Introduction: Crystal Ball: See Into Your Future!

Do you want to know the secrets of the universe? Well, you can't! You can, however, find out what your future holds by making your own crystal ball. I mean, what is there to lose? If I can make one, then you can too by using an LCD monitor, a button, and an Arduino board. In Ms. Berbawy's Intro to Engineering Design class, we have learned some of skills necessary to create this ball, and then figured out some stuff on our own too. This crystal ball can not only see into your future, but it will guide you through all the challenges you face in your life. Whether you choose to follow it's advice or not will be up to you. Getting your fortune is as simple as pressing the button. It's easier than counting to three. Keep on reading to find out how to make your own.

Step 1: Materials You Will Need

  • Arduino UNO
  • 10k potentiometer
  • 220ohm resistor
  • Jumper wires m/m and m/f
  • 16 x 2 LCD monitor
  • Button
  • 2 breadboards (one big and one small)
  • 3D printer (for the crystal ball and covers)
  • super glue
  • Autodesk Inventor software (for CAD modeling)

Step 2: Connection for Button to Arduino

Connect ground(GND) pin on the Arduino to GND of the button. Then connect 5v pin on the Arduino to the other pin of the button. Finally, connect pin 3 on the Arduino to the other pin of the button.

Step 3: Connect LCD to Arduino

For this step, you will need:

  • 400 tie point sized breadboard,
  • 10k potentiometer,
  • Male to Male and Male to Female jumper wires,
  • Arduino Uno board,
  • 16 x 2 LCD screen.

Connect the LCD to the breadboard. Connect the potentiometer to the other side of the breadboard as in the picture above, then connect the jumper wires. Instructions for connecting the LCD to the Arduino are at this link . Instead of connecting D6 on the LCD to pin 3 on the Arduino connect D6 to pin 6. Instead of connecting positive on the breadboard to 5v, connect to 3.3v.

Step 4: Coding Your Arduino

Use the Arduino app to use the code given above to code your Arduino. To start coding, connect your computer to the Arduino. Then open the code given in the app. The first part of the code is importing the liquid crystal library. The liquid crystal library lets the Arduino display the fortune on the LCD when the code is run. The second part is to make an array that has about 50 short fortunes. Finally write an "if else" statement that allows the Arduino to give one fortune each time the button is pressed.

Step 5: Making the Covers

Measure the space occupied by the breadboard and Arduino, and make a box that will cover it. Make sure you measure the LCD with the breadboard exactly. To make the covers and the crystal ball, we designed them on Autodesk Inventor. For the button cover we used the dimensions 1.662 inches by 2.10 in by 1.375 in. We extruded 0.938 inches down to where the hole of the button would be, and the square hole for the button is 0.276 in by 0.276 in. Then for the big cover that will fit the LCD, breadboard, and the Arduino, we used 5.26 in by 3.8 in for the bottom and for the top that is a step above the LCD hole, we used dimensions 3.9 in by 3.8 in. The LCD rectangle hole was 2.81 in by 0.97 in. The height from the highest top to the bottom is 1.656 in and from the part with the hole to the bottom, the dimension is 0.941. The dimensions for the holes on the side where we plug in the power cord and wires connected to the button are 0.433 in by 0.433 in and 0.357 in by 0.433 in. If you need to tweak the dimensions by a little bit do so for a perfect fit.

Step 6: Finding Your Crystal Ball

You can buy your crystal ball in a store or you could design it yourself on Autodesk Inventor, and then 3D print it like we did. For this project we made the crystal ball diameter 5", and made the stand at the bottom 3.5" in diameter which was extruded 2" down. You can decide what color of your crystal ball you would like to make or purchase it.

Step 7: Attach Your Parts

Before attaching your parts, confirm the code works when you press the button to display a fortune on the LCD. Place the LCD cover over the LCD and the Arduino; then, place the button cover over the button. While placing the LCD in the cover, make sure it fits in the hole and the Arduino is placed behind the breadboard.

Take the jumper wires that are connected to both the button and Arduino off of the button and put them through the hole on the side of the LCD cover and then through the button cover. Then, connect the jumper wires back to the button. All the jumper wires and the breadboard should fit in the button cover and the button should be popping out of the hole.

Hot glue the covers on top of a firm board of your choice, so they do not move. Now super glue the crystal ball to the top of the LCD cover. Now you can connect the Arduino to the power source, and voila! Your fortune teller can now predict your future!

Told you it was easy!