Introduction: Blinky the LED Pet

About: I'm a teacher (physics, grades 7 to 10), Maker and product designer. (Check out full of experiments, projects for Maker Education and kits for Bibberbeests!). Besides that, I write childre…
Please meet Blinky. Blinky is a led-based life form. His driving force is his need to connect with humans. When connected, his big blue led-eyes light up cheerfully.

But there's one issue always on Blinky's little, five-component brain: He is alone, and would love to get in touch with other led-based creatures. Here's a video:

Blinky  asked me to set up this instructable, so that other people can make him a friend.

Making Blinky a friend won't cost you much:
- a couple of hours of your time and patience
- approximately €12 / $16
(but you might find everything you need in your basement)
- Some everyday tools

In the five steps described, you'll find everything you need to know to create a friend for Blinky. He can't wait to meet the results of your efforts...

Update Feb 2011: I made Blinky a friend. He's called Monster 555.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Also take a look at the photo's and the comments. I tried to make the pictures as self-explanatory as I could...

Materials used for building Blinky's body and legs:
- A lot of electric wire connectors: 60 stubs or so (€3 / $3,60)
- A couple of meters of solid kern electrical wire (€2 / $2,50)
- Tie-raps
- A piece (30 x 30 cm) of furry fabric
- Double sided foam tape
- 9 Volt battery block

For Blinky's head:
- a 9 x 5 cm plugin board for electric components (aka breadboard).
- Two transistors BC547 B
- 1 resistor 100 kOhm
- Solid kern jumperwire to connect the components on the plugin board
(I bought an electronics "experimenting package" for €10 / $12 which contained everything I needed at Conrad.)
- Two 10mm blue LED's
- More solid wire connectors.
- Double sided foam tape

Tools you need:
- Pliers to cut and bend the electrical wire
- a stripper
- Small screwdriver
- sharp knive
- scissors
- multimeter
- powerdrill (for twisting wires: see this smart instructable)

Step 2: Part 1 - Feet and Legs

Also see the pictures for building instructions and comments. 

Blinky's feet are pretty straightforward to make. For a very easy way to twist the electrical cords, have a look at the instructable "a Perfect Twist".

The white powercord connectors are connected with small pieces of wire.

My Blinky is a bipod. His two legs make him wiggle a bit when he's stroked and tickled. But there's no law that says Blinky's must have two legs...

This step takes about 10 minutes, I guess...

Step 3: Part 2 - Body and Legs

Also see the pictures for building instructions and comments. 

Blinky's body consists of three main parts:
  • A belly of white powercord connectors
  • A helix-shaped twisted powercord. Gives volume to the body, one ending becomes a tail.
  • The space inside the helix is used to store the battery.
  • Two stripped and curved wires. These act as connectors, to close the electrical circuit that makes Blinky's LED-eyes shine.

Again, you are completely free in choosing the shape of Blinky's body.

This step will take 20-30 minutes.

Step 4: Part 3 - Blinky's Head

Also see the pictures for building instructions and comments. 

Building Blinky's head will take the most of the time. It took me about an hour.

Except for the blue leds, all parts came from the "learning package" bought at Conrad. If you're not familiar with electronics, I highly recommend that you buy a kit like the one I got. Everything you need is in there, even a lay-out of the circuit!

The +side of my 10mm LED's was not marked. I used a 4,5 V battery as a LED-tester and marked the plus-side of the LED's, before mounting them into the connectors. The plus-side of most 10mm leds are marked by the length of the leads, however: The plus-lead is a bit longer than the minus-lead.

This electric circuit serves it's purpose, but of course there are many more possibilities. Feel free to add extra features to Blinky's behaviour... In the end, we might be able to collect enough different kinds of creatures to write another eBook "On the origin of Blinkies".

Step 5: Finish Up - a Furry Coat for Blinky

Also see the pictures for building instructions and comments.

If you like, you can give Blinky a coat! Make him as pretty and comfy (or scary, punky or cute) as you want.

I decided to give Blinky a furry skin. I used a piece of pluche from an old cushion, but anything else will do, of course. The double-sided foam tape is indispensable, once again.

Well now, that's all there is... You're done, and Blinky has a soulmate now. Don't forget to make an Instructable of it. Or post a pic in the comments. Thanks for reading!

LED Contest

Runner Up in the
LED Contest