Introduction: FlipBooKit MOTO

About: FlipBooKit is from kinetic artists, Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel. They create moving art that tells stories and tickles our sense of nostalgia. In late 2011, their series of motorized flipbooks based on the mot…

The basic FlipBooKit helps you make a flip book that you can crank by hand to have a continuous animation. But what if you want it to keep going? I'll show you how to use a FlipBooKit Moto to make your animation motorized so that it goes on as long as you like. Read on or watch the video in this step.

This instructable assumes that you've already put together the basic FlipBooKit. If you need help with that, check out my basic assembly tutorial. It includes tips and tricks, as well as thoughts about how to help a child with the process.

Step 1: Materials

  • A FlipBooKit, with box, assembly parts (spindle set and rivets), and cards
  • Motor Upgrade Kit
  • 2 AA Batteries
  • Scissors/Wire strippers
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Pliers, wrench, or tweezers
  • Craft knife (optional)
  • Pencil or other pointy tool

Parts included in the Motor Upgrade Kit

  • Gear motor and 2 screws
  • Battery holder
  • Switch, with 2 nuts and a switch plate
  • Black rubber belt
  • Plastic pulley
  • Adhesive tabs
  • 3 wire nuts

Step 2: Preparing the Circuit

We need to strip about half an inch from both wires on the switch, the motor, and the battery holder.

Cut off any connectors from the ends of the wires and separate them. You can trim the wires down - there's much more slack than you need. But don't go shorter than 6 inches, or your electronics will be difficult to install in the box.

The easiest way is to use a wire stripper. Then twist the strands of the wire four or five times to keep them together. You can also use regular wire cutters or scissors if you're careful. Place the wire between the scissor blades and very gently squeeze them, just until you slice into the insulating plastic, not the wire. Twisting and slicing different sides can help. Once you can see the copper wire, hold the scissors so that they are pinching the insulation and pull toward the end of the wire. It may take a few tries or additional tiny cuts with the scissors. Fortunately, there is a whole lot of wire to practice on.

If you've never stripped a wire before, make sure to practice before trying on the short ones. It's a learned skill.

Be aware, it's important to avoid having the two wires from the battery pack touching each other, as the batteries will get hot enough to melt through the battery pack and cause a fire hazard.

Step 3: Assembling the Circuit

The parts we just stripped the wires for are the main elements of this circuit: the motor, the battery pack, and the switch. We'll connect the wires as follows (this is important to make the motor turn the correct way):

  • BLACK from the switch connects to BLACK (or GREEN) from the motor.
  • BLACK from the battery connects to RED from the switch.
  • RED from the battery connects to RED from the motor.

Secure and insulate these connections using the wire nuts. Line the ends of the pairs up together, place the wires all the way into the opening of the wire nut, and twist the nut until it's tight. Repeat with the other two connections.

Pop in two AA batteries and test it. If your circuit doesn't work, check the following things:

  • Are all connections secure with wires touching completely?
  • Are the batteries in the correct way?
  • Do you need new batteries?
  • Is the circuit wired up with the correct wires connected?

Step 4: Preparing the Box

When you're putting together the FlipBooKit, there are a number of holes you have to punch out. You might have noticed a few that you didn't use. On the side with the knob there's a hole for the switch, and one large and two small ones for the motor. On the back is a large panel. You might need a craft knife or pocket knife to help punch the perforations, especially if you have an older version, please be careful if you do.

Push on the panel to free it, then press just above the panel to reach under to pull it out. You might need to make a crease at the bottom to fold it down. Poke out the circles on the side, I used the end of a brush and a craft knife to help, or you can use a pencil or any other small tool you have on hand.

Step 5: Installing the Switch

Let's take a look at the switch. From the top down of the threaded barrel, it has one outer nut, a switch plate, a couple of additional rings, and at the bottom there's another nut. To hold it in place, the switch plate and top nut go outside. The lower nut and those additional rings go inside the box. Take off the top nut and switch plate, then make sure the bottom nut is screwed down close to the bottom.

You'll notice that one side of the threaded barrel has a notch in it. This is the "off" position side. The ring with a little protruding grabber tab aligns with this notch, and needs to be the top one of the two additional rings, with the tab pointing up. When the top nut is tightened, this tab will dig into the box and keep it from spinning around.

Flip the lever to the "on" position, toward the black wire and away from the notch. Then reach inside the box and push the lever up through the hole, keeping it pointing toward the right. Now we'll put the switch plate and top nut back on. You can use your fingers to get it started. But before tightening it fully, you'll want to line up the plate. Get it in place with the "on" side to the right, then tape it down with some masking tape or paper tape. Now you can finish tightening the nut. To make it really secure, use pliers, or a wrench, or even tweezers. Peel off the tape and your switch is ready to go.

Step 6: Installing the Motor

Take a look at the motor. There are four holes next to the spinning shaft, two of them have screws in them already. The two without screws we need to line up with the little holes in the box. Then use the two included screws to attach it. It can be challenging to get everything aligned within the box so the screws will go in the right place, so I like to line the flat part of the motor shaft up with one of the empty screw holes. Placing one of the screws in the hole before the motor is helpful. You'll be shifting the motor around inside until you feel the screw dip into the hole. Grab your screwdriver and tighten it most of the way. You don't want it too tight, or you won't be able to adjust for the other side. Repeat the process, inserting the screw and shifting the motor around until the screw shifts, then tighten both screws.

Step 7: Installing the Battery Pack

Next comes the battery pack. We'll attach this to the inside of the flap using the included double sided foam tape square. Peel one side and press it securely to the back of the battery pack. As you can see, the motor is blocking the left side, so we'll put it on the right, with the extruding wires going toward the left. Peel off the other side of the tape and press the battery pack securely in place.

Remember the twist tie from before? It can be helpful to wrap up all that slack wire before pushing it into the box. Insert your batteries. You'll probably want the switch in the off position at this point.

Step 8: Installing the Pulley and Belt

The smaller pulley wheel goes on that motor shaft poking outside the box. Pushing up from the bottom of the motor will make it easier to press on the wheel.

Now it's time for that stretchy pulley belt. Put it into the groove on the side of the larger crank wheel, then stretch it so you can put the other end into the groove of the pulley wheel you just installed.

Step 9: Done!

Flip the switch and there you go! Your FlipBooKit Moto is complete. What can you do with a flip book that runs continuously?

Check out the FlipBooKit website, Instagram page, and Facebook page to see what other people are doing with their FlipBooKits.

Thanks for reading!