In this tutorial, you'll learn how to build a moving 3D designs using the Move Circuit Assembly, which combines a vibration motor, slide switch, and battery. With the provided holder and cutout shapes in Tinkercad, it's simple to make your 3D prints dance around.
You'll need 3D printing tools, a pair of wire strippers, needlenose pliers, and three electronic components:
- Small vibration motor (Sparkfun, Adafruit, or Amazon)
- Slide switch (Sparkfun or Jameco)
- Coin cell battery (Sparkfun, Adafruit, or Amazon)
Or find all electronic components in a wishlist on Sparkfun.
IMPORTANT: Coin cell batteries can cause serious injury if swallowed. Keep coin cell batteries out of reach of small children!
Step 1: 3D Print the Move Holder
Open up a new 3D design in Tinkercad, then click the Shapes Panel dropdown and select Circuit Assemblies from the list of Tinkercad Shapes.
Move a Move holder to the workplane. You'll notice that scaling is locked, so you can't resize it. This restriction is in place because specific, real life, electronic components need to fit into the holder.
Notice how for each circuit assembly, there is a corresponding Cutout. The cutout makes a space inside your design where the printed holder will reside. It provides the perfect size of hole needed achieve a good
press fit when the Move holder is placed into your printed object. For more guidance on incorporating the Move Cutout into your Tinkercad designs, check out Paige Russell's free 3D Printing with Circuits Class.
Export the holder as a .STL file to prepare for printing, or download the file attached to this step. When you import the Move holder onto the Tinkercad workplane, illustrations of the electrical components are shown, but will not export/print along with the holder. They are there only so you can see where the components sit in the holder.
Now it's time to 3D print your parts! Our recommended settings are 20% fill with raft enabled. Supports are optional, but if you use them, remember to remove them after printing with a pair of needlenose pliers.
Step 2: Add the Vibration Motor
If your motor's exposed wire leads are super tiny, use wire strippers to remove some of the insulation. Peel the adhesive backing from the vibration motor and stick the motor to the 3D printed holder inside the round indentation.
Guide the blue wire into the channel on the left side of the holder and direct the end of the wire into the center of the module.
As a finishing touch, bend the stripped wire end upwards. It's this wire end that will make the connection with the NEGATIVE (-) side of the coin battery and this upwards bend ensures good contact.
Step 3: Place Your Coin Cell Battery Into the Holder
Add your coin cell battery into the holder with the positive side (+) of the battery facing up. The negative side of the battery should be touching the blue wire's exposed end. Make sure that the red wire from the vibration motor is not underneath the battery.
Step 4: Troubleshooting a Loose Battery
Due to differences in printer resolution, there's a chance you may end up with a slightly 'loose' battery – meaning it moves around within the holder when you shake the module side-to-side. If this is the case for you, the looseness could compromise the contact between the battery and the stripped blue wire end.
There is a super easy fix for this! Use a small square of scotch tape to tape the stripped blue wire end to the center of the bottom negative (-) side of the battery. Then slide it back into place in the holder, positive (+) side up. This should fix any possible contact issues.
Step 5: Add Your Slideswitch
Press the switch into place from the opposite side of the module, so the pins face in towards the wires and battery.
Press down on the battery when inserting the switch to ensure the battery is underneath the bottom switch pin.
If it's not touching, use your finger to press and bend the pin down until it is. If using your fingers didn't create enough of a bend to make contact, gently pull the switch back out and use the needlenose pliers to bend it down even further. Repeat until you have a solid connection between the bottom pin and the battery.
Before wiring the motor up to the switch, you can test your blue wire connection to the battery by touching the red wire to the positive (+), or top, side of the battery. The vibration motor should turn on! If it doesn't, remove the switch and tape the motor's blue wire end to the negative (-) underside of the battery like suggested in the previous step. Replace the switch and continue creating your circuit.
Step 6: Connect the Vibration Motor and Slideswitch
The last step is to connect the vibration motor to the switch so it's easy to turn on and off.
You may want to slide the switch to the top position to prevent your motor from turning on when you are wiring the switch.
Thread the positive (red) wire from the vibration motor into the hole of the middle pin of the slide switch, ensuring that the wire does not touch the bottom pin of the switch.
Use needlenose pliers to give the connection a good squeeze, which will help secure the wire to the pin and ensure that the wire does not touch any other pin of the slide switch.
Step 7: Switch and Shake!
Turn the Move Circuit Assembly on by sliding the switch to the bottom position. At this point, your assembly should be moving!
Congratulations, now you know how to build the Move Circuit Assembly! Inside Tinkercad, access the Circuit Assemblies in their own category in the Shapes Panel. If you'd like a guided tour inside the editor, try out the Tinkercad Move lesson.
What would you make move with this design? Let us know in the comments, and also try out other circuit assemblies like Glow. Here are some ideas to get your imagination going:
- Buzzy Move by Tiffany Tseng