Introduction: Sugru Air-Gap Makey-Makey Buttons

Picture of Sugru Air-Gap Makey-Makey Buttons

Makey-Makey projects are really neat, but it can be difficult to come up with buttons that will last more than a few sessions.  Here is an example using Sugru that we've found to last quite a while.

Step 1:

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For the first step in this project you'll need to gather:
  • Wire (different colors are nice to have)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Sugru
  • Pliers
  • Electrical Tape
  • Scissors

Step 2:

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Your next step will be the strip the ends of the wires.

Step 3:

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Then use the scissors to cut small pieces of electrical tape and aluminum foil.

Step 4:

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Which you will then attach to one end of each of the wires.

Step 5:

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Then fold the aluminum foil into a triangular shape.

Step 6:

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Now roll two small balls of Sugru, use your thumb to make an indention in them, and place the triangular contacts in them.

Step 7:

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Carefully roll the edges of the Sugru, making sure to leave plenty of room for the air-gap.

Step 8:

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Take both sides of your new button and place them with contacts facing, but not touching.

Step 9:

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Add additional Sugru for effect and strain relief and you know have a cheap, easy and durable Air-Gap Makey-Makey Button.

Comments

tyoung32 (author)2014-06-16

did the yellow and blue wires go into the makey in the same port or different?

smalltortoise (author)tyoung322014-06-20

Great question! We should have included a pic showing the back side of the MaKey, that's a good catch. One wire actually went to ground and the other went to the letter "A" (I think). You could use any signal for keyboard/mouse on the MaKey such as space bar. This idea is basically two different pieces of aluminum foil suspended away from each other. They are embedded in the Sugru so that they are held in place, but when you press down on the Sugru the foil pieces touch and close a connection. If all goes according to plan, when you stop pressing on the Sugru the Sugru will go back to a natural resting position where the foil pieces are separated and the connection is left open again. To close a circuit here, one of the foil pieces should go to ground. This homemade button is basically just one connection being closed like a momentary-on tactile button. If you wanted more than one connection available you could toy with the idea and try finding new ways! There's a variety of ways to go about doing this that have already been explored in traditional buttons, but you might very well invent a new way of doing things. Best of luck and thanks for the question :D

tyoung32 (author)smalltortoise2014-06-21

thanks! very helpful!

smalltortoise (author)tyoung322014-06-21

If you want to collab a little and are trying this project out, remix this Instructable and add in those missing steps with a pic or two. We can work on getting your steps added in with credit to you and it'd be awesome to see what your project looks like. Also consider posting your project to the MaKey MaKey forums :)

tyoung32 (author)smalltortoise2014-06-23

Great idea, I had first considered the air gap button idea from an idea on the MaKey MaKey forums. It was the interactive dance floor:

http://www.makeymakey.com/forums/index.php?topic=1...

But the steps on the switches has been missing from a few of these projects...

I thought your projects use of the red sugru (modeling clay?) to suspend and insulate your nicely crafted little foil pads was a really smart idea.

Right now I have had my MM about 3 days and have begun a sort of shoe box beatpad/gamepad I got from this idea on the MM forums.. i just cant find it at the moment so this video will have to suffice...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB7w2hJ6bvI&list=UU8xnE1Tqs1mpxspwFTf7iBg

smalltortoise (author)2013-08-09

This was actually pretty fun. The air-gap button still works, too.

projectsugru (author)2013-08-06

samthegiant+makeymakey+knoxmakers+instructables+sugru = very awesome indeed

really clear guide too, what kind of projects have you got planned for your makeymakey?

samthegiant (author)projectsugru2013-08-06

Custom video games! Scratch, MaKey MaKey and a few homemade buttons equals some pretty awesome old school gaming.

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