Build the Borg Jack O' Lantern




Introduction: Build the Borg Jack O' Lantern

About: I started taking things apart when I was 6 started putting them back together at 8 and they actually worked again when I was 10 or 11...

Resistance is Futile! Your Technological and Biological differences will be added to our own. My family are all avid Trekkies. After having watched all of Next Gen, DS-9 and in the middle of Voyager, it seemed obvious to use a Borg theme for Halloween. The result is the Borg Jack O' Lantern. My ten year old loved the build for this and now you can build one too. Here is what you will need:

1. One Pumpkin
2. A surplus gearhead  motor (one that  spins 60-120 RPM on 12 volts)
3. A couple PVC pipe adaptors one: 1-1/2" threaded and another depending on the size of the gear drive motor.
4. One Red Laser Module
5. A small 3VDC motor Jameco
6. small round mirror. Hobby Lobby carries these
7. 1ft piece of 1/4" brass tubing Hobby Lobby
8. Small brass stock 1/8" X by 1/32" Hobby Lobby
9. Two "Tiny Cylon" kits
10. Five high brightens 5mm green LED's available lots of places
11. four or five LED Glow Tubes see this instructable 
12. 24 or 26 gauge wire, red and black preferred or at lease two different colors
13. Solder iron, misc tools, electrical tape  Hot Glue gun
14. Coping saw blade for carving the pumpkin
15. 2 D-Cell batteries and a holder for them
16. Flat black and silver spray paint
17. Black tempera paint for ocular cutout
18. a source of 12VDC for the gearhead motor and LED glow tubing

Here is the Final Borg O' Lantern assimilating the kids in my hood: 

Step 1: The Ocular Implant

Every Borg has an Ocular Implant for one of its eyes. This is where the gearhead motor comes in. It allows us to glue something the end of the motor shaft to rotate and generate some motion for the Borg. Take the motor with you to Home Depot or Lowe's and find a couple PVC pipe fittings that it will fit into. The goal is to be able to hot glue the motor into one of them and have threads on the other end to screw into the pumpkin to hold it in place. Also we need to find something cool to put on the end of the motor shaft. I remember a couple episodes where drill bits or cutting blades came out of Borgs, but I thought that those and little kids might not be a good idea. I had a read head from a scrapped hard drive and used it. We will attach that at the end of assembly. 

   - Solder some wires long enough to connect the motor to your power source.

   - Hot glue the motor into one of the PVC pipe fittings.

   - Glue the first fitting into the second so that the whole assemble can be screwed into the pumpkin.

Step 2: Preparing the Blinking LED's

I used two TIny Cylon boards. These include a pre-programmed AVR micro controller with a push button that has several blink modes.  One I used "as is" with the small red LED's that come with the kit. The second one I used larger 5mm green LEDs and mounted them on the round part of the PVC pipe. This requires adding short wires to the LED's.  The following pictures show you how.

Often, when using a wire stripper on a short wire, the insulation pulls away from the part you are NOT trying to strip. I found a great way to strip short wires and prevent this, Use a single edge razor blade and carefully press down to cut through the insulation. Now spin the wire while holding pressure on the razor blade to make a clean full cut in the insulation. WIth practice, this is a fast method of stripping wires.

   - Cut five red wires 3" to 4" long

   - Cut five blue (or any color that is different form red) wires 3" to 4"  long

   - Strip about 1/4" of insulation off of each end and tin the wires.

   - Solder a red wire to the positive lead of the LED's

   - Solder a blue wire to the negative lead of the LED's

Step 3: Wiring and Attaching the LED's

The Tiny Cylon board has one edge that normall all the LED's drop into and are soldered. Do that with one of the boards and then solder the LED's with the short wire extension onto the other board. The holes are square for "+" or positive and "Round for Ground" or negative. See the pictures to see the assembly process. No insulation is used on the LED leads as we are going to cover them with hot glue while mounting them.

   - Mount the middle LED form the Tiny Cylon board at the top of the motor. This lets  you glue the rest and make them all even.

   - Mount the other Tiny Cylon board on the the motor base so that the LED's are in a line horizontally.

   - Finally, connect wires to the boards for power with one set running out the back of the implant. I drilled a hole in the PVC to pass them through to the inside of the pumkin.

Step 4: Ocular Implant Construction

After the LED's are mounted and the hot glue cools we need to paint the implant. I used a base coat of flat black and then a quick spray of silver for effect. Don't worry about painting the LED's. I did that and then wiped them clean with some lacquer thinner. This actually makes them look cool and "part of the machinery". 

Step 5: Build the Laser Vortex Scanner

This effect is very cool with a fog machine. Basically a small laser is pointed at a rotating mirror with a slight angle. The result is the laser forms a cone moving out from the mirror as the mirror rotates. I used a 3VDC motor I got from Jameco but you can use almost any small DC motor. You should have a front surface mirror if possible. I took a roudn one that I bought at Hobby Lobby and used acetone (nail polish remover will work) to clean the paint off of the back and expose the aluminum coating. To build the assembly, remove the label (Warning labels are irrelevant ) and unscrew the housing. We will solder the housing to a piece of the brass stock and make a holder for it. This was my first attempt to use brass like this and solder it. I won't win an industrial design award but it works. 

   - Cut a  4" piece of the 1/4" tubing from the brass tubing.

   - Take the remaining 8" piece and split the end about 3/8" by cutting it. I used an Exacto saw blade with 42 teeth per inch.

   - Using needle nose pliers and a little ingenuity, form the end so that the 4" piece can fit into it and be soldered to it. See Pics.

   -Solder the two pieces of brass tubing together. I used a 100W iron my wife has for jewelry making.

   - Using the small brass stock form it around the motor to make a bracket and solder it to the motor.

   - Using a similar technique make a holder for the laser housing.

   - Solder both to the ends of the 4" brass tube so that the  laser points at the mirror. At least get close enough that it can be bent to reach the right position. 

Finally wire the leads to a set of common wires. This will all run on 3VDC from the DC batteries

Good Luck!

Step 6: Carving the Pumkin

Originally I thought I would make a regular Jack O' Lantern and add in the Borg stuff as if it were "assimilated" then my kid had the idea to use the Borg insignia for the main part of the pumpkin. Doing a little sleuthing I found this link for the Borg. This is the Borg insignia, designed by Rick Sternbach. It is from the one owned by Paramount studios. I redid it in Inkscape (great program) and made a pdf that is attached below. It is 6 inches tall, which is the size I needed for my pumpkin. 

I made a saw to carve the pumpkin with by cutting a coping saw blade at an angle with tin snips then taping the end with electrical tape to make a handle

   - Cut around the top angles inward slightly so you can pop the top off and put it back on as a lid.

   - Cut out the insignia with enough margin to tape it to the pumpkin.

   - Tape it to the pumpkin.

   - Cut out the black parts using the coping saw blade.

   - Mark eyes on either side and cut out the left one normally.

   - For the Ocular Implant hole, cut it just under sized so that the PVC pipe threads can be screwed in. Cut it so that the sides are straight out, allowing the Ocular Implant will point forward.

   - Finally, cut out a back panel to pass wires through.

Step 7: Final Assembly

This is where it all comes together!

   - Mount the Ocular Implant by screwing it into the right eye socket.

   - Using a 1/4 drill, make holes in the pumpkin where you want the LED glow tubing to go. Push the ends of the tubing into the 1/4" holes.

   - Mount the Laser Scanner by pressing the brass tubing into the pumpkin to hold it in place. 

I wasn't satisfied with the original outcome so I carved around the Ocular Implant and filled it in with black tempera paint.

For interior light I had a couple RGB led things from some toys lying around (I'm that guy, still taking things apart and saving the electronics.) You can use any light source you like but not a real candle!

Step 8: Go Live!

Wire all the 3 volt things to the DC cell batter holder. I put a switch on mine. Then wire the 12 volt parts (Motor and LED Glow Tubing) to a 12V DC power supply. I had an old wall wart that did just the trick. Power it on an enjoy! I had a ton of comments from people coming up trick or treating. All the Trekkie's new immediately what it was and loved it. I have a sound track running for Halloween at my house and I edited in several "Borg" lines I sampled from Voyager episodes I have on DVD. 

Feel free to modify the design and be creative!

Happy Halloween! 


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