If you need to open a lock, or simply put up a lot of cabinets, the sonic screwdriver is the tool for you. If you don't know about Doctor Who, the most amazing sci-fi/everything series ever, go see it right now. This was my first attempt at making a sonic for myself, modeled after the 9th/10th Doctor design. I'm quite pleased with the results; it lights up, and beeps a solid tone. Producing that famous sound would require a microcontroller or the like, which just won't fit inside the body. So, here goes...
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Step 1: The Stuff
Time to gather the stuff. You'll need:
A magic marker, probably crayola, since the body is wider than others.
A cheap pen. try and get one that narrows towards the end, but it's okay.
1 push button switch. Maybe a slide switch if you want.
1 small buzzer. the round case type is important; make sure it will fit inside.
1 audio jack, female. this will be used to recharge whatever small battery you can cram inside.
1 power source. get a small rechargeable battery, or a supercapacitor. It took me some time to find one.
And, most importantly, a Tirefly. It's a little bike light that clips to the wheels somehow; it has the perfect shape for the screwdriver head. Substitute something else if you have to. You can buy a set here.
Get some scissors, a craft knife, and some pliers. Also superglue. And a drill. Plus the regular soldering stuff.
Step 2: Prepare the Body
Turn your attention to the marker. Grab the back end with pliers, then rip out all the ink-y stuff inside. You can pull the tip out from the front. Then wash it out so it's clean. Take the pen, and pull out its insides as well. Leave the plastic tip, though. The idea is to have the pen fit inside the marker so the screwdriver extends. Unfortunately, you can see some stuff is in the way. Take your drill and, with a drill bit matching the inner diameter, get rid of the stuff in the way. While you're at it, drill a hole in the end cap. It helps the buzzer sound louder.
Step 3: Making the Head
Unscrew it. Save the batteries if you want. Take out the stuff. Save the nice blue LED, and put the shiny foil back in since it makes it brighter. Pull the spring out of the bottom, and drill a hole in the proper spot so you can run some wires through.
Step 4: Finish the Body
Cut the pen to about 6cm. Then use the knife to cut a 2cm gap in that. Next, cut some holes in the marker the size of your jack and push switch. Now, you should be able to push the pen inside the body, and stick the head on top of that to check the fit. The marker cap can go on the back of everything to get the proper length.
Step 5: The Insides
Get out the soldering iron! Connect up the bits like in the diagram. Make sure that the positive end of the buzzer and the LED are together, and same for the negative. Don't be tempted to solder the buzzer and LED to their respective close sides; that means the circuit will complete when you connect them to the switch, since the positive of one will connect to the negative of the other. In related news, don't connect the switch or the audio jack yet. Leave those wires long.
Step 6: Put It Together
Sitck the LED, power source, and buzzer inside. Use some pliers to grab those long wires from before and pull them out of the holes, then solder on the parts left out in the last step (2nd picture). Take your superglue and secure all the bits that need it.
Step 7: Almost Done
Get some shiny, shiny metallic paint and paint it up. Spray paint works well, but you might need more layers. I found some acrylic stuff lying around and used that instead.
Notes about charging: just grab a cable and plug it in. You can strip the other end to expose the wires, or, like mine, if it's a double male you can plug in another jack and use alligator clips. Remember to use some common sense and don't blow up anything; both batteries and supercaps should not be overcharged.
Add your own modifications, too. One idea is an IR LED paired with an IR phototransistor and some other device so you can actually "sonic" it. Another idea is to add a red setting. Have fun with it!
So, grab your trusty sonic, and go open some doors!
Step 8: Going Further...
So, after breaking my original screwdriver, I'm looking to make a new one with improvements. I took some suggestions from the comment field, and I now have plans to use a 556 IC in Atari punk console circuit (Thanks to Winter Man, I wasted a whole afternoon playing with that thing), a few of these things in series to make 5v, and a mini-USB port for charging (kudos to Drabinowitz).
I drew up a little schematic below, and with some jiggery-pokery and a thin speaker in place of a buzzer it just might fit inside.
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