Superhero Console

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Introduction: Superhero Console

All superheroes need a console for their lair. I was asked to make a console for a primary school’s role play corner. I’ve already described how I made the palm scanner (https://www.instructables.com/Prop-Palm-Scanner-1). In this instructable I’ll show you how I made the supercomputer, emergency tracking map and reactor core.

Step 1: Super Computer Materials

My original computer used a matrix of LEDs and an Arduino to control it, this version is much simpler and doesn’t require an Arduino. (credit to BIGCLIVEDOTCOM who came up with the method). This version uses self flashing LEDs. When they are turned on they all flash at very slightly different rates and after a few seconds give a random flashing pattern for that 1950’s supercomputer look.

Materials:

1.5Hz self flashing LEDs (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blinking-Transparent-Electronics-Components-Indicator/dp/B0895VH294/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=1.5Hz+led&qid=1610825068&sr=8-8)

4 AA battery box (or USB power bank)

220 ohm resistors

Copper tape (optional)

Wire

Board

Pill caddy to use as a diffuser

Using the pill caddy, mark the outline of each compartment and find the centre of each grid. Drill a 5 mm hole in the centre of each grid, this should allow a friction fit of an LED.

Step 2: Solder the Resistors to LED

The LEDs require only 3V. I'm using a 6V power source as other parts of the console need 6V. To stop the LEDs failing each LED will need a resistor added to the +ve leg of the LED. A 220 ohm resistor will work for 5-6V

Step 3: Make the Matrix

Push fit an LED into each of the holes. At this point all of the +ve legs need to be soldered together and all the -ve legs need to be soldered together. You can use a piece of wire, but I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to use copper tape. Stick a strip of copper as shown in the picture, then solder the leg of each LED to the tape.( It’s important to get the +ve and -ve legs correct, if you mix them up they won’t work and will possibly fail). The tape can then be connected to the power supply via a switch.

Step 4: Fit Diffuser

The pill caddy needs to be prepared so it can be used as a diffuser. To stop light from each LED bleeding into the next cell you need to make the borders between cells opaque. I use masking tape, or duct tape but you could paint them if you have a steady hand. To make the light softer I add some translucent material to each cell, I use a bit of plastic milk bottle, but paper would work as well. Finally all you need to do is glue the pill box to the board using a line of hot glue.

Step 5: Reactor Core

Materials:

RGB slow colour change LED

Wire

Clear plastic container

Hair gel

Plumbing connectors

Hot glue

Step 6: Add the LEDs

You need to find a clear plastic container that will fit in the plumbing connectors. Anything that can be sealed will do. Drill 2 holes in the lid of the container to push fit the LEDs into. You need to use 2 LEDs as I’m using 5-6V and each LED needs ~3V. By using 2 in series you can avoid using a resistor (It’s best practice to use a resistor to reduce the chance of damaging the LED but you can get away without one). Use hot glue to seal the LED’s in the lid, it needs to be watertight, but ideally not cover the ends of the LED to allow maximum light out.

Step 7: Solder the LEDs

Solder the LEDs in series, that means connect the -ve leg from one to the +ve leg of the other. Then connect the pair to the power supply via a switch.

Step 8: Fill the Tube

To help diffuse the light, fill the tube with hair gel (careful it’s a little messy). Use thick hair gel and shake it hard to get lots of bubbles in it. It’s the bubbles that will spread the light out and give it a cool sci-fi look. Lastly fit the tube into the plumbing fittings, my tube was a little small so I wrapped foam tape round the bottom and top to get it to fit and then hot glued it into place.

Step 9: Emergency Tracking Map

This is a map of the world with random flashing lights to show where emergencies are happening.

Materials:

Cheap picture frame

5V LED tape (one where each individual LED can be cut off)

Arduino

Wire

Map of the world (or anywhere you want) 2 copies, 1 good and one draft

Step 10: Mark the Positions of the LEDs

Take the frame apart we’re just using the back board and glass. Place the draft map on the board and using a sharp point use it to mark where you want the LEDs to be. You can use up to 18 LEDs, the number being limited by the number of pins on the Arduino.

Step 11: Wire the LEDs

Cut of an individual LED off the 5V tape (each one has a resistor already attached) and stick each one to the spot you marked on the board. Wire the LEDs, the -ve of each LED should be wired together in a string then connected to the ground pin on the Arduino. The +ve of each LED is individually connected to a pin on the Arduino. The Arduino is then connected to the power supply via a switch

Step 12: Programme the Arduno

Programme the Arduino using the code below. The code randomly lights 4 LEDs at a time. (Note the Arduino is not very good at picking random numbers and you will see patterns appear if you watch it long enough)

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or
power the board

void setup() {

// initialize digital pin 13 as an output.

pinMode(13, OUTPUT);

pinMode(12, OUTPUT);

pinMode(11, OUTPUT);

pinMode(10, OUTPUT);

pinMode(9, OUTPUT);

pinMode(8, OUTPUT);

pinMode(7, OUTPUT);

pinMode(6, OUTPUT);

pinMode(5, OUTPUT);

pinMode(4, OUTPUT);

pinMode(3, OUTPUT);

pinMode(2, OUTPUT);

pinMode(1, OUTPUT);

pinMode(14, OUTPUT);

pinMode(15, OUTPUT);

pinMode(16, OUTPUT);

pinMode(17, OUTPUT);

pinMode(18, OUTPUT);

}

// the loop function runs over and over again forever

void loop() {

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH);

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH);

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH);

digitalWrite(random(0-19), HIGH);

delay(300);

digitalWrite(18, LOW);

digitalWrite(17, LOW);

digitalWrite(16, LOW);

digitalWrite(15, LOW);

digitalWrite(14, LOW);

digitalWrite(13, LOW);

digitalWrite(12, LOW);

digitalWrite(11, LOW);

digitalWrite(10, LOW);

digitalWrite(9, LOW);

digitalWrite(8, LOW);

digitalWrite(7, LOW);

digitalWrite(6, LOW);

digitalWrite(5, LOW);

digitalWrite(4, LOW);

digitalWrite(3, LOW);

digitalWrite(2, LOW);

digitalWrite(1, LOW);

delay(200);

// wait for a second

}

Step 13: Finish the Map

Lastly stick the good map on top of the LEDs (make sure you line it up with the LEDs) then using foam tape stick the glass on top.

Step 14: Put It All Together

Each of the props, the palm scanner, the super computer, the map and reactor core along with an old keyboard and a few panel lights and toggle switches were built into an MDF frame. A few tubes and foam embelishments were added to give that Sci-fi look and with a touch of paint you're ready to save the world.

Step 15:

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    5 Comments

    0
    hugheswho
    hugheswho

    4 months ago

    This is awesome. Lucky kids!
    You got my vote!
    The palm scanner could be a great IRL Among Us prop, too.

    0
    Palladin
    Palladin

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanks for your vote. I wish I had more excuses to build props.

    0
    MarioM66
    MarioM66

    4 months ago

    very cool!
    I would mix some neon color in the hair gel and use blacklight LED. I tested already .
    Very impressive effect

    0
    Palladin
    Palladin

    Reply 4 months ago

    That's a great idea and would really give a radioactive look,

    0
    mkushner2017
    mkushner2017

    4 months ago

    Super! Great toy! I with could have time to do such projects.