Introduction: Cardboard Fire Alarm Pull Station/Call Point

Hello. This is a cardboard pull station/call point for a hobby fire alarm system. This is my entry into the 2020 cardboard contest and a prototype of a 3D-printed design. Before you build, please read these disclaimers...

DISCLAIMER 1: As this is made of cardboard, this is not up to fire code in any country. This project is purely for use in a hobby system. Do not build this and install it in a building.

DISCLAIMER 2: DO NOT pull any fire alarms in a building except for in an emergency. Pulling the fire alarm for fun could cause the fire department to be called, which is against the law. The fire alarm shown in the video is mine and is only for hobby purposes.

DISCLAIMER 3: If you have epilepsy, please do not watch the video, as it contains a flashing strobe light.

I am not responsible for your actions.

...Now that those are out of the way, let's build!


For this project you will need:


Something to cut the cardboard (Scissors, X-acto knife, etc.)

Hot glue gun

Ruler with metric measurements

Single-pole light switch (older lever style as shown in the pictures)

Standard rectangular electrical box (rectangular as shown in the pictures, not square)

Alarm to test it on (or anything that lights up or makes noise)

Step 1: Overview

The pull station consists of two pieces: a frame that holds the switch and the track for the mechanism, and the mechanism itself, which slides up and down the track. The mechanism has a piece of cardboard that pushes the switch down.

Step 2: The Frame

1. To build the frame, you will need to cut out 5 cardboard pieces:

1x 13 cm by 9.5 cm piece

2x 13 cm by 5 cm pieces

2x 13 cm by 2.5 cm pieces

2. Cut out a hole in the 13 by 9.5 cm piece to hold the switch. (Pictures 1 and 2) IMPORTANT: The switch must fit upside down so that the off position is up and not down.

3. Glue the 13 by 5 cm pieces on the edges of the 13 by 9.5 piece to form the sides of the housing. (Picture 3, one on each side)

4. Glue the 13 by 2.5 cm pieces to the 13 by 5 cm pieces to form a slot for the mechanism. (Picture 4, one on each side)

Step 3: Mechanism

1. To build the mechanism that pulls the switch, you will need 9 pieces:

1x 13 cm by 9.5 cm piece

2x 13 cm by 5 cm pieces

4x 1 cm by 1 cm pieces

1x 8 cm by 4 cm piece

1x 7.5 cm by 3 cm piece

2. This is the same as step 3 in the last part, except the 13 by 5 cm pieces' edges are glued to the side of the 13 by 9.5 cm piece. (picture 1)

3. Glue the 1 by 1 cm pieces to the 13 by 5 cm pieces. These are the sliders and they will go into the slot in the frame. (2 on each side, pictures 2 and 3)

4. Glue the 8 by 4 cm piece in the middle of the 3-side box you just made, near the top and not touching the switch. (Pictures 3 and 4) IMPORTANT: fortify this piece with extra glue, as this piece pushes the switch down.

5. Glue the 7.5 by 3 cm piece on the outer side of the 13 by 9.5 piece for the handle and decorate your pull station. (Picture 5) I wrote "FIRE", "pull down" and an arrow on both sides of the handle, but you can write what you want.

6. The building portion is done. Time for assembly and mounting it to an electrical box!

Step 4: Assembly

This is the last step, which involves fitting the pieces together and mounting your pull station to an electrical box.

1. Take out your electrical box and switch (Picture 1) IMPORTANT: Once again, make sure your electrical box is rectangular, not square, and make sure your switch is upside down with the off position pointing up. Also, make sure your switch uses a lever design.

2. Put the electrical box on the ground and put the frame over it. Adjust so that the holes for the screws in the electrical box are positioned at the ends of the hole in the frame. (picture 2)

3. Install the switch in the electrical box so that it holds the frame against the box. (picture 3)

4. Put the mechanism into place by sliding the 1 by 1 cm pieces into the slots on the the sides of the frame. Center the mechanism. This may be difficult, as it is designed for a tight fit to prevent wear. (picture 4)

5. Your pull station is ready to use. Pulling the mechanism down will turn the switch down and into the on position. Sliding the mechanism up will allow you to push the switch up to reset the pull station.

I hope you enjoyed the project, and have a great day!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge