HAL 9000 - Analog Bulletin Board




About: This author has not updated their profile. They might or might not get around to it sometime. If the kid wants a unicorn... Dangit, we're gonna make that happen. What little I know is dangerous, the rest I...

Done the Instructables way. What project is perfect to do with kids and uses only one LED? Create your own big Orange functional analog bulletin board suitable for tacking up stuff after you are done. Make the original message board where you actually post messages. Great to hang up in the dorm, cramped work cubicle or bomb shelter. No sewing involved in this one, just hot glue, scissors, and maybe some soldering.

HAL is the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Great book and movie. Didn't understand it then, still don't, one of the great mysteries in life to unravel.

This bulletin board simulates the glowing eye bezel of HAL and the surrounding displays. Great debate rages on the meaning and symbolism of the details in the movie. Here we present our version of HAL, the Instructables IBL 9000 glowing eye, centerpiece of our display board.

Many say if you take the letters that come alphabetically after H, A, L, you get IBM. If you take the letters the come alphabetically before I, B, L, you get - - -, coincidence, you decide...

Step 1: Get Some Stuff...

For this project we will need:

A working red LED.
I found these LED book lights at the dollar store. They contain a white light LED so I had to modify them.

Some sheets of box cardboard the size that you want to make your bulleting board. Mine were about 2 feet square. You can buy real cork tile to use as the base of the bulletin board for more durability and hold. Or you can use a sheet of rigid foam house insulation.

A small plastic bowl to use as the lens cover. I had these disposable dessert bowls/cups that were perfect to use. You may use a small glass dessert bowl too to give a better appearance of the optical fisheye lens.

Fabric of any kind to cover your bulletin board. I had some leftover orange stretch knit fabric which fit the theme of this project.

Patches of different colored fabric, I had different colored felt pieces, to make the display panels.

Computer/Printer to create logos and wording for the displays.

If you need to modify the light, you need some soldering/electronics skillz.

This was constructed using only a hot glue gun to attach everything.

CAUTION: Hot glue and the hot glue gun are HOT! Can cause burns if you are not careful. Have tweezers/pliers to handle pieces that have hot glue just applied to them. Hot glue can pass through the fabric as you are pressing down and burn you.

Step 2: White Light, Red Light...

In this industrial age, you let others do the work for you if you can. And for the price, somebody has already put together a self-contained complete LED, working circuit with switch, battery pack and mounting in the LED booklight. You can come up with your own if desired.

This LED booklight had a white LED. I could have cheated and just put a piece of red acetate for a light filter on the lens to make a red light. Now who would pass up a chance to do some soldering?

The light assembly comes apart like a flashlight and saw that the white LED was easy to replace with a red one.

I had this assortment of LEDs from a previous project and picked a replacement red LED based on similar size since they were not marked in any way with their voltage rating.

It was simple enough to pull back the heat shrink insulation and the wires just fell off. I had to unwind the other lead.

I soldered back the replacement red LED after inspecting the LED for correct orientation for polarity.

Test the light to make sure the LED works, if not, reverse the connections.

Step 3: Get on Board...

I had a nice big clean sheet of cardboard, probably the insert from the packaging of some IKEA shelves. I folded it in half and hot glued it together to laminate it for strength and thickness. For a good tack board you may need three or more layers. It was arbitrarily just the right size for a bulletin board.

Find the center spot where you want to mount the LED. Punch a hole through the cardboard so that the LED headlamp can be mounted. I covered the edges of the hole with hot glue. It essentially made a grommet where it reinforced the hold and provided a friction fit to keep the headlamp in position.

The booklight had a spring clip on the other end. The battery pack and the switch were mounted on one side of the clip. I wanted to be able to switch this on easily so I cut a hole to have the switch/battery pack on the front of the bulletin board. If the batteries need changing, I could just pull the unit from the back and change the batteries.

Step 4: Gotcha Covered...

Begin to cover the bulletin board with your fabric.

Start on the edge of one side and tack the ends with hot glue. Stretch and smooth as you go along.

Hot glue the rest of the side. Use some tool like tweezers or pliers to press the fabric onto the bead of hot glue so you do not burn your fingers.

Hot glue the fabric on the edge of the opposing side being careful to keep the fabric taut and smooth.

Where the LED headlamp pops out of the cardboard, place a bead of hot glue to outline the shape. Cut a hole in the fabric to let the LED pop through. The hot glue bead serves to reinforce the hole to keep the fabric from unravelling.

Cut a piece of black felt that will be the faceplate of the glowing eye.

Position over the LED headlamp and cut out a hole to fit. Hot glue the piece in place.

Hot glue the plastic dessert bowl over the LED headlamp. Apply the hot glue to the rim of the dessert bowl and then "cap" the LED. You can run an additional bead of hot glue around the base of the dessert bowl to secure it and smooth out any blobs of hot glue.


Cut out four pieces of fabric of different colors to simulate the display screens surrounding the glowing eye.

Hot glue in place.

Using your favorite graphics program, create the logo and any wording that you want on the display screens. Cut out and hot glue in place. I just used Mspaint to do a color filled rectangle with white text. You may want to better match the color with your fabric or create iron-on graphics for the display panels.

Since the real HAL had a fisheye camera lens for its optics, I got some graphic of a camera lens ring to attach to the bottom around the dessert bowl for additional detail.

Apply the metallic trim surrounding the black bezel. I used aluminum duct sealing tape for the trim. This stuff is like tin-foil tape instead of the traditional cloth duct tape.

There you have it, the IBL 9000 analog bulletin board. You can attach a piece of wire or string to the back to make hanging it easier or just press it on to a nail on the wall.

Feel around for the covered switch and turn the unit on. Just hope that there is no major malfunction...



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    37 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I got an idea. Try adding a cheap human detector. So it can save battery


    9 years ago on Introduction

    There are 3 books in the Space Odyssey Trilogy. 2001, 2010, and (I think) 2064. The way I see it; It is an alternative to the Bible. Basically it is the way an anonymous race is seeding and growing worlds. ie the monolith teaches the monkeys to use tool (the jaw bone in the fight at the drinking hole). The monolith is a trigger and timer on the moon etc. It is an all-purpose tool for creating worlds. Frankly it makes more sense to me than the Bible. I highly recommend all Arthur C Clarke novels, esp Rendezvous With Rama.

    8 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Its the Space Odyssey Quadrilogy:
      2001:Space Odyssey
      2010:Odyssey two
      2061:Odyssey three
      3001:Final Odyssey

    I've read them all, my favourite books, and I agree about your recommendation of Rama, that's another excellent Quadrilogy,


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Science fiction or fact has always been a way to unravel the mystery of existence. I think Scientology as a faith was borne from the works of another sci-fi writer. All subject to one's interpretation.

    Scientology was intentionally created as a religion by science fiction and self help author L. Ron Hubbard. The bible of Scientology is 'Dianetics'.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Indeed. I agree. I don't think he was trying to create a new religion Though he does play with the topic from different point of views. I apologize for any offense.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Don't give up on your religion man! I don't think it has anything to do with the bible. Arthur is just trying to explain to us what the director was trying to tell us in 3 novels until we get it and i think i do. Its about tools. Our Own tools destroying us.
    OK Big Spoiler Alert.
    Stage One Prehistoric~
    Outer aliens sends monolith designed to teach about tools to earth
    People learn tools.
    People Use tools to kill+harm other people.
    Aliens are like, Woah didn't expect that! These people are crazy!
    People dominate earth.

    Stage 2 The moon
    Aliens don't want this race they've created to rule the universe.
    They put a monolith on moon that purposely radiates signal so that humans would come to it. Once they do the aliens will know because the monolith is also a transmitter (loud high pitch noise)

    Stage 3 The Odyssey
    People head for another monolith near japetus. This one warps.
    Why? the aliens want to know if they've gone to jupiter.
    ON the ship Hal (a tool) kills people.
    Thus the guy gets rid of his tool. and is left alone.

    Stage 4 ending
    Guy goes through the monolith to find a place we can't understand (flatland)
    Aliens (or you can consider them God.. iffy....) change him into perfect.
    The baby uses tool for the last time a tool (the monolith) to travel back to earth.
    The baby clears the atmosphere or destructive nuclear satellites.
    And I'm not sure what the baby is going to do to change everyone else. But he will.

    :p Anyway its just a book. Or IS IT? haha all for fun.

    DJ Radio

    9 years ago on Step 5

    On that yellow corner on the bottom left, I understand the "DJR" and the "KNX" parts, what does "AV-1R" mean?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I always thought HAL was an acronym for Heuristic Algorithm. The IBM - HAL link is a myth. Either way, 2001 is a great film.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I know this is long ago but no its not a myth. IBM and HAL were one of the countless easter eggs that was in the Space Odyssey movie. Countless. Allow me to explain. HAL, add one letter to each letter of HAL and you get IBM H-I A-B L-M Now why did the director do this? It has to do with the main plot of the film/book. My take on the moral/theme of the movie is, Tools. Will Tools destroy ourselves? ...the scene where guy throws tool up in air. Uses first tool ever to kill another being like him! Countless examples. In the end the last tool used was the monolith, to travel, and the space baby clears the air of destructive satellites, tools of destruction... Now back to IBM, at that time, the director's time, IBM supported the german nazi's with their technology and were believed to be dangerous. People thought that countries would soon develope nuclear sattelites and IBM would be one of them. That is the link between IBM and HAL and also clears up that last seen of what the baby did with the atmosphere (if you read the book) Sorry i went all out on you, I think i caught it from my science teacher who made me read this book. Sorry for any spelling mistakes too. All in geeky fun! P.S. Easter Egg: The odyssey is shaped like a sperm, why do you think so? Be serious lol.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The trilogy is great, and being old enough to have seen 2001 when first it came out as a movie, I can say it was one of the early things inspired me to a high tech carreer, but it never made a dent in our churchgoing. The Rama books -also quite good as are others. But to me it is classed as entertaining science fiction. I can't see sci-fi as a serious alternative to the bible, but it's a free country (for the time being; the next few years may tell!) If you found a group of primitive people who had no strong belief system and exposed them to the Trilogy while baffling them with some tech tricks, they might believe it.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey guys you forgot 3001 final odyssey so it makes 4 . All good and all different in their own way.