Instructables

Star Trek communicator from a discarded mouse

Imagine being able, even as a kid, to build your own Star Trek communicator with chirp and talk back functionality. Awesome!
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
 
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caitlinsdad5 years ago
Very nice. The best toys in the world are not found on a store shelf.
so true
Ain't that the truth!!  I loved making a bunch of my own toys when I was a kid, and would have done more elaborate...but, no tools... :-(
I am currently making one like this. might post an 'ible. anyways, good job, nice craftsmanship.
the original props were made out of trash, it strays a little from the original design, but so does the one I made from a phone charger. nice work
beveld5 years ago
Fascinating
vderycke5 years ago
Da's dus écht wel mega, hé!! Morgen zeker een stem van ons!! Ben & Veerle
Very cool! I hope your daughter knows how lucky she is to have such an awesome dad!
I've featured your instructable on my blog - http://shovelingferret.blogspot.com
masynmachien (author)  shovelingferret5 years ago
Thanks! And I am lucky to have a daughter who shows she really appreciates our tinkering together.
cflowers5 years ago
Very nice instructable...it must have been a fun project for you and your daughter. I featured it on The Daily Hack. Keep up the great work! :-)

Charlie Flowers
DailyHack.net
masynmachien (author)  cflowers5 years ago
Thanks!
ChrysN5 years ago
That looks really cool, cute video!