Laser Cut Pom Pom Pressure Sensors!




Introduction: Laser Cut Pom Pom Pressure Sensors!

About: I make things, I am curious, and love learning and sharing.

So you have loads of left over yarn from your wonderful projects, and you've just invested in some conductive yarn, and you want to make some squishy pompom pressure sensors?

Here is how...

You will need

  • Laser Cutter (I used this one)
  • Scissors (strong enough to cut through yarn)
  • 1/8" MDF (approx. 10" square, depending on size of pom pom you want)
  • Yarn (use any thickness, mix colors, use up those little bits!)
  • Conductive Yarn (from Sparkfun)

And here is a video of a pompom pressure sensor activated bongo drum in action:

Step 1: Cut Out Your Pom Pom Makers

You can modify the file to the size you want. Use the Illustrator file or PDF to cut out your pom pom maker on the laser cutter. If you do not have a laser cutter you can print out the makers, and stick them to corrugated card, which does the same job.

The file has 3 sizes -small, medium, and large.

Step 2: Start to Wrap Yarn

This can be a bit tricky and takes some patience. Tie the end of the yarn around the maker in a knot, and then start to wind around. You'll need to be able to fit the ball of yarn through the center of your maker, so if you have a massive ball of yarn, just wrap it into smaller balls first.

Step 3: Add Conductive Yarn

Before you make one rotation of the yarn, add your conductive yarn.

Step 4: Keep on Wrapping

Add colors you like -when adding a new yarn, just tie it loosely in a knot and then keep wrapping. The conductive yarn must be continuous from the center, so don't cover it up with the non-conductive.

Step 5: Spread the Conductive Yarn Around the Maker

To spread out your conductive traces, on your last circuit wrap the conductive yarn around the whole thing.

Step 6: Find the Center and Cut

This part requires some patience. Find the center of the pom pom maker and start to cut the yarn you have just wrapped, using the maker as a guide. Cut all around following the path of the maker.

Step 7: Pull the Makers Apart

Pull the 2 maker parts away from each other, leaving a gap in the middle. Don't pull too far apart or they whole thing will fall to bits!

Step 8: Secure With Conductive Yarn

Tie some conductive yarn in the center of the 2 maker parts. Wrap around several times, pull tight as you can, and secure. The conductive yarn you are adding in the center will be your "wire" so be sure that it has contact with the conductive yarn you wrapped earlier.

Step 9: Pompomology

When you have secured puff the pom pom out and trim off any stray long bits of yarn.

Connect your to a Makey Makey (as in the video) to use as a sensor. Or you can use an Arduino for capacitive touch or use a specific sensor! Let me now how it goes!

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    2 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Those Pom Pom's turned out looking great! I would have never thought to use laser cut patterns to make these.

    Becca Rose
    Becca Rose

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I hope to make some more and make some pompom music soon!