How to Create a Lever Switch for a Pirate Mini Golf Hole

Introduction: How to Create a Lever Switch for a Pirate Mini Golf Hole

Ahoy! Have you ever wanted to create a mini golf hole or needed to create one for an office event? Did you have less then a weekend to get it done and wanted to give it something extra special to amp it up? I had this very issue.

First a pirate theme was chosen and a layout with islands was drawn up. Time was ticking so it was a great find when an instructable by nnygamer, the Mini Island Gaming Terrain, was found. Okay, almost there. How do we super charge the project? That is where an instructable by alinke, the DIY Magic Mirror and Photobooth - Arduino Powered, was leveraged to provided a digital skeleton pirate puppet Since I had already completed this project in the past, it just needed to incorporate it into the course.

So far things look great, but how to tie it together. The missing component were triggers on the course that would bring the digital pirate to life. There was not enough time to order a solution, but after a few seconds of brainstorming a solution was dreamed up. Let me show what I came up with to get the job done.

Step 1: Supplies

Most of the supplies I found lying around the house with a quick trip to a local craft store for a few missing items. Here are the items I used.

  • Duct Tape
  • Electrical Tape
  • 8" piece of 2 1/2" X 3/4" wood board (base)
  • 1" piece of 2 1/2" X 3/4" wood board
  • 1" thick part of a 6" wood shim
  • 6" wood shims (2 count: 1 for the lever, 1 for slope)
  • 3 1/2" piece of 5/16" diameter wood dowel (pivot)
  • washers (4 count) 10"
  • 10" piece of copper wire 20 AWG
  • 10" piece copper wire 26 AWG
  • 1 1/2" X 1 3/4" piece of tin foil
  • 1 1/2" X 5" piece of tin foil
  • 3 1/2 X 8 " pieces of foam core (2 count for the sides)
  • 4" X 8 1/2" piece of cardboard (lid)
  • 1/16" X 3/4" cotter pins (2 count)

Step 2: Assemble the Base

Using the duct tape, attach the 1" piece of 2 1/2" X 3/4" wood to the top end of the 8" base.

Next center and tape the 1" piece of shim to the 8" base. Make sure it is right next to the small piece of wood.

Step 3: Prepare the Lever

Balance the 6" shim on the dowel pivot like a teeter totter to try an locate the center where the shim balances. Then duct tape the dowel pivot close to that spot.

Next stack all washers in a 2 by 2 manner and duct tape to the bottom of the shim by the dowel pivot. Now rest the thick part of the lever on the 1" section of wood shim that is attached to the wood base.

Step 4: Step 4: Wiring the Lever

Strip 1" of the 26 AWG wire and tape to the side of the lever and the top of dowel pivot. Make sure the stripped section of wire is toward the front of the lever.

Wrap a piece of 1 1/2" X 1 3/4" foil around the thin part of the lever. It should wrap cover the stripped wire and the bottom of the lever. Make sure the foil is snug around the wire so a good connection can be made with the circuit. Remember to leave enough space on top of the lever for taping the foil. This is where the duct tape should be applied to secure the foil.

Step 5: Step 5: Wiring the Base

Strip 1" of the 20 AWG wire and duct tape it to the side of the base. Make sure the middle of the bare wire is to where the lever will touch the top of the base when weight is placed on it.

Next wrap tightly the 1 1/2" X 5" piece of foil around the top of the base and the bare wire. Use the electrical tape to fasten the tin foil to the base on the sides and bottom.

Step 6: Step 6: Prepare the Sides for the Base

Place the lever on the base and give it a little bit of space between the thick part of lever and the 1" piece of wood attached to the base. The thick part of the lever should be resting on the 1" piece of shim. This will allow the lever to rock freely without too much friction.

Now take the two 8" X 3 1/2" sheets of foam core and determine where the dowel will protrude through them and mark the position. Cut one hole in each foam core. Make sure is large enough to allow the lever to freely rock.

Tape the two sides to the bottom of the base and position the dowel of the lever to pass through both sides.

Next tap a small hole into each end of the dowel. Pass a cotter pin through each hole and bend the tines to keep the lever from sliding out of position.

Step 7: Step 7: Prepare the Lid

Take the 4" X 8 1/2" piece of cardboard and score all four ends for easier folding. The short sides should be scored at 1/4" while the long sides should be scored at 1/2". X-acto knife works well when coring the sides, but do not cut all the way through.

Next cut out the corners of the lid where the scores meet. Now fold 2 long sides and 1 short down and duct tape to secure the shape of a lid. The extra short side will be bent up to accommodate the mouth of the obstacle the ball will roll through.

Now tape the lid to the sides. Make sure the side that is bent up is at the back of the switch, where the 1" wood lip is located.

Step 8: Step 8: Add Some Slope to the Switch (Maybe Optional)

Place an extra shim on the bottom of the switch with the thicker part to the back. Now tape down.

Step 9: Incorporate the Switch Into the Project

At this point the switch is done. Following is a list of final steps used to complete the pirate golf hole.

  • Add the switches to the Styrofoam islands. The islands were built by my kids as a DIY summer project.
  • Acquire cheap outdoor deck carpet and paint blue to look like water.
  • Place the islands into position.
  • Connect long wires from the islands and run under the carpet to the arduino shield.
  • Plug the arduino (magic mirror) into a computer with a large screen monitor.
  • Configure the magic mirror software with the appropriate video clips that will work with each island that triggers it.

That about wraps it up. Also, the golf hole won first place at the office mini golf competition.

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Great project, thanks for sharing


    Reply 4 years ago

    You are very welcome. Thanks for the inspiration of your original project.


    4 years ago

    This is great! I love the finished look!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you so much. This was a fun project.