battery constantly lost connection as the door was opened and shut. I believe that this was due to bad soldering in addition to the movement of the door loosening any already decent solders.

If I could restart the project, I would color code my wires better in addition to fixing the strand of LED's. However, I would also experiment with adding a capacitor after the arduino to only send the electric signal to the LED's after the arduino started up. This would probably stop that random blinking that occurs for several seconds before the code takes effect. That is how I would restart my project if possible.


Swansong (author)2017-05-02

That's really fun, we could add that to our game shelf to play :)

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