Build Your Own Pin-Hole Planetarium

Introduction: Build Your Own Pin-Hole Planetarium

Have you ever wanted to stare at the star-lit night from the comfort of your bed? Reproduce nature's majesty with your own homemade planetarium and transform your ceiling into the night sky using a few electronic components and some common household materials. Follow these easy steps and you'll be seeing stars in no time.

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Step 1: Step 1 - Required Materials

At the start of a project, it's important to put together a list of materials you will need. This project requires a few electronic components and a few things you may already have lying around the components you can get from Jameco.
  1. Metal bowl - this will be your planetarium dome
  2. Base, I used a microwave splatter guard (*note that the bowl and the base should be a good fit together (see photo below)
  3. Hammer
  4. A few nails
  5. A metal file
  6. Wooden block
  7. Soldering equipment
  8. High Power LED
  9. Toggle Switch
  10. Wall Adapter Power Supply
  11. Hook-up Wire

Step 2: Step 2 - Punching Holes in the Dome

There are a couple of ways to make your dome but I chose to do this very primitively. I had an extra hand help me with this step as I hammered a nail through the bowl into a wooden block, simple, yet effective. These holes should be relatively small since you want your projections to look like the actual night sky. Make sure to file down your dome afterwards as the punched holes can be sharp.

If you want to create constellations, print out a sheet that has the constellations and place the sheet over the bowl as you drive a nail through it.

Step 3: Step 3 - Prepare LED

Prepare the LED by soldering wire to its terminals.

Step 4: Step 4 - Connect Switch and Assembly

Step 4
Next I soldered the wire to the switch, attached it to the base and connected it to the power supply. I cut the end off of the Wall Adapter Power Supply so that I could connect one end to the switch and the other to the LED. For the best effect, it is important to make sure light doesn't escape from your enclosure except through the designated holes in the dome, so I covered my base with black paper.

Step 5: Add Dome

Place dome on top, turn off the lights and enjoy!

Troubleshooting Issues:

Make sure the LED isn't shorting on the enclosure's base.

Check to be sure your soldering is secure on terminal and switch.

Check for damaged components.

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is an excellent project idea. Could you please take at least one photo of it in action (dark room, turned on, use a tripod and "nighttime" setting on your camera), and add it to the end. That would make this entirely Featurable!