Naughty / Nice Meter - the Making of - Part 2 of 2

Introduction: Naughty / Nice Meter - the Making of - Part 2 of 2

In part 1 (found here) of this two part Instructable we learned how to get the electronics working for the Naughty / Nice Meter... Now we're going to build the "housing" for everything to fit into.

The Materials for this part of the project can be less than $5...

And here is a video of the "completed" project and how it works

So lets get started!

Step 1: The Stuff We Need...

Materials: (the stuff you may need to buy)
• 1 piece 20" x 30" x 3/16" foam board for the "body" (the cheap stuff can found at the dollar store)
• 4 pieces of 8 1/2" x 11" printer paper (the quality of paper is up to you.

Tools: (We are going to assume that you already have all or most of the following)
• 1 Xacto style knife (with a VERY sharp... NEW blade)
• 1 Break-away blade style of knife (again.. very sharp)
• 1 Hot-melt glue gun and several glue sticks
• Spray adhesive
• Color printer (for at least two of the four pages)
• Straight edge ruler (at least 12" long)
• Pencil
• Masking or similar tape

Other things that will be needed eventually are all the electronics and other pieces from part 1 (found here) of this two part Instructable.

Some other things you may want to consider are some embellishments after the main build is done... Things like ribbon, glitter, fake snow... etc.

Step 2: Print the Templates...

In this step are four PDF templates files for you download and print.

The front and inside panels should be printed from a color printer, while the other two are just black guide lines for cutting and could be done with a B/W printer.

Be sure to print the PDF files at full scale, 100%, no scaling... or whatever terminology your print dialog uses so they print at full size.

Step 3: Stick It to It...

For this step we'll need the spray adhesive, the four printouts you just made and the foam board.

Starting with the front and inside panel prints... we want them to be stuck as "permanently" to the foam board as possible. Spray the back sides of these two prints generously with the adhesive and apply them to the foam board while the spray is still wet. Smooth and burnish the prints to the foam board as well as possible.

The next two prints with the sides, top and bottom are going to be applied to the foam board "temporarily". Spray just a light coating of adhesive to the backs of these and allow it to rest until it "tacks" up a little. Remember, we just want them to stick enough to cut out the parts, then we'll want to remove the templates from the foam board.

Step 4: Let's Do Some Cuttin'...

Now you have the four prints adhered to the foam board. Time to cut out all the parts.
We'll need the straight edge, Xacto knife and the break-away knife.


For the front and inside panels, using you straight edge, cut along the edges of the printed areas.

  • The front should be a rectangle of 10" x 7 1/2".
  • The inside should be a rectangle of 9 5/8" x 7 5/16".


For the sides, top and bottom, cut along the black lines to get these pieces.
NOTE: When you cut the piece for the bottom, you will actually want to cut all the way to edge of the paper... the bottom piece is 11" long.

  • The two sides should be rectangles of 7 5/16" x 3".
  • The top should be a rectangle of 10" x 3".
  • The bottom should be a rectangle of 11" x 3 1/2".

You can now remove the the template paper from the sides, top and bottom.

The last things to cut from the foam board are the "window" in the front panel the needle and the small hole on the inside panel for the servo to poke through.

  • Using the straight edge, place it along the bottom inside edge (inside the heavy black line) of the window area and cut from one side of the arch to the other (picture 2).
  • Using the Xacto knife cut the rest of the "window" out following the inside of heavy black arched line (picture 2).
  • After the "window" area is removed from the front panel, use the straight edge and knife, cut out the shape for the needle.
  • Now, with the Xacto knife, carefully cut out the 1/2" black dot on the inside panel part (picture 3).

Step 5: All Together Now...

Let's put this thing together!
For this step you'll need the hot glue gun, pencil, and all the cut out parts.


To start we'll need the two side pieces and the front panel piece. (refer to pictures 1 and 2)

  • The long edge of a side piece aligns to the shorter edge and back side of the front fascia. As well, the sides are 3/16" shorter than the front, so be sure the bottoms of the pieces flush to one another and not the tops.
  • Hot glue the sides and front together keeping the sides as close to 90 degrees to the front as possible.


Next we'll attach the inside panel to the front / side panel assembly we just made. (picture 3)

  • Measure back from the inside of of the front panel and Mark at 1" on both sides, top and bottom.
  • Set the inside panel in place with the back of the panel aligned to marks you made and glue it in place.


Attach the front, side and inside assembly you just made to the bottom piece. (picture 4)

  • With the bottom laying lengthwise in front of you. Take the assembly and place it on top of the bottom piece. Align the back edges of the side pieces to the long edge of the bottom piece and center the assembly lengthwise onto the bottom. There should be about a 1/2" reveal of the bottom piece at either side and 1/4" in the front.
  • If needed, use your pencil and make a faint outline of the perimeter of the assembly onto the bottom piece.
  • Remove the assembly from the bottom piece, apply glue along all of the bottom surfaces of you assembly and re-install onto the bottom.


Secure the top panel in place with some hot glue.


Now attach one of the servo horns to the back of the needle. (refer to pictures 5,6,7).

  • With the needle laying face down, mark out a position roughly 5/8" from the bottom and centered across its width.
  • Apply some hot glue to the flat side of the servo horn and glue it into place on the back side of the needle, aligning the center of the servo horn to the center mark on the needle.

Step 6: Give It Some Guts...

Time to put the electronics into the housing.


Start by inserting the servo into the hole, from the the back of the inside panel (picture 1,2,3).
For now, if the servo isn't snug enough in the hole, just tape it into place (we may have to do some adjusting later).
Now, install the needle, from the front, onto the servo. For now just install it as vertical as possible (picture 4)


How you install the Arduino and Bluetooth module is really up to you.
All I did , eventually, was to just glue them to the back of the inside panel with small small drops of hot glue. It should be easy to remove them if I ever wanted these parts back.

In the photo above, I just have everything sitting loosely, and the Bluetooth module is plugged into a breadboard for now.


Once you have the components in, wire everything back together and power it on.
In the next step we'll adjust the movement of the needle and servo.

Step 7: Adjust the Needle...

It is preferable to have the needle stop at the same angle from far left to far right. So in this step we will adjust it as much as possible.

The servo and needle should be installed in a vertical position (pictures 1,2)


Power on the Arduino... is the needle still close to vertical? If not, remove the needle and re-install it in a vertical orientation.


Now start the Android app and connect to the Bluetooth module.

Move the slider to the far left... take note of where the needle stops.

Move the slider to the far right... take note of where the needle stops.

Did the needle stop at roughly the same angle from one side to the other?

If YES, glue the servo into place from the back side and your build is done.

If NO, try rotating the servo a little to the left or right until you are satisfied with the needle positioning. If you need to rotate the servo "too much", try centering the needle with the app first, then remove and re-install the needle in the vertical position and start the process again.


When you are satisfied with the needle movement, glue the servo into place.

Your Naughty / Nice Meter is now completed.

Here is a video of how it works.

Step 8: THE END... What Now...

Now set this somewhere where your child will always see it... tell them it's a direct line to santa... and watch the expression on their faces when the needle magically moves when they are good or bad.

I designed this version of the Naughty / Nice Meter to be as simple, inexpensive and easy to build as possible. But if you are interested in something a little nicer (well, a lot nicer), then...

Coming soon to my Etsy store will be the "Heirloom" version of the Naughty / Nice Meter. Made from your choice of domestic hardwoods like Walnut, Oak, Cherry (and more). Several additional functions and features. A custom made gift / storage box. And personalized accessories for your girl or boy!

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