Introduction: Tapping Light


Everything on the internet has a loading time, for the lucky few who have gigabit internet, this may not become apparent, however for most of the people in the world where even dial up internet is still used - buffering and long loading times are frequent and annoying. So I give you:


Tapping Light or 'Tap Light' is an IRL version of those fun games you play while you are waiting for something to load. Be that a video game level, an awesome Youtube video, or just (thanks internet!)

It uses an Arduino Nano combined with an WS2811 led (love these!) and a Piezo Tap Sensor. This is bundled up inside an awesome wood and acrylic case to give you the Tapping Light.


This instructable is entered in the Make it Glow contest, 3 ingredient challenge and the tech contest. Make sure to vote if you love it!

For the 3 Ingredients contest if you are wondering, the 3 main ingredients are electronics components, wood and acrylic.

Step 1: Materials

For this you will need these:

  • Acrylic Square
  • Wooden Strip
  • Arduino Nano
  • Piezo Tap Sensor
  • WS2811 LED Pixel
  • Nails

As for tools, you will most likely need these:

  • Hammer
  • Belt Sander
  • Saw

Step 2: Making the Case

The case is the acrylic and wood part that the electronics sit inside of, it does not have a base though.

For this you will need to grab your acrylic square, and if it isn't already frosted, you will need to 'frost' it by sanding each side for a bit.

Then once you hvave your prepared piece of acrylic, you need to make a border for it out of the wooden strip.

The measurements that I had for the wood were (in mm):

2pcs - 42.88x10.3

1pcs - 60x10.3

However these are relative to the size of your acrylic square.

Then nail them together and make sure the acrylic fits snugly in it.

Note: I am only bordering 3 sides of the acrylic - this is because there has to be a side for the USB cable and it will also be hidden under the keyboard.

Then grab out your hot glue and stick some around the border on the inside so on the outside, the acrylic sits flush with the wood.

Step 3: Circuit

Now grab the Piezo tap sensor, Arduino Nano and WS2811 LED.

First, some pre-flight steps:

  • The Arduino Nano should not have pins soldered to it.
  • The WS2811 LED should be sanded down to be nice and small & square
  • The Piezo Tap sensor should not have pins soldered to it.

Once that is checked, you can proceed to create the circuit.

  • The Piezo Tap Sensor's 2 outputs need to go with 1 of them (doesn't matter which) to ground and the other to analog in 7
  • The WS2811 LED's +5v and GND go to their respective pins while the DATA IN needs to go to digital pin 9.

After all that, get the components in a good position with the LED preferably in the center, then secure it all down with hot glue.

Step 4: Code

This is the code I used, feel free to edit it (because that's what I did)

you need the FASTLED library, available here or in the Arduino IDE's library manager.

The only thing you need to do is change a condition in the code (the spot is marked) - where it determines the threshold for what is a 'tap' (this will probably change if you made it differently).

Tech Contest

Participated in the
Tech Contest

Three Ingredient Challenge

Participated in the
Three Ingredient Challenge

Make It Glow! Contest

Participated in the
Make It Glow! Contest