Introduction: Component Creatures

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

Component Creatures is a classic soldering project that doesn't require really knowing what any of the components actually do. Instead of soldering components together to build circuits, we are going to combine them creatively to create little figurines and then attach them to a PCB. This is a great project to do after you just learned How to Solder.

I'll demonstrate how I made this little horror scene, but don't feel the need to copy me exactly. You can create a rock band, romantic dinner, sports scene, or whatever else might strike your fancy. Feel free to get creative and make one that expresses your own unique vision using the parts you have on hand. If you need further inspiration search for Resistor Man.

To learn more about soldering and electronics, check out the Electronics Class.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

(x2) PCB
(x1) Bag of random electronic components
(x5) 2W resistor (optional)**

** This large resistor is particularly good for making the resistor people in the project below. If you plan on making any, you will want to pick up a few of these.

Step 2: Lay Out Your Person

Lay out your person. It helps to have a large resistor in the center of the body.

However, there is no wrong or right answer when making figurative component people. Let your creativity run wild.

Step 3: Trim the Leads

To start, I trimmed the body leads to make it a little less unwieldy to work with using diagonal cutters.

Step 4: Solder Legs and Trim

I then soldered on resistors for thighs and calves, by first twisting them together, and then soldering..

Once the components have cooled down, I trimmed away the excess wire leads. However, I left them long at the feet to leave my modeling options open for later.

Step 5: Arms

Using the same process as the legs, I attached arms to the body.

Step 6: LED Head

I then attached a big blue LED head onto its shoulders.

There is no reason the head couldn't be a host of other components. For that matter, there is not reason it couldn't even have more than one head.

Step 7: A Big Bug

To round things out and continuing to practice soldering, I decided to make a large capacitor bug.

Like with the resistor person, I first laid it out on my work surface.

Step 8: Connect the Legs

This time around I started by connecting all of the feet together.

Step 9: Capacitor Abdomen

I then attached a large capacitor abdomen to the backside of the bug.

Step 10: Head

Finally, I attached a 4-lead rectifier and some LEDs to fashion a head with beady eyes and antennae.

The actual components are less important than simply getting it to look right. This project is about soldering and aesthetics, not technical accuracy.

Step 11: Finishing Touches

Once everything was soldered, I trimmed the leads, and bent the wires to make it aesthetically and quite bug-like.

Step 12: Plan and Make a Scene

Once you have made a person and a creature, plan out and make a scene for them. This might even involve making additional creatures.

For mine, I wanted to make a horror scene where the bug was devouring someone while my person ran away. This involved making another half-person.

Step 13: PCB

Finally, you can practice through-hole soldering by inserting the creature leads through the PCB and soldering them in place.

Trim the excess wire leads using diagonal cutters so your board lies flat when done.

Step 14: Finish the Scene

When all is complete, arrange your scene, and you're done!