Introduction: Glowing Polish Horseshoes (Beersbee) Outdoor Arduino Game

This outdoor game is the perfect combination of all things summer. Specifically, it combines Frisbee, Glow-in-the-Dark, backyard games, and (most importantly) ice cold beverages. This game goes by many names (Polish Horseshoes, French Darts), but its most endearing title is Beersbee. Before you hop into this project (yes, that was a terrible beer pun [ don't worry I won't do it again]), I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the rules of Beersbee. If you haven't played Beersbee before or would like a refresher on the rules I would recommend reading the Wikipedia article on Polish Horseshoes (here's a link to the article: ). In a nutshell, two teams of two people take turns tossing the disk at their opponents' pole in an attempt to knock over the bottle.

The LEDs within the pole allow for the outdoor fun to continue after the sun goes down. There are six green LED's in each pole that are programed to flash in a pattern. A white LED is placed at the top of the pole to make the bottle glow. If the pole or bottle is hit, Piezo sensors will trigger the Ardiuno Nano. The pole will begin flashing and a red LED will turn on. In addition, a Piezo buzzer provides audio feedback.

I pasted a video of the system in action above:

Step 1: Materials

There are a number of materials and tools you will need to build this project. Below I have listed the parts and any additional notes. Also, it should be noted that prior experience isn't needed for this project. The electronics are simple, and I have attached the code needed for the microcontroller. However, soldering experience and Arduino experience will make this project much easier to complete.


-Arduino IDE

-3D printer (This isn't essential to the project, but it useful for creating a bracket to hold the Arduino board)

-Soldering Iron

-Helping Hands Soldering Stand

-Saw for cutting PVC



-Empty Bottles x2

-Glow LED Frisbee

-Arduino Nano x2 (I bought a 3 pack of these boards for $11 through Amazon)

-10' length of 2" PVC

-2" PVC couplings

-2" PVC knock-out plug

-2-part epoxy (I used J.B. Weld)

-Hot Glue Gun

-A small role of duck tape (this is used for marking the minimum throw height)

- 20 gauge wire

-3D printing filament (Not essential but recommended)

-White 6mm LEDs x2

-Red 6mm LEDs x2

-Green 3mm LEDs x12

-Piezo Buzzer/Sensor x6

-1 megohm resistor x2

-220 ohm resistor x16

-150 ohm resistor x2

-A solderless breadboard (For prototyping and testing components)

-9v Battery Hook-up x2

-2' rebar segment x2 (used to stand poles upright)

Step 2: Prototyping and Coding

Before constructing your Beersbee poles, it is crucial to ensure your components and Arduino are working correctly. Above I have a circuit diagram for the circuit. The code I used is also attached in this step. Construct the circuit using a solderless breadboard. Then, upload the attached code using the Arduino IDE. If all goes well your LEDs should begin flashing. Try flicking the Piezo sensors to simulate a hit. Hopefully the LEDs react accordingly. The green LEDs will flash a different pattern and the Piezo Buzzer should play a tune. If you would like to customize your Beersbee pole, I have included several functions you can choose from in the Beersby.ino file. The flashpattern functions (i.e. flashpattern, flashpattern2, flashpattern3) control the pattern of the green LEDs. Each function has a different pattern for the LEDs. The hit functions determine what the pole does when it is hit. By simply altering the function calls within the main function, you can customize the pole's behavior to your liking. Feel free to play around with the code until you have something you like.

Step 3: 3D Print Bracket for Nano and 9V Battery

This step is not essential. If you don't have a 3D printer, you could jury rig something to hold the Arduino and 9 volt battery. If you would like to print this bracket, I have attached the .stl file below. I printed this part on a robo 3d and it came out very well. I designed the bracket so that support structures aren't needed when printing.

Step 4: Cutting PVC, Drill Holes for Light, and Glue Piezo Sensors

Take the 10' length of 2" PVC. Cut the PVC into two 4' lengths and two 1' lengths. Next drill holes in the 4' sections. I used a ruler to make sure the holes were relatively evenly distributed. The holes will allow more light from the LEDs to be seen. Next, wire the piezo sensors. I cut a 48" length of 20 gauge wire, and attached a sensor to the very bottom. The next sensor is placed 3' above the first sensor. You may need to use a knife to strip the wire in the middle. The sensors are hot glued 6" away from the bottom and top of the pole. The remaining wire at the top will be used to solder the sensors into the Arduino Nano.

Step 5: Wire the 3mm LEDs

Next, wire the six 3mm green LEDs. I wired the bulbs so that they were 8" apart. That way they are evenly distributed throughout the pole. Solder each LED in place and use electrical tape to ensure the leads don't touch and cause a short circuit.

Step 6: Attach the Bracket

Attach your bracket to the top of the top of the pole on the back side. By placing the bracket on the back, you will ensure that the Frisbee cannot impact the electronics directly. I used J.B. Weld to attach the bracket to the pole. I would definitely recommend using a stronger two part epoxy to do this step. Hot glue would work, but it isn't as durable.

Step 7: Drill Holes for Wiring and Components

Drill seven holes to the right of the bracket. The leads from the six LEDs will be fed through these holes and soldered to the Arduino Nano. The seventh hole is for the ground wire. In addition you will need to drill holes on the top of the bracket. These holes will be used for the Piezo buzzer, the leads from the Piezo sensors, the red LED, and white LED. Use hot glue to attach the Piezo buzzer and the red LED.

Step 8: Prepare the Knock-Out Caps

The Knock-Out provide the a surface to place the beer bottle on. A white LED is placed at the center of the cap. The LED provides the light to highlight the bottle on top of the pole. To create this component, first drill a 6mm hole in the center of the plug. Next, hot glue the white LED in the hole. Solder two leads to the cathode and anode of the LED. Feed these wires through one of the holes drilled in the previous step. Pull the wire through the hole and press down on the plug.

Step 9: Double Check Wiring

After all the wires are in place and ready to be soldered, use a solderless breadboard to ensure everything is still functioning properly.

Step 10: Solder to Nano

First, solder all the resistors to the correct pins on the Nano. After this is complete, slide the Arduino Nano into the bracket. Solder all the leads to the correct resistors. The 9v battery hook up is soldered to the VIN and GRD pins. If there is extra wire it can be pushed through the hole back into the pole. The extra wire allows the Nano to be removed if repairs or modifications need to be made.

Step 11: Finished

Congratulations! your Polish Horseshoes/Beersbee is complete. Enjoy taking your outdoor fun long into the night. This game like all other games takes practice to get good at. It may take a couple games before your Frisbee skills are finely honed.

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Invention Challenge 2017

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Invention Challenge 2017