For our electronic project, we are making a Batmobile made out of foam board, that can move with wheels, and will also have LEDs for headlights. We came up with this idea because the four of us, are all fans of the DC comics and the Justice League. So we thought that we should make a design related to the DC and Justice League. As we were brainstorming, we came upon the idea that the Batmobile would be a very interesting way for us to have fun and at the same time, we could incorporate the electronic aspect to this project, and also use our skills of the machines, and learn some new skills, like soldering, and using the Carvey (CNC machine). We are also going to add 6 yellow LEDs, 4 in the front and two in the back. This is a fairly easy design to make, which can be made quickly and while using very few materials.
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Step 1: Materials Needed
- 6 Yellow LEDs
- Foam Board 20in x 30in and 3/16in thick (Standard Size)
- Single Pull Single Throw Toggle Switch
- 2 Small plastic wheels (3 cm diameter)
- 2 Big plastic wheels (4 cm diameter)
- Axle (Can be any material, as long as it performs its purpose. We used very strong wooden sticks)
- 1 9V Battery
- 1 Battery connector
- 1 resistor (1K Ω)
- Wire (Stranded)
Step 2: Tools Needed
- Scroll saw
- Drill press or power drill
- X-ACTO Knife
- Hot Glue Gun
- Electrical Tape
- Wire cutters
- Soldering wire
- Soldering Iron
Step 3: Adobe Illustrator
We made a 1:1 scale of what we wanted our Batmobile to look like on graph paper. We used our phones to take a scan picture of the drawing, and then we uploaded it onto a new layer on Adobe illustrator. To trace the picture, we made another layer, we made lines from points, and then bent them, to make the curves (we excluded the cockpit). For the curves around the wheels, we made circles and deleted half of their segments.
Step 4: Carvey (CNC)
After we finished uploading our image to the Adobe Illustrator, we uploaded it to the Carvey. We then cut two pieces of foam boards, that were 8 inches by 10 inches. The Carvey then did the cutting job for us. The best thing about using the Carvey is that its cuts are very consistent and they will never even be slightly different, whereas if we were to cut the side boards for our Batmobile, there may have been some inconsistency and they might not have looked perfect, so using a Carvey is highly recommended. Once the two side views of the car came out, we measured the right wheel size and axle, which we then proceeded to attach them.
Step 5: Assembly
After we used the Carvey to cut the two sides of the car, we had to connect them. We wanted the width of the car to be less than 10 cm so we proceeded to connect the sides using the base. We used an exacto knife to cut a 20cm by 10cm piece out of the foam board and attached it to the bottom of the vehicle.
Step 6: LED Assembly
Lastly, once we finished finishing the body of our Batmobile, we had to insert the LEDs for the headlights. We started with the back ones first since we could only do the front ones after we put on the cockpit. This step was pretty simple as all we had to do was make one hole on each side and insert one LED in each hole. (We also added extra supports by cutting the side view of the foam board to make the Batmobile more durable. This is not needed because we were using foam board and it is not a very strong material)
Step 7: Roof Construction
We decided that instead of making one big roof, we would instead make 3 separate pieces. Since some parts of the vehicle are curved, making customized tops would allow for a better fit. We also printed a 4cm x 7cm batman logo and glued it to the top of the car. The logo was glued to the middle piece.
The first/front part of the roof is 9 ½ cm x 11 cm-
The middle part is 9 ½ cm x 7 ½ cm
The last piece is 8cm x 8cm
Step 8: Painting the Car
Before we started soldering, we wanted to finish painting the car first. If we were to paint after we attached the circuit, we would have to paint between the wires and therefore the car wouldn’t look as varnished. We painted everything over twice, starting from all the sides and then once dry, we moved on to painting the inside. We also painted the newly acquired “top” of the car.
Step 9: Building the Cicuit
Before we started making the actual circuit, we needed to make a prototype on a breadboard. Since we have 6 LEDs, and each has a voltage drop, of about 1.7 V in a series circuit, we needed to make them parallel, so that they would all work. We also drew a schematic drawing for a guide so that we wouldn’t mess up and we would be organized. In the picture above, we only have 5 LED but in our prototype, we have 6. We ran out of space and that's why we didn't add another LED. All you have to do it add the 6th LED is the same manner as the 5 LEDs were added.
Step 10: Final Assembly
After we inserted the circuit in the car, the only incomplete part was the roof of the car. We glued to the front and back pieces to the car using hot glue and some black tape. Since the battery needs to be replaceable, we only glued one side of the middle piece, so the other could open up like a flap. Since the foam was hard, we used an X-Acto knife to make small lines which resulted in the foam having more flexibility.
Step 11: Reflection
Something we liked the most about this project was the fact that it is a very flexible one. What this means is that we had to change our plant many times for our prototype to work and even though we made so many changes, our prototype still works. One change we had to make was the material we were using. In the beginning, we were going to use wood for the prototype, but we changed it to foam board because it was flexible. This did not affect our prototype even though foam board is not as strong as the wooden boards which we were initially planning to use. Something we would like to change is the material we used to build the prototype because foam board is not a very durable material and this material would not last very long. Something we would like to do differently next time is to make our prototype bigger because it is very hard putting a circuit in our prototype because there was very little space. Had we had more space, it would have been easier.