Introduction: The BUBBLER

This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement of the Makecourse at the University of South Florida ( My engineering design project is a bubble machine, however not your typical bubble machine that could be purchased at your local Wal-Mart. The “Bubbler” utilizes the old rope and stick method with a new twist while still producing larger bubbles. Therefore, you will get the same effect without having to manually dip the sticks. Included is IR Proximity motion sensor in which is enacted by a passer-by, that then triggers the lever mechanism. The servos then proceed to dipping the rope into the liquid, bringing the levers back up to the blowing fan which then ‘blows’ the bubble.

I decided to create a spin off of a bubble machine because I believe no matter how old you are, bubbles will always be fascinating. Another reason in choosing this was because bubbles were a favorite childhood past time of mine. I have always been intrigued by how things are made and how things work. I believe with this contraption I have kept the manual experience of blowing a bubble while still creating an electronic and mechanical device.

Step 1: Materials:

  • Arduino
  • 2 Small Servos
  • IR Proximity Sensor
  • 2 3D printed parts constructed in Autodesk Inventor with holes on each side (you can make these)
  • cheap bubble packs from Wal-Mart
  • 2 Bottles of Glycerin
  • Various sized nuts or fishing weights (holding down string)
  • Wooden case bought from Michaels Crafts (you could also make your own)
  • large computer fan (12v)
  • 12v power cord (to power fan)
  • 9v Batteries
  • Breadboard
  • Multiple router bits (to drill vent holes for fan)
  • absorbent string
  • wire connectors

Step 2: See the Bubbler in Action

Step 3: Circuit Schematic:

Step 4: Bubbler Code:


The proximity sensor detects the motion triggering the servos movement. The 3D printed arms, with holes on each end (one for holding the string and one for the attachment to the servo head) are lowered, dipping the string into the glyceri/bubble liquid and bringing them back up to air flow of the 12v computer fan. The fan has been programmed to blow at random from 2-5 seconds each time, using the delay(random(2000, 5000)) function as seen in the code allowing for varying sized bubbles and formations.

Step 5: Interaction of Parts:

Step 6: Building Process:

  1. Depending if you want to use a proximity sensor, which detects motion, you are going to need to make holes somewhere on the front of your box, or mount it to the front, depending on the look you want. My holes are right above the fan cutouts that you will make in step 2.
  2. Measure fan opening and cut out holes for each. My fan holes are in the middle of my wooden box, and about 2" from the top.Mount fan inside
  3. Drill or cut vents in back of electronic "Bubbler" encasing (wood casing) to enable enough air flow. I used varying router bits from .5"- 2" wide. For those of you who have never used a router bit, they drill large hole cut outs into wood or other varying materials so I incorporated them into my design.
  4. Depending on the side of your servos, I used 2 Tower Pro micro servos, measure and depending if you want them more hidden or if you don't care, cut hole accordingly. My servo holes are about 4" up on the front of the box, and about 1 1/2 inches in from each side.
  5. Now for the arms. I downloaded a free student version of Autodesk inventor and digitally modeled them to 3D print later (to satisfy course requirements), however any material could bemused to make these for example wood or plastic. As long as there is a way for you to mount one end of each to the servo and a hole on the other side to tie the string through.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! thank you for sharing this Instructable! In Step 4, were you able to upload the circuit schematic? I am unable to see it.