The purpose of this project was to make a prop design for a movie of our groups' choice. We chose the movie Tangled due to our love of Disney. We needed to use our knowledge about circuits and power tools, as well as the design process, to create a prop as if the movie was going to be turned into a Broadway play.
With these steps you will be able to make Rapunzel's tower in no time. Even if you are not a Disney fanatic, it will be a nice accessory to any room in the house or even a meaningful birthday present.
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Step 1: Final Drawing
This is what we had originally planned to make our final drawing of the tower look like. Once we started to build, we realized we needed a lot of clay for the base of the tower. We had layered the bottom 3 times to make the size rational. We also wanted the LED's in the hair but it was difficult to keep the hair in place. The sizes we originally planned out were not able to come onto the actual prototype, but it was close to the way we planned.
Step 2: Creating the Circuit
In our project we have 2 circuits, one being just a motor, the other is a parallel circuit made of 8 LED's and a 200 Ω resistor in series with the LED. We created the Schematic drawing in our notebooks. Then we made the schematic drawing come to life by putting the parts on the breadboard. We originally had 10 LED's in the drawing but the battery did not have enough voltage was high enough to get to all ten LED's.
Step 3: Grab the Materials and Tools
Paper towel rolls of various shapes and sizes
Clay (color does not matter)
Round piece of wood for the base
Paint (brown, white, gray, green, red, purple)
Blond Wig (or anything suitable to portray blond hair)
1 DC motor
8 yellow 5-mm LEDs
Xacto Miter Saw and Miter box
Step 4: Make the Frame
First, we needed a frame to build on, so we cut paper towel rolls to make the insides of the tower. For the top of the tower we used a 4.5 inch in diameter cardboard roll, and we used the band saw to cut the height to six inches long. For the bottom of the tower, we used two nine inches in height, one and a half inch in diameter paper towel rolls taped together. Then, we used a coping saw to cut the long tube's height to 14 inches, instead of 18. To reinforce the tube, we cut a thin paper towel roll down the middle, so it opened up, and wrapped it around the 14 inch tube. Then, we reinforced all of it with masking tape.
Step 5: Start Modeling!
Now that you have the basic shape and size of the tower down, you can start with details. Starting with the top of the tower, we used a toilet paper roll, and cut a section out of it to create a turret. We taped the turret on using masking tapeFor the tower's base, we started making the bottom thicker by piling clay at the base. This is easier if the tube is connected to something, so we decided to tape it to a piece of cardboard.
Step 6: Make the Roof
To make the roof of the tower, we used masking tape and a paper towel roll. We cut slits in the paper towel roll so that we could shape it into a cone shape. Then, we used masking tape to keep the shape, and to reinforce the tube, so it would be sturdy, and would be able to support the weight of the roof tiles we planned to create. Then, we cut a small section out of the roof so that it fit nicely against the turret.
Step 7: Creating Roof Tiles
To create the roof tiles, we took clay and rolled it out long and thin, at about 1 cm wide. We used an Xacto knife to cut down the sides so that it was a straight line of clay. We then cut the tiles. We cut close to the end of the clay so that they were not separate pieces, but still one strand of clay with cuts that were about 1 cm apart. We start placing the clay around the tower from the rim of the tower and its bottom, securing the strip of clay to the roof with hot glue. We continued to make long strands of clay and layered them one on top of the other so that the roof tiles were slightly on top of the tiles of the previous row. After finishing the tiles, we made a ball of clay and attached it to a cylindrical piece of clay on bottom and a small point on top of the sphere. We attached this to the top of the tower.
Step 8: Making More Details Using Clay
Using clay for the designs on the tower, create a truss design that goes around the rim of the top section. Start by rolling out 2 stripes of clay. The strips should not be too thick, since they only need to cover a bit of space(only about 1 cm). Using an Xacto knife, trim the strips so they are neat and straight, and the same thickness throughout. Use hot glue to secure the two strips onto the cardboard roll. Then, roll out a flatter and thinner strip of clay. Using an Xacto knife, cut the clay strip into pieces to create the truss design. Glue to pieces in place to look like an 'X'.
Step 9: Creating a Roof for the Turret, and Continuing With Modeling
As you can see in the photo, we made a small roof for the turret of the tower, similar to the way we made the main roof. However, instead of using a large (12 inches in height) paper towel roll, we used a small toilet paper towel roll (4 inches in height). Like before, we cut slits in the top and bottom of the paper towel roll, to form it into a cone, then used masking tape to secure the shape. As you can see in the photo, we also used clay to create two of the windows found on the Tangled Tower (one with tan clay and one with light blue clay). You can use an image from the web as your sample picture. We have provided an image for you here, so you can see what the windows look like. Finally, we finished building up the base of the tower to the correct diameter using clay.
Step 10: Making Tiles for the Turret Roof
To finish up the roof for the turret, we did the same thing we did for the main roof: we added shingles. Like before, we rolled out long strips of clay, and cut it into shingles. Then, we used hot glue to secure the strips to the cone-shaped roof, and wrapped the clay strips around the roof (starting from the bottom and working our way upwards).
Step 11: Attaching the Roof to the Tower
To finish up the roof, we hot glued both the main roof and turret roof to the tower. We then patched up any holes between the roof and the tower using extra clay. Finally, we painted the roof a slightly purple color, to match the color of the tower in the movie.
Step 12: Soldering the LEDs
We decided to use yellow LEDs to create a circuit, mimicking Rapunzel's glowing hair in the movie Tangled. To do this, we created a parallel circuit, with 8 LEDs, each on a different branch, and each with its own resistor (100 ohms), so we wouldn't burn out the LEDs. We soldered the positive side of each LED to a short wire first, then the other end of the wire to the resistor. Once we had 8 of these soldered (like you cans see in the image), we started soldering them together, similar to the way our schematic drawing was draw, with the negative end of each LED and the remaining end of each resistor to two wires. Then, we soldered a 9 volt battery connector to the last LED, and a switch to the other end of the battery connector. We soldered to other end of the switch to the last resistor. Then, connect a battery to the battery connector, and watch as the LEDs light up! Finally, to make the circuit more visually appealing, we covered the circuit with masking tape, so the different colored wires were hidden.
Step 13: Adding the Motor
To attach the top of the tower to the bottom section, we attached the a piece of wood to the motor. Then, we cut out a circular piece of foam to fit inside the top section of the tower, as you can see in the image. Then, we cut out a section in the foam to insert the piece of wood into. This way, we will be able to easily remove the top of the tower, but the tower will still be secure.
Step 14: Making the Motor Spin
To make the motor spin, we soldered two long wires to the positive and negative ends of the motor. We ran the two wires through the inside of the tower, to keep it hidden. Then, we soldered the two wires to a 4 by 1.5 volt battery holder, and soldered the battery holder to a switch. We then hid the switch and batteries inside the base of the tower.
Step 15: Adding the Hair and Finishing Touches
To finish up the project, we painted the entire tower the right colors (again, we have a reference photo here, so you can see what the real tower looks like). We added details like moss and flowers, and a rock design for the base. Finally, we drilled a hole in one of the windows in the tower using a power drill and a 1/4 inch drill bit. We cut some blond hair off a blond colored wig, and taped the hair together with some masking tape. We stuck the hair through the hole in the window to look like it was coming out of the window. Finally, we glued the LED circuit to the base of the tower, and hid the battery pack and switch inside the tower. With these last finishing touches, the tower was complete!
Step 16: Reflection:
We loved the idea of making the Tangled tower because of its association with Disney and from a movie we all love, Tangled. We loved the roof of our project because it involved making intricate details, but it looks good and very similar to the actual tower from the movie. Although, we would have spent time figuring out how to making the wood that connected the motor to the top of the tower sturdy but allow it to move as efficiently as possible. For next time, we would spend more time on electronics and adding more LEDs or motors to add to the appeal of the tower. We also would change the order of the things we did because it was harder to handle the roof while adding materials and parts inside without breaking it. But overall, we loved our project and would try our best to make it even better next time!
Step 17: References
We used this source to decide which kind of motor would be best to turn different props, depending on weight, size, and speed it needs to withstand.
From this source, we learned the pros and cons of parallel and series circuits. It helped us decide which would be best to have many LEDs on one circuit. We chose to do parallel because although it is slightly harder to solder, it is easy to make the prototype and check for mistakes since it is organized.
*We had multiple resources showing how to use arduino and how to use it for our purpose or for creating a waterfall in the background. We decided not to, but here is one source to get you started if you do want to use arduino!
Beginning Arduino: Michael McRoberts: Chapters 7: project 19 & 20: pages 127-138
We were going to use this source to figure out how to use arduino and to program LEDs to blink.