And at the same time you recycle the body of a discarded computer mouse and learn what you can do with a discarded CD-ROM by heating and cutting it. A green touch!
Check out the result in this short video:
It is by far not a close replica of the Star Trek (TOS) communicator, but to my opinion very recognisable. I would even say it looks cool as such. It is not oriented towards the hardcore Trekkie, but towards kids aged 9+ making it by themselves. The description in this Instructable and the use of tools does suppose adult guidance for the youngest among you. Of course, if you are an experienced young tinkerer or an adult with an active inner child, you can do it just on your own. If you like it, please give this Ible your vote in the Epilog Challenge (check out the voting dates).
When I recently introduced my nine year old daughter to Star Trek The Original Series, she immediately developed into a real Trekker. That makes the third generation in our family. It was soon decided the next "DVD&Craft theme day", which I set up yearly for my daughter and a couple of her friends, would be all about Star Trek. So I started to think what cool Trek things they could make themselves and were reasonably cheap to allow a small group of kids to each make their own. The office supplies Enterprise and the "Fuzzy Logic" Tribble were truly inspirational ideas, but I came up making a communicator based on:
- a discarded computer mouse. These have a size that is about right and a shape that is somewhat alternative, but certainly fitting such a hand held device. And these days they are commonly available in black and discarded specimens are easily found. And of course it reminds us of Scotty talking into the computer mouse in Star Trek IV;
- a hard paper hole pattern board (as used for circuit boards) as an antenna/lid. It is easily shaped (see step 2) to the curvature of the mouse. OK, it does not have the original shape and the holes are completely the wrong dimensions, but again it is recognisable and I could get pieces fitting my mouse communicator with exactly the right (as cutting is little tricky for kids whit this kind of material, this saved work me in preparation);
- a 5 euro sound recording module as used for greeting cards (with a built in storage for 10 seconds) on which we record the obligatory chirp from a .wav found on the net and possibly a response from the enterprise. No electronics skills nor soldering needed
Step 1: Materials and tools
a (black) discarded computer mouse;
a small sound recording module (e.g. the kind used for greeting cards product ID 191184. at Conrad);
a hole pattern board 10 by 5 cm (e.g. hard paper type, product ID 528404 at Conrad);
about 4 cm of blank metal wire fitting the holes in the pattern board;
some (black) card/thick paper;
a piece of stiff plastic, cardboard or thin plywood about 45 x 60 x 1 mm (e.g. a piece cut from a heated discarded CD-ROM, see step 2);
some (black) duct tape;
some (low temp melt) glue (+ glue gun);
some double sided tape (can be replaced by glue and patience);
black paint for plastics, if your mouse is not black. Paint for lexan/polycarbonate model cars bodies works good.
black permanent marker if either your card/thick paper or duct tape is not black.
Something that marks on black if either your card/thick paper or mouse is black (e.g. black board chalk).
a (small) hacksaw
a drill (a drill stand or an ordinary power drill mounted in a stand makes the drilling feasible for the younger tinkerers)
a drill bit about 5 mm diameter
a flat file or sandpaper on a piece of wood
a kitchen oven.
a computer and the original Star Trek communicator chirp sound on file (see step 5 for links).
Optional but handy tools:
some (speed) clamps;
audio or video editing software.
Suggested materials and tools for optional finishing:
the rest of a discarded CD-ROM;
a drill bit with a diameter equal or slightly bigger than the microphone from the sound recorder;
5 steel rings 10mm outside diameter;
some coloured (low temp, small diameter) melt glue (no glue gun required for this part);
a cutter knife;
some anti stick baking paper;
other Star Trek sounds and spoken text on file.
About 25 cm of aluminium wire 1.5 to 3 mm diameter, if possible flattened to a square section.
The picture below just shows the main parts.