Instructables

Solar-powered pop-up paper house

Featured
Picture of Solar-powered pop-up paper house
So... Hi! It's Alvin here with his first instructable : ) 
This instructable is on a small project on making a solar powered pop-up paper house. The paper house will convert the light it receives into energy for its interior lighting, lighting up the LEDs inside the house. At the end of this instructable, you will be able to make this very simple little paper toy perfect as a decoration just sitting in your room or as a gift sent to a friend in the form of a pop-up card.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials used

Picture of Materials used
2013-02-04 11.32.25.jpg
So, here are this material used. By material, I am referring to the things that will go onto the paper house. 
  • Pop-up paper house cut out from a 190gsm paper (you may download the pattern in the next step)
  • 2 LED, flat and bright models preferred (I used 1 Red and 1 Blue LED)
  • 14 pieces of 52mm x 6mm small solar cells 
  • Some conductive ink
  • Some instant glue
  • Some copper tape
  • Elmer's glue
As for the beloved tools... 
  • Pen cutter
  • Forceps
  • Random metal rod
Theses are pretty much all the tools you need. Within all these tools, only the pen cutter is truly needed. You may forget the forceps if you think you have nice hands and you can throw away the random metal rod and replace it with a toothpick. 
Kiteman1 year ago
Hehe, using a light to power a light; the first image was my very first thought.

The next images show my next thoughts - if you could include a pummer circuit, your house would become an automatic solar-powered night-light.
undoing.pngLO_DarkON pummer circuit.gifpummer.jpg
Admirable hobby - undoing. Now, for an encore, turn the fan and generator toward each other for a typical perpeual motion (energy) machine.

Wikipedia: East Anglia is a region of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the level of NUTS 2 for statistical purposes.
NUTS 2?
No idea. We're rural, with relatively high unemployment. Maybe that's it?
alvin_lee (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
Yes! What can possibly be more useless than a solar-powered torch? I find this project quite random too but I still pushed forward this for it simplicity.

As for the circuit... Never though about this but, woot! Thanks! This will certainly add more usefulness to the whole idea of solar-powered lights. Let's see if i can design something with that. Thanks, man!
You're welcome.
imajem1 year ago
To AmyLuthien
Not harsh at all...if he's going to do something it might as well be useable!!! And for YOUR information, the color can't be change!!!!!!!!
---------------------------------------
From: AmyLuthien
Date: Feb 19, 2013. 12:04 PM
Subject: http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-powered-pop-up-paper-house/

Being a little harsh, don't you think? If you can't see it, change the color yourself, or put on your glasses, yeesh.
alvin_lee (author)  imajem1 year ago
Well, low lineweight can be a pain for those who are not used to doing papercraft.. Another .jpeg with higher lineweight is added just for you if you fail to see the lines. I am quite sure that photoimpact or programs alike can do the trick but it's not really that troublesome for me to make another version anyway, so, here you go.

-------------------------------
FYI:
- The color can be changed, of course. So can the lineweight.
- I did my 5 houses with the original .jpeg file, so.... maybe it's the printer / ink?
No! Not the printer ink....everyone hasn't got YOUR amazing capabilities!!!
Doesn't really matter anyway.....
Xixfas1 year ago
At first i thought it would be a house that literally pops up using motors or something. XD
Now that is a brilliant idea ! There are tiny electric motors about 5mm diameter, that run on a very tiny current, like those used in mobile phone vibrators.

So now just devise a method whereby the motor shaft reels in a cotton thread that automatically pulls the house up into its final shape when it is taken out of the envelope.   Easy enough.  

That will provide a really impressive effect !
alvin_lee (author)  ElectroFrank1 year ago
Any chance that we could do that with a spring of some kind instead? I know that there exist some very weak springs...
Thinking quickly off the top of my head, possibly some kind of wound rubber band mechanism like in model planes, slowed down by smart grease for dramatic effect.

Remember "way back when we were kids" the DIY tractor toy with a cotton reel, rubber band and pen ?

So maybe a small card tube or matchbox, the rubber band going through and fixed at one end, with a matchstick through the other end, could be developed to create a small motor ?

Perhaps the house is taken from the envelope as flat pack, and a tab is then pulled to activate the mechanism ?
JediLoreen1 year ago
Hmm, to me, it would make more sense to scribe on the INSIDE of the fold, since that's where the paper is going to bunch up when you make the fold.

That's what I do when I do leather work, scribe the INSIDE of the fold so that the leather doesn't bunch up in that area when I make my folds.

The way you say to do it seems a little counter-intuitive, to me. But leather, of course, is thicker than paper, so maybe it doesn't matter as much with the paper.
alvin_lee (author)  JediLoreen1 year ago
Thanks for pointing this out. I am not experienced in leather but I assume "scribing" refers to some kind of material removal in leather terms, does it? Here, by scribing, I am referring to just cutting apart a very thin layer of a sheet. Then, when folded, the outer layer, supposeingly in tension due to fold, will burst out to release such stress instead before the inner layer bunches up.

I suspect that for leather, a clean surface is much desirable. Leaving a burst outer surface of a fold is very much not desired and material removal of some kind might be performed on the inner layer instead, I assume. But for white paper, bursting out is almost invisible, yet easier to perform. So, for paper, I tend to cut open the outer layer of a fold to prevent bunching.

Hope this addresses your concern.
ynze1 year ago
I'm curious about the pop-upping feature. Can you show that in a pic or -even better- a video? Cool project!

Y.
alvin_lee (author)  ynze1 year ago
Added the 7th step for the pop-upping feature but, again, I suggest you to go for either pop-upping or just a paper house since the LED might crush the solar panel if you flatten the house too hard.
ynze alvin_lee1 year ago
Thanks, looks nice! I see how the LED and the solar panel might clash with each other. But the (un)folding of the house looks pretty cool :-)
alvin_lee (author)  ynze1 year ago
Er... Yes of course. I got some extra cutouts in my workplace. Maybe I can take some more photos / video of the pop-up version of this when I am back to work on the 14th.
luxstar1 year ago
So I was thinking you could make a slightly bigger house and embed the guts of the really small solar lawn lights in the roof so it lights up at night. I think they are $1.50 at walmart and they have a stubby AA battery in it. I would do it but I have another flashlight hack ahead of it on my to do list. It’s all yours this week.
alvin_lee (author)  luxstar1 year ago
I guess it's not hard to tweak the design a bit and go with an on-the-shelf panel. Thickened wall made out of cardboard or plastic board of some kind will also allow small LEDs to embed into and the house could lie completely flat. (but now the house is even thicker just by its wall thickness

I like the circuit that allows the house to light up at night a lot though. Will certainly go for it when time allows.
Oh,wow. 1,455 views and 7 favorites on first day. Great job!
alvin_lee (author)  knexinventions 491 year ago
It's my first time posting an entry onto instructables or any sites of its kind. To be honest, this view rate is a bit... scary. Wasn't expecting all this at all...
Great. Now its 5,546 views and 27 favorites. Isn't this a new record?
alvin_lee (author)  knexinventions 491 year ago
It's my personal new record : p
luxstar1 year ago
Hello Alvin,

What can I say.

Nice job. I can just see these sitting on the shelf at Christmas at Radio Shack as stocking stuffers. I hope this gets featured.

Lux
Bill WW1 year ago
Nice work and photogrphy. Your intro (and step 6) photo is awesome.
alvin_lee (author)  Bill WW1 year ago
Thanks! (special thanks to the iPad mini I used to take those photos as well
That's a simple and nice paper house.
I saw that it is your first project so I wanna say Welcome to Instructables.
alvin_lee (author)  andreyeurope1 year ago
Thanks for your warm welcome : )
ChrysN1 year ago
Cute little house!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!