Introduction: Big Mouth Billy Bass Jr

Hello and welcome to the translation of my Device Art Final Project into an instructable format! This is the process through which I recreated kitsch-gift icon Big Mouth Billy Bass, a wall mounted fish that sings when someone approaches it.


Elegoo UNO R3 Super Starter Kit

microSD card & adapter

DF mini MP3 player

tiny little speaker

fish-sculpting supplies

plaque-making supplies

sense of humor

Step 1: STEP 1! the Circuit!

To get started, I used tinkercad to figure out a basic version of the circuit required to make this fish function. Using an Arduino, I set up a circuit which read the input from an ultrasonic distance sensor then sounded a buzzer and rotated a servo motor accordingly. The servo motor will serve to move the fish's head as though it were dancing. The buzzer here is a simplified stand in for the slightly more complicated set up of an MP3 module which will play the fish's song.

Step 2: STEP 2: Maquette Time!

I assembled the simple circuit from step 1 irl, then found a box the right size to house it. I cut strategic holes so that the servo motor and ultrasonic distance sensor could rest outside the box but remain hidden by the fish, and the Arduino cord could reach my computer. I made a 3D model, also on tinkercad, to visualize the box neatly for reference when I construct the final enclosure. The fish had to be made in two separate parts, body and head, so that the head could attach to a servo motor arm and move independently of the body, which stays stationary.

Step 3: STEP 3 :) Complicated Circuit

I put together the more complex circuit which would include the music using my elegoo kit and the mp3 module pieces I bought. This time I opted for a photocell as a sensor rather than an ultrasonic distance sensor, since this could be more easily hidden. Tinkercad did not have the parts for me to test & figure out a code for the mp3 module, so I only used it to code for the servo to respond to the photocell input and then watched various tutorials like this one and looked at a few examples of similar codes to come up with a code that would work how I needed it to. While the servo function is working fine, I am having trouble getting the mp3 to work but I am not sure if the cause is my improvised code or the recycled toy speaker I am attempting to use.

Step 4: Building Billy Jr!

I laser cut a box to house my circuit that would have holes the right size for my sensor, servo, and Arduino cord. After assembling it in chipboard I didn't like the look of the finger joints I used, so I ended up painting a faux-wood cover. I made a little name tag label thingy with a hole in the "O" in mouth for my photocell to poke through. As I had worked out before, I made the fish sculpture in two parts, a body that mounted on my box cover, and a much lighter head which I attached to my servo arms. I opted for a google eye on the head to give the little guy more movement & character :)

Step 5: Ta Da

There he goes :) it is not working perfectly but it's doing something. Making something this complicated was a huge step out of my comfort zone but I learned lots from it & hope to resolve the issues with my code/ speaker in the future!