Make a Reactionary, Gentlemanly Sculpture With 123D Make- I Made It at TechShop

Introduction: Make a Reactionary, Gentlemanly Sculpture With 123D Make- I Made It at TechShop

This instructable will teach you how to make a small sculpture of a man which will play a simple melody when you remove his hat. I frequently use 123D Make for projects and I like finding different ways to make use of it. This particular piece will use an LED in the man's head that, when exposed to light, will trigger the speaker in the box.

I made this project over at TechShop (

Step 1: Materials & Software

123D Make (free)
CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator (trials available)
Arduino software

Epilog laser
Solder/soldering iron
Wood glue
Arduino unit
1 3/8" sheet of plywood
1 breadboard-ready speaker
Breadboard/Arduino-ready wire

Step 2: 123D Make It Up

First step is to find a 3D model. I grabbed one off of the Make Gallery and opened it up in 123D Make, using Stacked Slices as my construction technique. By default it was sliced horizontally, so I changed the slice direction to make it vertical (to keep the hat simple and easily identifiable). I decided to make this fairly small so I changed the proportions as such. In hindsight I should have made it bigger (as you will see). I've uploaded my 123D Make (.3dmk) file to use. Export a .ai or .eps file to bring it over to Illustrator or CorelDRAW to prepare a file to cut on the laser.

Step 3: Preparing the Laser File

After opening the vector file I layered each piece upon each other using the markers that Make generated. The reason I did this was to hollow out some of the center to string the LED wire through; I couldn't do this in the model itself because models taken from the Gallery are protected from direct editing. Or if that's not the case and I'm misinterpreting things then I also don't know how to use 123D Design so I find this way easier.

After layering the whole thing it's just a matter of adding a small circle on each piece to hollow the whole thing out, making sure that they're lined up.

I also created a box for a base to house the Arduino using this website. I also added a hole at the top for the electronics and in the back for the USB cable.

I've attached a file with all of this done and laid out for the laser.

Step 4: Cut It Out!

This is the easy part. Use a laser to cut the pattern on a sheet of plywood, there's not much more to say! If you need help on the specifics of using a laser cutter then I have no doubt that there are endless resources available.

Step 5: Pieces.... Assemble!

Each of the pieces should be numbered sequentially, which is the order to stack and glue them in. Lining them up is made easier using the hole as a guide, since it should be perfectly straight through. Keep in mind that the hat should be its own separate object.

The box is also very straightforward, as the pieces should interlock perfectly. Just make sure that you leave one piece unglued to insert and remove the Arduino (I suggest the top).

Step 6: Soldering and Arduino Programming

The only electronics we'll need for the Arduino are an 8-ohm speaker and an LED. Solder two wires to the LED so that it's long enough to poke out of the head.

I've provided the code I used for this project. I modified it from this Instructable. In my case I plugged the speaker into pin 8 and the LED into analog pin 0.

Depending on your lighting conditions you may need to alter the int light value to be greater or less; for me 200 got the best results.

#include "pitches.h"

int sensorLED = 0 ; // LED as sensor connected to analog pin 0
int LEDval = 0 ;//Variable to store the the LED sensor value
int light = 200 ;//Threshold level

int melody[] = {
  int noteDurations[] = {
    4, 8, 8,4,4,4,4,4};

void setup() {

void loop() {
  LEDval = analogRead(sensorLED);

  if (LEDval >= light) {              // check if light

  for (int thisNote = 0; thisNote < 8; thisNote ++) {
        int noteDuration = 1000/noteDurations[thisNote];
        tone (8, melody[thisNote],noteDuration);
        int pauseBetweenNotes = noteDuration * 1.30;
        delay (pauseBetweenNotes);

    } else {                     



Step 7: Test It!

Now that everything's glued, soldered and programmed, it's time to step back and take a look at the finished product.

And that's it! In retrospect I should have made the figure taller to allow for more detail; as it is it barely resembles a human head. But it was a fun exercise and is an idea I might come back to later.

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