The Stressed Art Student

Introduction: The Stressed Art Student


I myself am a student at art school, and for my ‘If This Then That’ project I let myself get inspired by the people around me. You can use this project if you are a stressed out student like me or if you know someone who should relief some of their stress.

When I heard we had to build something with Arduino I had no single idea what to do. So what does one do when they could use a little bit more inspiration? Yes, exactly! Go to the internet for help! I knew I needed something with clear instructions which didn’t require me to have too much experience with coding. So after looking around on instructables and saving some projects that stood out to me, I chose this one ( because it seemed like a lot of fun and I thought I could really personalize it. A lot of credit goes to the writer of the linked instructable Donald Bell, I just added my own personal touch to his project.

The materials you will need for this Instructable are:

· A big mouth Billy Bass singing Fish

· An Arduino Uno

· An Adafruit Motor Shield v2

· A Panel-Mount mini jack

· A mini jack audio cable

· A mini jack splitter cable

· Hookup wire (preferably in multiple colours, I used black, white, yellow and red)

· A small rechargeable speaker

· An audiosource (you can use your mobile phone for this)

· Stress that needs to be relieved

The tools you need:

· A small screwdriver

· A soldering iron and solder

· Wire strippers

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Step 1: Step 1: Open Up Your Fish

Luckily for all of you animal lovers out there, you don’t need a knife to cut this fish up, but rather a small screwdriver to undo the screws on the back panel. I would also recommend removing the batteries in case you accidently press the red button on the front and don’t want to listen to this fish’s awful singing. After you have opened it up you can unplug the cable harnesses so that you can remove the back completely and have some more space to work. Then you should unscrew and set aside the fish’s circuit board and the little piezo buzzer for some more space to put the electronics we will be adding.

What you will be left with is the front of the fish with one 4-wire harness. Two of these wires lead to the mouth, and the other to lead to the little motor in the middle that moves the head or the tail. Now cut 4 pieces of wire in equal lengths (my wires were about 15 cm but you should do what works best for you). You can use any colours you want, but using colours of wire that are comparable to the ones in the cable harness seems less confusing. Now with the wire stripper expose the ends of the wire, you can either solder the tips or just fold them into a little loop to make them fit properly into the wire harness.

Step 2: Step 2: Adding Some Fruit to Your Fish

We begin this step by connecting the wires to the Adafruit Motor Shield. At the sides of the Adafruit you will see the blue connectors with the screws in them. We will be using the connections to motors 1 and 2, marked conveniently by M1 and M2. Run the black and yellow wires to M1 and the white and red wires to M2 in that order, and screw them down. The middle connection goes to the Ground, but we will not be using this one.

Now next, to add an audio input, cut two equal length wires and strip the ends. Solder one wire to the side of the jack that makes connection to the base of the connector, and solder the other one to the lead that makes connection to the tip of the audio connector. Then, solder the wire that goes from the base to the Ground on the Adafruit, and solder the other one to Analog 0.

Now that you’ve done all that you will be able to make a nice Arduino and Adafruit sandwich by fitting them on top of eachother. Power up the Arduino and if you see a light on both the Arduino and the Adafruit then everything should work properly!

Step 3: Step 3: Giving Your Fish Some Code to Stress About

Okay now you already know that I got most of my info for this project from another instructable, but I am an artist and let’s say… not very good at coding. So this code is literally from his instructable found here: I also wanted to animate the fish’s head but just like Donald Bell I sadly couldn’t figure out how to get that to work.

And just like he will tell you there I will also tell you that you will need to download the Adafruit Motorshield v2 Library from here: Now in your Arduino coding program, go to Sketch> Use Library and select the Adafruit Motorshield v2 Library.

Step 4: Step 4: Assembling It All

Now first you can check to see if everything works by plugging in the audio cable into the minijack and plugging the splitter cable into the other end. One part of the splitter you can connect to the small speaker, and the other end to an audio source (for example your phone). Play something of someone talking and watch the magic happen! The fish doesn’t work that well on music though because it’s programmed to open its mouth whenever there’s a peak in the audio, so unless you want the fish to sing a drum beat I would stick to some dialogue.

If everything is working properly, you can start by drilling a hole somewhere into the base that the fish rests on where you want your audio jack to be. Put the jack in place and you’re ready for one of the hardest parts of this instructable, trying to pit everything back into the fish. What I did was remove some of the useless extra plastic and then try to jam everything in as well as I could. My fish isn’t closed off completely, but it’s secure enough and holds everything in place. Now that all that’s done, let’s continue to the next step to make our normal little bass into a screaming angsty art student.

Step 5: Step 5: Stressing It Out

Well now if you want to make your fish into an anxious art student you will first need to dress it up. You can dress it up like what you think would be a typical art student. Maybe slap some paint splatter on it, or give it some projects that it can panic about. Maybe if you know someone in art school you can make it in their image, and give it to them as a weird birthday gift.

Next you will need your audio. Just like the way you dress it up, you can do whatever you want to in this step. You can record some dialogue about how it isn’t going to survive all of its deadlines or how they don’t know how to interpret the deeper meaning of abstract art. If you want to do it just the way I did though, find yourself a student or anyone else who needs to relief some stress and record them screaming really loud.

Something I also did was add a little accessory to my fish/ student. I made a little zoo-like description about it that said this:

Stressed art student

Discipulus es illustraverat

Habitat: Painted plains, areas near a power outlet

Diet: Coffee, grilled cheese sandwiches, noodles

Threats: Deadlines, serverproblems

But of course you can add whatever you want, get creative!

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    3 Discussions

    Donald Bell
    Donald Bell

    3 years ago

    Nicely done! Great to see another Billy Bass benefit from my Instructable. I appreciate the credit. If anyone's curious to see what the animated mouth movement looks like, here's a video:

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    This is probably the best use of a Billy Bass than I have ever seen.