Introduction: Solar Powered Sparkle Machine

About: I like to make things. Art, inventions, tools, ukuleles, etc...

This is the latest version of an invention I’ve been working on for a while. It’s a way to bring in sunlight, and disperse it inside the house. The sun causes the mirror ball to rotate which scatters sunshine all around a room. Earlier versions were challenged by sourcing the small DC gear motors that would turn slowly enough and run off of a reasonably sized photovoltaic cell. Then I found these little jewelry turntables which are perfect. They turn nice and slow and don’t require much sunlight.


solar jewelry turntable Amazon

4” foam mirror ball Amazon

hot glue

Step 1: Remove the Hanging String Mount From the Mirror Ball

Just grab it and rock it side to side as you pull. Use pliers if you need to. It’s held on with hot glue. A few mirrors will come off with it, and that’s ok because this will be the bottom. You want to clear a small round area about the size of a quarter. This increases the size of the glue joint making it stronger.

Step 2: Cut the Turntable to Size (optional)

Since I was making several, I made a jig to cut off eight sides using my table saw. The jig makes it safer and easier. If you are only making a couple, hand tools would probably be a better option. I left an octagon about 2” across to glue onto.

Step 3: Hot Glue

Set the ball on a roll of tape so it doesn’t move while you’re working. Use a good dollop of hot glue on the center of the turntable and stick it to the bare foam on the ball. Let it cool. It will take longer than usual to set because the foam insulates the glue.

Step 4: Attach the Motor Base

Then set it in direct sunlight. It will start to turn, picking its own direction. You can change the direction by gently stopping the ball while it’s turning. Then it goes the other way.

Step 5: ​Enjoy!

It makes the room come alive with sparkling sunlight. I often enter a room after the sparkles have turned on by themselves and remember, oh yeah, sparkles :)

BTW- I have a few on Etsy.

Make it Move Contest 2020

Participated in the
Make it Move Contest 2020