Introduction: Styrofoam of the Galaxy Vol. III

Idea was inspired from YouTube video, "Make a Styrofoam Kinetic Sculpture" by Tom McGuire

This is a kinetic sculpture made mainly from Styrofoam and construction paper using the power of two nine volt batteries to power up two small DC motors, which cause hand-cut gears made of foam board to rotate themselves and the Styrofoam planets on top of them. All of which sits on top of....more Styrofoam.

Step 1: Acquire Materials

  1. on-off switch
  2. box cutter
  3. wires
  4. hot glue gun (with hot glue)
  5. gear stencils
  6. 2, rubber bands
  7. pack of toothpicks
  8. 2, 9 volt batteries
  9. 2, DC motors
  10. 3 wooden skewers
  11. 3 straws
  12. black construction paper
  13. block of Styrofoam
  14. foam board
  15. colored gel pens
  16. 3 Styrofoam balls of according sizes
  17. spray paint
  18. crayons
  19. 4 CD's
  20. tape
  21. 4 washers

Step 2: Cut Out Styrofoam

  • You will need a box cutter to cut your Styrofoam block into desired dimensions. This will be your base.
  • Then you will need to cut out two smaller docks. This is where the gear and DC motor will rest on. To do this cut a small rectangle of Styrofoam and then two smaller "legs" that it will stand on like a table.
  • To put the table/dock together we ran tooth picks thru the legs into the main piece and we also hot glued the sides together just to be sure.
  • Finally cut out holes in the table/docks where your DC motor will come thru.

Step 3: Cover Styrofoam With Construction Paper

  • With the base and docks ready to go now lay out a sheet of black construction paper over them.
  • Fold the construction paper over the base and docks so that all edges and corners are covered. Make sure is covered well enough to where no Styrofoam is seen.
  • Using hot glue, glue the construction paper at the creases and corner onto the Styrofoam so that it stays in place.

Step 4: Cutting Out Gears and Discs

We got our gear stencils from the Internet so if you do some searching around you will be able for any particular sizes you are looking for.

  • Lay your gear stencil over foam board and then tape it down.
  • Using a box cutter begin to cut out the gear
  • Do this for both of the gear stencils
  • Now trace a CD and cut a smaller circle.
  • Do this twice. This will be used as the platform for our gears and will be used to hold the rubber band in place when spinning.

Step 5: Setup Platforms and Gears

This is the hardest part!
  1. Take a CD and hot glue the foam board circle we cut out previously to it.
  2. Glue another CD now on top of the foam board circle. This will act as a platform for the gear and keep the rubber band in place when spinning.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the second dock.
  4. Once our platforms are complete hot glue the bigger gear onto the top of one of them (NOT BOTH PLATFORMS) as shown above.
  5. Now using a wooden skewer, poke it through both the gear and the platform so that it comes all the way through. The skewer will keep the gear and platform in place once stabbed through into the base.
  6. For our second platform we will glue just a regular foam circle on top because there will be no need for a gear.
  7. Also run a skewer through the second platform into the base to keep it into place.
  8. As for the smaller gear there is no need for a platform because it will be spun by the bigger gear so you will just need to run a skewer through it. (MAKE SURE IS CLOSE ENOUGH TO BE SPUN BY OTHER GEAR)
  9. Once the skewers have been run through all of the gears and platforms, place straws over the skewers and into the gears (circle for the second platform).
  10. Run the straw up until the end of the gear ( not the full platform like the skewer). This will cause the planets to rotate when the gears rotate because they will be placed on the straw not the skewer.
  11. With the gears set up push the DC motor up from the holes we made in both the platforms earlier.
  12. Wrap rubber band inside the platform and then stretch it onto the DC motor.
  13. Do this for both platforms and motors
  14. Cut little handle shaped caps, as shown above, to put over the DC motors so the rubber band doesn't snap off.

Step 6: Wiring the Motors Onto the Switch

  1. Gather both of the DC motors, both of your 9 volt batteries, the switch, and all your wires with clips and cap wires for the batteries.
  2. Connect your batteries by using a cap wire.
  3. Using your switch connect one of the 9 volt battery wires to the "On" side of the switch and the other to one of the prongs under the first DC motor.
  4. Use a clip wire to connect the other prong under the first DC motor to the blue and white wire sticking out of the switch.
  5. With the second DC motor, connect a clip wire from one of the prongs underneath onto the blue and white wire, coming off from the switch again.
  6. Another clip wire will go from the second prong on the second DC motor and attach to the clip that comes off the battery onto the first motor.
  7. Now to connect a second battery for that extra power, clip on one end of the wire onto the clip of the wire from the previous step.
  8. For the second end of the second battery clip it onto the clip of the wire from step 2.

Step 7: Make the Base and Platforms Look Magical!

Using Colored Gel Pens I drew Gold, Neon Yellow, and Silver stars all over the base and platform. Then I added Dots of the exact same colors by just smashing the tips of the pens over and over.

With this you can really do whatever to give it that space/ galaxy feel.Now that I look back I would of much rather used white paint or whatever to make white dots everywhere and even maybe add in some yellow dots!

Step 8: Time to Create the Planets and Steve!

  • For the Sun we took our biggest Styrofoam ball (8 Inch) and used yellow spray paint to cover the whole ball. Then we stuck tooth picks in it, that were also spray painted.
  • For the Earth (about 4 Inch), we didn't have blue or green spray paint so instead we used crayons and drew out the land and the earth.
  • For the Moon ( 2 Inch), we had gray spray paint to cover the whole ball.
  • Now for Steve, who is the one on the Earth, we used tooth picks for his body, hot glue to put him together, and a 1 inch Styrofoam ball for his head.
  • Once your planets, the sun, and Steve is done drying and ready to assemble we shoved them on top of the straws so they would of course spin.

There you have it, with everything assembled you now have an awesome Styrofoam Kinetic Sculpture.