For the Maker Faire in Groningen (the Netherlands), I was so lucky to host a workshop, making stuff with visitors.
So the question popped up: what would visitors like to make during a Maker Faire? Well, creatures of course!
So I wanted to make a no-soldering, low cost, one-hour version of Blinky the Led Pet. Of course, it turned out totally different. It became a Blinky Dragonfly... The dragonfly's electronic brain is the same as Blinky's, but it's structure and looks are really different. This Instructable is for everyone who didn't have a chance at the Maker Faire Groningen to make a Blinky Dragonfly.
The Blinky Dragonfly was a huge success at the Maker Faire! In five hours, the stack of parts (generously sponsored by electronics shop Okaphone) was completely drained and 30 creatures were made by visitors. Have a look at the pictures for an impression of what was made.
This Instructable is an entry in Kiteman's International Go Pro Contest, a solace for the thousands of Makers who can't enter their work in contests anymore, since Instructables (read: Autodesk) is not willing and able to accept international entries.
If you like this Instructable, please try to bribe Kiteman into letting me win a prize :-)
In the upcoming steps are a how-to make your own Blinky Dragonfly. Total costs are around €3,- (US$ 4) and it will take one to two hours to make, depending on your makers experience. 8 to 14 year olds might need some assistance of a grown-up. Have fun, and please post a picture in the comments if you made one.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
Euros, for a one-stop shop visit Okaphone (NL, B, D, GB), Conrad or Farnell. The rest of the world, try Radio Shack or Farnell
- Electric wire Connectors! At least 24 stubs (two rows of 12), but more is better...
- Solid kern electrical wire, 1,5 mm2 or 2,5 mm2 (the wires that are used connecting the wall-plugs in your house)
- 2 10mm LEDs, any color you like
- 2 transistors BC547(B)
- 1 Resistor 100kOhm
- 1 9 Volt battery (Carbon-zinc batteries are fine for this project, and very cheap!)
- A battery-clip
- Tie raps, any color you like
- Jumper wire / thin, solid kern wire
- Pliers to cut and bend the electric wire
- Small screwdriver for the connectors
- Sharp knife, to cut loose connectors
- If you like, pliers to remove the insulation from the wires
Step 2: Body and Wings
- The body is a strip of 12 connectors, straight out of the packaging. You're done with this sub-step.
- Cut loose 6 connector-stubs with a sharp knife. Be very careful, sharp knifes are, well... sharp.
- Cut six pieces of electric wire (1,5 mm2 or 2,5 mm2), three strips for every wing. Make sure the sets of 3 strips have the same length.
- Cut away the insulation from the strips' tips.
With picture 2
Dragonfly's right wing
- Fix pieces of wire in stubs 4, 6 and 7. Start counting from where the eyes will be mounted.
Dragonfly's left wing
- Fix pieces of wire in stubs 4, 5 and 6.
With picture 3
- Fix the single connector stubs on the tips of the wires
- Bind the loose connectors together with a tie rap.
- Firmly hold the loose stubs together and wrap a tie rap around them. Pull the tie rap as tightly as possible.
Step 3: Eyes
Blinky Dragonfly's eyes are two 10mm led's, connected in series. So, the plus-lead of the left eye's plus-lead is connected to the right eye's minus-lead.
Please note: Led's conduct current in only one direction, from the battery's "plus-side" (anode) to the battery's "minus-side" (cathode). The "plus-side" of a 10 mm led is marked by the slightly longer lead. When you're in doubt, just try the led on a 3V coin battery.
With picture 1
The left eye
Fix the led's minus lead into the left side of connector number two.
Let the plus-lead run along the front side of the connectors.
With picture 2
The right eye
Fix the other led's plus-lead into the right side of the first connector
Let the minus lead run along the front side of the connectors
With picture 3
Connect both eyes (leds, that is)
Across the front side of Blinky Dragonfly's body run two led leads. Twist them together carefully with small pliers.
Step 4: Battery and Wires
- Mount a battery to the lower part of the dragonfly's back end. Use two tie raps to fix the battery.
- To get the current from the battery to the dragonfly, you need a battery clip.
- Fix the battery clips red lead into the eighth connector stub, on the right side of the body.
- Fix the black lead in the seventh connector stub, on the left side of the body.
With picture 3
- Connect stubs 2 and 4 on the right side with a piece of jumper wire (you can use 1.5 mm2 electric wire for this, but I don't recommend it. It's very hard to squeeze two of these wires into one connector-opening)
- Twist together one lead of a 100 kOhm resistor with a longish piece of jumper wire.
With picture 5
- Fix the wire with the resistor into the first connector-stub, on the left side.
- Fix the jumper wires' free end into stub number 8, also on the left side.
With picture 6
- From a 7 cm long jumper wire, strip one ending about 3 cm.
- Fix the other ending into connector stub numer 5, on the right side of the body.
Step 5: Transistors
With picture 1
Left wing Transistor
- Have a transistor's curved side facing up, next to the left wing.
- Connect the three leads into the three connector stubs.
With picture 2 and 3
Right wing Transistor
Put a transistor with the curved side facing down next to the right wing.
Connect the three leads into the corresponding connectors, and...
Step 6: Test It, Finish It!
If not, don't panic!
- First, check the transistors! Left side: curved side facing up, right side: curved side facing down.
- Check the leds! Did you connect them in the right way to each other and into the connectors?
- Check all the wires. Are they fixed into the right connectors?
- Check the connections, esp. with the transistors. Sometimes the small leads escape from the screw's pressure.
If all works well, all you need now is legs! I made them from electric wire and the feet with connectors. Just find a free connector stub to fix the legs.
Have fun! If you got all the way to here, please post a pic of your Blinky Dragonfly with the comments.