About: I love science, lights and robotics! My dad is a builder so i've always grown up building things, pulling stuff apart and experimenting!

This instructable will give you a medium understanding on how to make a motorised crystal light show. It is quite a beautiful machine and please vote for it in the GET THE LED OUT COMP. I am also not good at drawing schematics :). Also sorry for not going into too much detail and the C+ photos. Anyway here it is:



>>>1 reduction gearbox-
(make sure to put all gears in when building it to get slowest speed possible)
>>>meter long piece of wooden dowel that it about half an inch thick
>>>3 40mm crystal (glass) sun catchers
>>>black paint
>>>LEDS, i got very bright blue, red, green, ultra violet, yellow, white from and eBay
>>>hobby box from jaycar (big enough to fit gearbox)
>>>screws & nails
>>>strong string
>>>1cm black PVC piping or 1cm thick wooden dowel (1 and half to 2 meters be sufficent)
>>>sheet of 1cm thick wood
>>>thing from computer (in 2nd picture)
>>>metal can


>>>drill heads
>>>Drill attachment that makes holes (3 inches wide at least)

OPTIONAL (i won't be explaining how to use these sorry)

>>>heat shrink tubing
>>>switches (one for motor, one for lights)
>>>revolving led star
>>>different coloured leds
>>>power jack (to plug it in to from above the machine)


Make the gearbox up with the full 6 gears. This makes it the slowest it can possibly go while giving it high torque. Position the gearbox's shaft where you want to make the hole. In center of the end of the hobby box. Make it bigger that the shaft to compensate for the heavy weight that will be added later. Finally make two holes in the back and screw the gearbox in place. The gearbox is loud so you might want to put grease/oil on it to quieten it down a bit.


Take your metal can and take the lid off. Discard the main tin. Drill a small hole through the center and 2 hole going outward every 120 degrees as shown in the photograph. Now cut out three 30cm pieces of the dowel and screw them to the can lids with the holes you just made. Now 1cm from the end put another hole on each arm to thread the string through. Now attach the string to the crystals and attach them to the hole you just made hanging loosely to the arm above it at least 10cm long.


The best and most important part!!! Take your drill and put in the 3 inch hole cutter. Drill out a hole. Once you have created your circle take it and mark every 60 degrees. Drill a small hole half a centimeter to the right of the mark and put the positive (red, orange or White leads) down that hole make a larger hole in the center and run the negative leads down that. Twist all of the negative wires together and join all of the negative ones together with bare wire as shown. Finally hammer these down with some nails.


As in the photos you can see how i place my leds so that they fit well together. Now it's your turn! Get a 3V battery pack and go through all the leds you have of one colour to determine the three brightest one. Do this for all other 5 colours. (this is optional so don't panic!) Get your three brightest colours and slot them into those little things you nailed in before. Just remember the long end of the led goes to the red or white leads! ( If you want to make sure the leds don't short out power supply, DOESN'T AFFECT THE LEDS!!! just put a bit of paper between them) A useful tip to line up led and have maximum brightness is to lightly pinch the 3 leds as a group towards the center.


Now its time to support and power the LED star. Begin by taking your PVC pipe or dowel and cut two pieces out that are 60 cm approximately. Then create two other pieces that are about 38cm long. Next is to create the final piece that will come almost level with the hanging crystals. Next you must attach these pieces together as shown in the 2nd picture. Now attach the led star to the smallest piece of pipe or wood that you made last and either nail, screw or glue it down using the middle of the hole (negative leads) and shift the bundled mess of wires to one side. Now if you used PVC pipe you can attach two wires to the terminals and run them through the pipe. If you used dowel then run the wires along it and if you want, they can be held down with thick, black heat shrink tubing that covers the entire wood and wires. Now to hold that in place follow this: get a drill bit the size of the wood or PVC pipe and drill a hole straight down on the hobby box as in the picture. drill small holes for the wires or run them through. Secure the pipe or down in place and finally drill a hole the same size as a small power jack. This is important: figure out what part of the power jacks points are positive and negative. Put a positive wire for the motor and leds into the (2 separate wires and the same for the the negative terminal.)


Now it's time to power the unit in 2 different ways. They are:

1: Use a 3V battery pack and connect it to the motor. Add a switch if necessary for this application. Next get a 6 volt battery pack and run the power to the leds and add a switch if necessary. Double sided sticky tape will hold the batteries in place. This is not the best option until...

2. Drill a hole in the top middle of the hobby box big enough for a power jack. Connect the positive and negative for the motor and positive and negative for the leds (add switches if necessary). Check that no wiring will come undone and seal the box up. Attach a 3V 1Amp transformer and turn it on. Close all blinds, curtains and turn of all lights. Enjoy the magical light show of the device you have just made.

Sorry that I'm not going into any detail about switch wiring because it is too complex.


Now its time to paint the whole thing in black (OPTIONAL) or in any other colour you wish. This includes anywhere that wasn't black in the first place and DOES NOT Include the crystals or string or gearbox or leds. This gives the piece a very professional, slick effect if using black paint.

I had fun making the machine and just as much fun making this instructable. I hope you like this instructable and vote for it in this competition. I thank you greatly for watching and if you vote!

FUTURE MODELS could contain remote control, arduino / micro controller, more leds, etc. I won't be adding any of these though because i don't know how to fit them.


1. Leds don't light- check the wire connection and that nothing is shorting.

2. Motor doesn't work- Check the wiring to the motor and that nothing is shorting.

3. Crystals are hanging at different heights- ad a counter weight to the opposite end that is drooping. I had to use lead weights in my machine.

4. Motor gears fall out- use the rubber stoppers supplied and attach using a vice or clamp.

5. Crystal light fragments are blurry- either clean the crystals or adjust how far the crystals are away from the leds to get a sharper image.


The first video is a test of the motor to show how it must turn within the frame. It is loud i know but i will be adding oil to it soon. The second video is of the device in action. (coming in about 1-2 hours)



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    12 Discussions

    Next step: have the LEDs spin in the opposite direction and see how that looks XD. Nice instructable though!

    put some fome inside the plastic case to reduce the nois (btw isent the cat afraid of it ? thac loud)

    ditto: kitties have the most refined sensibilities.

    Your audience is acting as a representative of an advanced aesthetic & species.

    if u really want to slow down the speed of your motor so put resistor on it buddy no eed to put all 6 gears to slow down the speed...

    Low voltages never hurt your Motor instead of High Voltages...

    Neat idea.  I wonder how it would look if you put the crystals much closer to the LEDs and had each crystal rotating on its axis rather than the LEDs moving past the crystals.  You could then point the LEDs right at the crystals and have them stay there, always pointing directly at a crystal, and have the rotating crystals move their rays all over the walls, disco-ball style...?

    where did you get the gears, ive been looking online for days and i can't find any like them.

    1 reply

    oh they came with six in the kit. i wouldnt know where to buy them online sorry

    hello its nice but i wont vote for it because i i trying to make something myself...